In keeping with’s topic this week, I’m going to talk about saving money. When it comes to computers, I figure the best way to save money is not to spend it! You don’t need to spend money to get good Anti-Virus software, AVG , Avast, or Avira have very good free offerings for personal use.

Using Picasa to find digital photos on your computerMy favorite software of all time, regardless of price, is Picasa.  Picasa is free software from Google to manage all your digital photos, and RVers take a lot of digital photos!  With Picasa, I can take those dozens of photos from my camera, put them on my computer, have them labeled, ‘prettied up,’  and on the web for all to see within minutes.  I have over 20,000 photos on my computer and I can find all my photos of my dog, Odie, in less than a second!  Yes, I did have to type ‘Odie’ sometime in relation to that picture – but Picasa makes that very easy too.

Be aware that there are many free scams on the web as well, but don’t let that scare you away from the good stuff!  I consider to be the Consumer Reports of the computer world.  Read their reviews, and download software from their  And, of course, subscribe to the Free Geeks on Tour Newsletter to keep learning!

Printer Ink CartridgesSomething I hate spending money on is printer ink.  I hate even shopping for it!  You need a college degree in ink cartridge labeling just to be sure you’re getting the right thing.  And, then, when the price totals $90, I figure I *must* have done something wrong!  It can’t possibly cost that much.  The whole printer cost about that.  I do not recommend refilling ink cartridges yourself, but my husband, Jim, has found a supplier for ‘remanufactured’ ink cartridges that we have been happily using for over a year now.  They’re great!  Just order from SuperMediaStore, and what would have been $90 is less than $30 – including free shipping!  If you’re willing to buy multiple sets, you can lower your cost even more.

For more of my free software recommendations, check out the September issue of the Family Motor Coaching Magazine, “Free Computer Tools for Travelers.”  If you’re not an FMCA member, you can read it on the Geeks on Tour Articles and Links.

Chris Guld

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  4. samg

    The canon all in one and maybe the pixma printer I have don’t allow refurbished, refilling ink cartridges to be used. Literally. Machine will not work. Which I feel is a good factor. Having used other cartridges or filling cartridges in the past, I attribute those practices to ruining 3 or 4 previous printers. Short lived. 2 lasted less than a year. Also that practice voids the manufacturer warranty. Yes manufacturer cartridges cost more but the machine lasts longer. This one has lasted probably 3 years. And online cartridge purchase costs less. And it’s true you can probably buy a new printer for the price of high end cartridges.

  5. I own an HP AIO that takes number 88XL ink cartridges. In the past I bought these at Staples for over $40!!! I now purchase “compatible” ink online through ebay for around $5.00/ea. Manufacturers dont make there money on the printers themselves. They make there money on the ink. Never buy OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Ink. Only buy compatible or remanufactured.

  6. There are lots of good software for free out there. My number one vote goes to Ubantu Linux. A little over a year ago I took an almost not working old Sony laptop and installed Ubantu on the same computer that had been running Windows XP exclusively. It was an easy install and now I have a dual boot old computer that works like a new computer and if I have to run something Windows I just restart and select the Windows option. It took me a little while to warm up to Linux as it is similar but different to Windows. Now a year later I NEVER USE Windows for my personal web surfing and email. I still can boot the old computer to Windows when I have to run legacy programs that are Windows only. I also still use Windows for work as I still have some applications that are Windows only.

    BTW I am writing this reply using Linux. The Ubantu Linux runs better than my brand new Windows Vista work computer. I decided to try Ubantu when PC World rated it superior. Is it ever. And free. So my advice is if you have an old computer and want to revive it try going to and download. You need a fast internet connection or it will take forever though. If you don’t like it you can always go back to Windows. I doubt you will. My ancient Sony boots up and is ready to use in less than two minutes. In Windows the same computer fiddles and farts around for at least 10. It looks for new virus defs (something unneeded in Linux) and spy ware (also unneeded in Linux) and gets updates and a lot of other time wasters. Try it, you will like it.

    Oh I also like Picassa. I don’t even use my Adobe Photoshop software anymore. And I make a living using the computer and internet and am a BIG photo user.

  7. Bill Baxter

    A plug for another less expensive source for ink is Printpal.
    Web address: