Looking for something novel or innovative to give to a loved one this Christmas? Here are some out-there ideas that might just save them some money too.
A notebook for life, not just for Christmas
One for the vociferous note-taker in your life, the latest gadgetry in the vein of e-readers is the ‘reusable notebook’.
These notebooks claim to end the need to use paper for note-taking and writing ever again. So not only will it save money for a budding diarist or journalist, it’s good for the environment as they won’t have to buy paper.
Reusable notebooks come with wipe-clean pages that can be used again and again.
Notebooks such as the Rocketbook Everlast Reusable Notebook come with an accompanying app, so when the 32-page book is filled you can take photos of the pages and it will upload and store them to apps such as OneNote or Google Docs for you, preserving your notes in the cloud.
The Rocketbook comes in A4 for £34.99 or A5 for £32.99. An equivalent Moleskine notebook will set you back £11.99, so once you’ve filled three of them you will have earned your money back buying a reusable one.
End the need for note paper
Virtual ski instructor
For those who want to improve their skiing technique, but don’t want to keep paying for instructors, the CARV Digital Ski Coach and Tracker is a piece of smart tech that fits into your ski boot and gives you real-time ski instructions through headphones while you’re on the slopes.
The app will also give you feedback on performance, such as balance, pressure and edging, plus technique analysis.
While ski lessons are indispensable if you have never skied before, this piece of tech might be a good option if you’re looking to improve and need a bit of extra help. You’ll still need to use your own initiative and stay alert rather than relying solely on the digital coach.
While the CARV kit is not cheap at £249, on-slope courses can cost much more.
The app is currently only available on iPhone. The makers say it will be coming to Android in “late 2019”.
Never over-buy groceries again
If your fridge is one of those with three ketchup bottles, two mustard jars and five packets of lettuce, a fridge camera might be the solution.
Fridge cameras such as the Smarter FridgeCam, £149.99, stick to the inside of your fridge door and automatically take a photo whenever you open it.
This then uploads to an app on your phone, so when you’re next in the supermarket or are shopping online and wonder whether you ran out of milk, you can just take a quick look at the last photo to find out.
With food one of the biggest wasted household expenditures, friends and family will love this gift. Or treat yourself – it should pay for itself over time.
Hack a laptop tablet
With high-performance laptops typically costing in the thousands, transforming a cheaper tablet into a mini laptop is a great way to save on the overall cost.
For instance, an Apple MacBook will set you back by at least £1,249. But if you buy an iPad, it will cost just £319 for the basic model.
The trick is to then buy a keyboard case to go with your tablet, turning it into a fully-fledged laptop. On sites such as Amazon there is a panoply of third-party choices for keyboards, ranging from £19.99 to over £100.
These days, the operating systems for tablets and laptops (especially with Apple) are increasingly similar and the performance of tablets is greatly improved.
While the tablet screen is smaller than a typical laptop, you can upgrade to a bigger tablet, such as an iPad Pro, and still come out cheaper than buying a full-size laptop.
DIY parking sensor
Have you got a nervous teenager driving for the first time? Installing a parking sensor can be a great little upgrade to prevent knocks while they get a hang of parking the family car.
The FenSens European Smart Wireless Parking Sensor can be mounted behind the number plate on your car and start working as a parking sensor through your phone.
The sensors work with an app to help you park in tight spots and cost £129.99 for one or £209.98 for two.
You won’t have to upgrade to a newer car with in-built gizmos, and it might avoid a minor collision that could bump up your insurance costs.
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For the forgetful person in your life, the Tile Mate is a small square tile that can be attached to keys, a phone, placed inside a wallet or attached to a bag to ensure they never lose something again.
The tile works via Bluetooth, and will show you via app where it was last located. If you are within reaching distance you can also use the app to set off an alarm to help you find where it is.
A single tile costs £16.99 and needs replacing once a year when the battery dies.
If you know someone who often finds themselves spending money on replacing things they have lost, this could be the gadget for them.
Save cash on shop-bought coffee
Coffee lovers rejoice, the gadgets to make top-notch java are getting smaller and more affordable.
One of the best coffee makers that you can take anywhere is the Aerobie AeroPress. Costing just £24.50 this plunger-style coffee maker will save on trips to the café and, unlike a French Press, is made from tough plastic.
Buy a metal filter too and it won’t require any ongoing purchases to keep you caffeinated.
Instead of using an electric blanket at night, when your heating is likely to be low, buy an electric throw, designed to be used while lounging on the sofa in the evening.
This is the time of day you’re most likely to dial up the thermostat as you’re sitting still vegging in front of the TV or reading a book.
An electric throw is much more economical on energy costs than turning up the heat in your entire house. Throws vary in price but can be bought for around £50 on Amazon. They cost pennies to run and friends will love them too.
Friends will love a cosy throw