This is a new segment we have decided to start that we will add to every Monday. A Life Pro Tip (or LPT) is a tip that improves life for you and those around you in a specific and significant way.
01. If you live alone, put together a “Sick Kit”
It can be embarrassing asking help from your friends and family when you are sick and living alone. Of course, if the sickness is serious you should go ahead and ask for help, but for a simple sickness, you should definitely be prepared with a ‘sick kit’. If you wake up with stomach flu or mild fever, it can be difficult to muster up enough strength to make it through the day without bothering anybody. In such times, you will think it would be much more convenient if you had some sort of pre-prepared “sick kit” containing these items.
General Medicine: Tylenol, Pepto Bismol, Vicks vaporub, cough drops with Zinc, Band-Aids, ibuprofen, Benadryl/NyQuil, Immodium AD (for diarrhea).
Food Stuff: Ginger ale, Pedialyte, 3 cans of soup, saltines, 3 cans of fruits, soft drinks (I personally prefer 7up when sick), herbal tea, Gatorade, instant noodles.
Other Stuff: Box of tissue, bunch of plastic shopping bags (barf bags).
Make sure to update your “sick kit” every year or so. If you have any more suggestions, leave it in the comments and we will make sure to add it to the list.
02. If ever you need a free program…
If you use computers, you will most likely at some point in time need a piece of software, which you won’t be able to afford or may not want to purchase. If any such need arises(for example a video/photo editor), don’t search for “free”, search for “open source” to avoid limited trial versions, adverts, and malware. The reasoning being is that if you type “free”, generally you will be advertised to or get the LITE version which will only have some of the functionality and then will be up-sold to.
Open source does what it says on the tin – the code is open for anyone to examine and even adapt and is usually available in-full for free, occasionally accepting donations if you are so inclined. This has the added bonus of ensuring that there are no nasties like malware or reporting your user history back to their servers etc. because open-source equates to peer-reviewed and open to being examined by anyone.
Disclaimer: Being open source doesn’t MEAN that a program is virus-free, but it is a substantially lower risk than closed-source software. Either way, you would be better off with open-source in general.
03. When stressing over something, use the 10-10-10 rule
Will it matter in 10 days? 10 months? 10 years? After getting some perspective, you’ll notice how very few things end up worth stressing over.
04. Don’t get angry at people for telling you the truth
They will just lie next time. This applies especially to kids. When they are telling you the truth and you start getting angry at them, they will start lying all the time and won’t be bothered to tell you the truth. This is why punishment-based parenting techniques can backfire. They tend to teach kids to be more sneaky rather than to prevent future misbehavior. You want your kids to feel they can tell you they screwed up and get help working through the problem rather than fear your wrath. This also makes them less susceptible to others’ manipulation/ abuse (“don’t tell your parents I did this to you or you’ll get in trouble”).
Go one step further and thank them for telling you the truth. People usually know when they’re telling you something you don’t want to hear. Being approachable means staying calm and keeping your facial expressions in check while you’re listening.
05. If you are given a prepaid debit card as a gift…
Save it after you spend the money. You can use it to sign up for free trials online without worry of being scammed. In fact, keep a dollar or two on it. Some sites “verify” the card by taking a dollar and refunding it immediately.
Alternately, get a Bank of America or CitiBank MasterCard which lets you create custom credit card numbers for use with a single merchant, with a credit limit and expiration date set by you. Once a merchant uses the card one time, the number cannot be used by any other merchant. You can go back later to extend the credit limit and expiration date. They’re called controlled payment numbers. BoA calls it ShopSafe. Citibank calls it Virtual Numbers. Create a card with a $1 limit that expires in 2 months. You’re set for all free trials.
Unlike a regular credit card, where retailers can continue charging your account when your card expires, I’ve never had a retailer successfully charge me after having used a temporary card number.