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Gadgets That Will Save You Money
Invest in these smart household gadgets to cut your monthly bills and they end up paying for themselves in no time.
Concoct your own cola
Spend a fortune on fizzy drinks? You're not alone. The average family of four consumes 2,400 sodas annually-totaling nearly $1,080. With a home fountain machine, you can save money and have fun making everything from soda water to diet root beer. After purchasing a startup kit, you buy refill canisters of CO2 and syrup. A liter of sparkling water is 21 cents, compared with $1.50 or more for the store-bought variety, and flavored soda costs roughly 25 cents per 12 ounces.
Save about $720 per year for a family of four (you'll also produce less household waste). SodaStream Fountain Jet starter kit, $100.
Get free HDTV
Since TV went digital, you no longer need cable to receive local broadcast network HDTV channels. For static-free reception, all that's required is a digital antenna (and a converter box if your TV is analog instead of digital). To find out which antenna will work for your location and which channels you'll receive, simply enter your address at antennaweb.org. Although you won't get paid cable channels anymore, you may be amazed at how many HDTV channels are free (the number varies based on your location).
Save the $700 or more a year you spend on cable.Antennaweb.org lists antennas ranging from $40 to $150. Or spend less by making your own for about $15 with the instructions at current.org.
Ditch your landline
With XLink, you can gab all you want-at home-without having to pay a monthly landline bill. Just route your cell phone calls to a regular phone through the Xlink console (via a Bluetooth signal). Your cell phone's caller ID and voice mail will transfer over, too, and you don't even need a landline for the console to work.
Save about $33 per month (depending on your phone usage). XLink, $80.
Lower grocery expenses
When ALL YOU asked readers for their favorite money-saving purchases, FoodSaver vacuums were a hit. Just put your food into one of the reusable bags, seal it with the vacuum, then store it in your pantry, refrigerator or freezer to extend freshness many times over.
Save the approximately $600 per year the average family loses each year on wasted food. FoodSaver vacuums starting at $100.
Get free home phone service
When you plug the MagicJack into a telephone and your computer's USB port, your calls (in the U.S. and Canada) are absolutely free, using your high-speed Internet connection. The service also comes with call waiting, voice mail and caller ID, at no extra charge.
Save from $30 to $100 per month, or however much you normally spend on your phone bill. MagicJack, $40.