Technology is great, but the cost of all those accessories, cables and gadgets can really add up. That's why it's always nice when you can save some money here and there.
These five hacks make tech even better because they offer simple fixes to common nuisances and problems. From speakers you can make yourself, to surprising uses for your old devices, this list is guaranteed to simplify, organize and amp up your life.
1. Amplify your phone's speakers
Whenever you need the sound from your phone to be a bit louder, try this nifty trick. Placing your phone in a dry bowl or cup will amplify the sound throughout the room. It's a great way to boost the sound if you're ever in a pinch, or don't have time to grab your Bluetooth speaker.
2. Use Alexa to find your lost phone
You simply can't find your phone no matter how many cushions you rip out of your sofa. How will you ever tell your spouse to pick up milk on the way home? Then you remember: "Alexa, trigger find my phone." Echo will then call your phone, and you can follow the ring tone or vibration to its location. This trick is especially handy when you're alone.
That's not all Amazon Alexa can do. Click here for six more unique abilities of this virtual assistant.
3. Turn your old tablet into a digital picture frame
Do you have an old tablet sitting around? Turn it into a digital picture frame to show off your vacations, kids, grandkids or anything else. You can also use an all-in-one computer, or even a regular computer if you don't mind it taking up space.
For a tablet or computer, just load up a site like Photosnack. It pulls photos from your online accounts like Facebook and Flickr to give you a great slideshow.
If you want to use local pictures, just load them on your tablet, fire up the photo area and start a slideshow. There are also dedicated slideshow apps.
On a computer, load up the images and then create a new screensaver. In Windows, this is under Control Panel >> Personalize. For Mac, it's Settings and Preferences >> Screensaver.
Choose your folder of images you want to display and then let the computer do the rest.
Want even more uses for an old tablet? Click here for nine additional hacks for you to try.
4. Create DIY speakers from everyday home items
Want a bit more sound from your phone speakers? We shared the trick of placing it inside a bowl, but there are other DIY speakers you can make at home. Watch this video for five options, including one that uses a two-liter soda bottle!
5. Boost your Wi-Fi signal
Have an old wire clothes hanger, CD and CD case? Turn them into a handy antenna to boost the Wi-Fi signal in your home. It's not as complicated as it sounds. Watch this video for step-by-step instructions.
Bonus: Test your remote control's batteries
Have you ever wondered if the batteries in your remote control still had juice? Rather than take them out, just use this little trick with your smartphone's camera to see how bright the light is.