15 Modern Life Skills Everyone Should Master

By Amanda Meadows on 21 April 2015 2 comments

It's 2015, people! That means there's no excuse not to learn these 15 basic tech skills that will save you money, time, and embarrassment when talking to more tech-savvy know-it-alls.

1. Use Uber and Lyft

Taxis are expensive, and not every city has a fast and expansive public transit system. That's why Uber and Lyft are great alternatives, especially when you plan to drink.

2. Make a Basic Website

You never know when you might need to have your own website, and if you're a freelancer, it's a must. With platforms like Squarespace and Wix, it's never been easier (or cheaper) to make your own website.

3. Set-Up Online Banking

Are you still going to the bank to check balances and move money around? That's insane. It's about time you enrolled in online banking at your institution. It's as easy as going to your bank's website, clicking on "online banking," and following the instructions.

4. Update Your Facebook Privacy Settings

Don't want just anyone to see your private posts? It's time to learn how to edit your privacy settings on social networks, especially Facebook.

5. Transfer Money Instantly

At this point, Western Union and other traditional money wire companies are useless. Every bank offers transfers within their banking app, and it's instant when transferring within the same bank. Failing that, PayPal's new app is simpler than ever.

6. Operate Bluetooth Accessories

Want to use all the cool new speakers, keyboards, mouses, headphones, and more? You will need to master the Bluetooth connection. Here's how to do it for Windows, Mac, Android, and iPhone.

7. Edit a Smartphone Photo

Are you one of those people who uploads your photos sideways or too dark? There's no excuse! Most mobile phones allow for you to crop, rotate, adjust brightness or contrast, and more, all with a couple finger taps. Want to get creative? Try some cool photo editing apps.

8. Comparison Shop With Barcodes

Out shopping and want to check prices elsewhere? A great cheat is to use the Amazon app, which uses your phone's camera to scan barcodes. It will show you the same product and its Amazon price. Google Shopping is also helpful when on a computer.

9. Crowdsource Information

Learn the art of the ask. Sometimes you don't have the time or enough prior knowledge of something to Google it, and that's when asking your friends comes in. Being able to ask your social network for their expertise is clutch in this modern age.

10. Invest Your Own Money

Why hire someone to take over your money management when you can day trade and manage your investments online? If you're putting off saving for retirement, it has never been easier to start. Learn more about how to start saving.

11. Upgrade Your Email

Email is still a very important part of work and personal communication, but issues like cluttered inboxes, unsynced calendars, non-replies, and copious newsletters make email frustrating. There are plenty of extremely useful email plug-ins to increase your productivity!

12. Google Better

Everyone knows about using quotes and the plus and minus while searching, but did you know about the tip calculator? What about reverse image search? Polish your Google prowess with these key search hacks to get the results you're looking for.

13. Use Siri

"Siri" (or "Cortana," or "Google") as a tool can seem silly and time consuming, so many people don't use her. However, there are some instances in which she's indispensable, such as sending text messages and making calls in the car. There are tons of other cool things Siri can do, too.

14. Use GPS Apps

If you're still printing out maps before you leave the house, it's time to stop. GPS has come a long way. (Remember those old Garmin GPS machines you had to buy back in the 00s that worked poorly?) Google Maps is the best, but Waze is excellent for those looking to snake their way out of traffic or avoid highways. You can save locations, pre-plan trips, and add new locations with voice-control while driving.

15. Troubleshoot Your Wi-Fi

You don't need an IT person to fix your Wi-Fi. Computers have made it extra easy to troubleshoot a connection. Check your laptop's network settings and troubleshoot your Wi-Fi on your own. When all else fails, you can always reset your router! Another hack: many smartphones can be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Simply go to your phone's general settings, to networks, then tap "use as hotspot" and follow the password directions.

What modern life skill do you think everyone should master?

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Guest's picture

I think this is a good list, even though I'm not sure on how to do number one. I can always learn.

Guest's picture
Heather

Such a good list! So much is tech related, but it's true! You need these skills to function in the world today! As far as Facebook settings, I feel like you should review them every 6 months or a year because Facebook and constantly changing them and adding new privacy features. They will silently add a new feature and their default setting may not be what you'd like it to be.