From The Tips Box: On-the-Go Budgeting, Paper-Saving Mobiles

Our readers show us how they budget on-the-go, how to save paper with a mobile phone, and how to export your Facebook friend's phone numbers into your Google Contacts.

Budgeting on the Go with Google Docs

Igor and his wife needed a way to keep real-time track of their budget while on the go. Here's what they came up with:

My wife and I set up a weekly budget, but had a hard time sticking to it because we never knew what the other one spent while on the go. Finally we figured out a solution: I set up a Google Docs spreadsheet with a debit column, credit column and a total. Google Docs have limited support for the iPhone, which we both have and it works great for us. Whenever I am buying something, I simply add a new entry (just the amount) and both of us can see the purchase right away.

Whiteboard + Mobile Phone = Saved Paper

Photo by brokentrinkets

Jon and his wife save paper by using this little tip:

To save paper, my wife writes a list of shopping items on the whiteboard on our fridge. Instead of then writing them all down on another piece of paper, I snapped an image with my phone and shopped from there. When I'm done, I simply delete the pic.

Export Facebook Phone Numbers into Google Contacts

You never know when you may need to get in touch with one of your Facebook friends (yes, actual live contact) so Michael pointed us to a Greasemonkey script that will export your Facebook phonebook into your Google contacts:

Here's a blog post describing a Greasemonkey script and a web-based tool which will automagically export your Facebook phone numbers (just phone numbers right now, apparently) to your Google Contacts, merging contacts as necessary. There's not even an interim step, you log in to Google and it goes straight through.

I just did this and it worked wonderfully. It even let me preview all the changes it was going to make before accepting the action. It properly merged all the contacts (as long as the names were the same) and created new contacts for people I didn't already have in Google. It also created a group called "Facebook" and added all new and modified contacts to it so I could easily see the newly added info and change anything that didn't go correctly (mostly just editing contacts whose Facebook names didn't match my entires for them in my Google Contacts).

It's not "synchronisation," you need to run it each time you want to synchronise the two systems, but it's better than nothing!

The one bug-ish thing I ran into is that you have to visit http://www.facebook.com/friends directly and then launch the Greasemonkey script; you can't just click "Friends" because the Greasemonkey script doesn't recognise that URL as "correct".

Box Up Cabinet Contents To Keep Dust Away

Photo by trec_lit

Arno sent in a tip to keep bathroom cabinets clear of dusty, sticky dirt (while forcing the product junkies among us to keep on top of their unused stuff):

The main problem is dust in the air mixed up with bathroom humidity and sticky chemicals, e.g. from hairspray. By the time this leaves, a tough dirt-layer is on nearly everything in the bath. If you leave your cabinet doors open wide while using the cosmetics you will soon procrastinate cleaning the insides, just as my friends and I do. But if you keep your doors closed as long as possible the dirt-accumulation will be reduced dramatically!

I tried it myself by using boxes to bundle cosmetics by their use, e.g. one for the morning routine, one to be used after sports or another one for shaving and so on. This allows me to get to my cosmetics within just a few seconds with an open cabinet door. You can easily pour out the boxes and wipe them out or even put them in the dishwasher.

A nice side effect is the reducing of "cabinet corpses" (bought, but never really used cosmetics), because you always pull out the whole box and are forced to review its content.

This could be used in the kitchen as well, where the shelves get fatty after a time!


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