Need to backup your computer? Here’s how.

We all know it.

We’ve been told many times.

Everyone should be backing up their computers.

In our house, we’ve been backing up two iMac’s automatically to an Apple external hard drive called Time Capsule. It works great, but I’ve never felt that it was much of a backup solution. Here’s why. It only takes one power surge, even with surge protectors, to fry every computer and the Time Capsule. I won’t even think about a whole house disaster like a fire!

Imagine how you would feel if something or someone caused you to lose all your digital photos and computer files.

If the thought makes you feel slightly nauseous or even suicidal, you need a better backup system.

There is nothing 100%, guaranteed secure. Major disasters can happen. But an out-of-your-house-or-office copy of your files, encrypted and in the cloud, is a simple and safe solution. And it is finally an affordable solution!

Let me quickly explain the difference between Cloud Backup and Cloud Storage. Read more

How to Save Money when You Shop Online

Someone once asked me my favorite places to shop and I answered “anyplace that begins with www!” When I can, I support local, independent stores, but I don’t spend time “going shopping” anymore and prefer ordering online when it’s from chain stores.

One of the problems I had with ordering online was the flood of email notifications I was obligated to receive from my favorite stores if I wanted to know about specials, bargains and sales. Well, not anymore. Thanks to two websites I recently found, I am saving money on the items I want and I have opted out of all those pesky sale emails. Read more

Who else needs a new printer and wants to save money?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it with my inkjet printer. It worked fine, except for the occasional paper jam. What drove me crazy was how often I seemed to run out of ink!

I did everything I could to extend the life of my inkjet cartridges. I switched my printer settings to print in draft mode, which supposedly used less ink. I rarely printed in color, choosing the “ink-saving” black and white draft option. No matter, I still got the “low printer ink” message within a few short weeks of new cartridges. Errrgh!

One day, while reading articles on one of my favorite sites called Lifehacker, I came across an article with the title “Do you prefer laser or inkjet printers?” As I read, I learned that some laser printers were now as inexpensive as inkjet printers. I was amazed. We once owned a laser printer. We paid something like $1500 for a state-of-the-art Apple desktop laser printer in the early 1990’s! It was a great printer. It printed beautifully and we only had to replace the ink drum every few years.

But then color printers became affordable, and of course we all wanted to be able to print in color. We envisioned printing our own photographs now that we owned digital cameras. However, I never could quite get my home printed pictures to look as good as the ones from the professional photo print shop. And the special photo paper and color ink were not inexpensive!

The Lifehacker article made me reconsider whether I needed to print in color anymore. I no longer printed photos and if I wanted a paper copy of a picture, it was much cheaper and easier to either email it or take it into a local store for state-of-the-art photo printing. Or, if I was totally lazy, I could have my photos mailed back to me from a number of sites.

There are color laser printers, but they are much more expensive. If I absolutely had to have color for a document, I could email my document to a local office print shop or drop by with my thumb drive. I actually cannot remember the last time I really needed to print something in color, so I decided to research the options for replacing my inkjet printer with a laser printer.

In doing a rough cost comparison, I realized that the black ink cost of printing a page on my inkjet was three cents compared to just under a penny for a laser printer! I was sold. Now I just had to pick from the numerous models available.

I first looked for laser printers under $100. I could buy a highly-rated Brother printer for around $75! But, it wasn’t wireless, and I really wanted to go wireless this time. As luck would have it, the wireless version was $99!

Then I looked at the other options available on slightly more expensive models. For $166, I could have a Brother wireless laser printer that would also let me print from my iPhone/iPad and even from a remote location using Google Cloud Print. That is state-of-the-art printing for home use!

I admit it. I am a pushover for state-of-the-art gadgets, but did it still make sense cost-wise?

We print about 100 pages/month or 1200/year. If I kept my inkjet printer, in the next five years I would spend at least $180 on black ink alone. If I bought the $75 or $99 Brother laser printer which comes with a 3000 page laser ink drum, then I would definitely come out ahead.

If I bought the $166 version with the extra capabilities, my actual cost over five years and 6000 pages would be $196. That’s $16 more than the cost of keeping my inkjet printer, assuming it would last five more years.

What did I choose? I purchased the Brother HL-5470DW (pictured above) for $166 because I wanted the option of printing from an iPhone/iPad or even from a remote location for our family. It was worth $16 to me! (If you are not interested in the iPhone/iPad or remote printing, the Brother HL-2240D or HL-2270DW are great values.)

We’ve had the printer for about a five days, and we love it! It’s fast, quiet and so far, no paper jams!