smartphoneA while back, my mother-in-law, Alice, had us over for dinner and served a yummy quinoa salad. When my husband and I raved about it, she pulled out the large box she had purchased at one of the big box stores and gave us some bagged ingredients to take home with us (in true mom style!). However, when I went to make the salad months later, I didn’t have the box, and therefore, didn’t have instructions. I texted Alice and instead of typing the long list of instructions, she simply snapped a photo of the back of the box with her smartphone and texted the pic to me.

Ingenious, right?! That’s just one of the many ways this clever woman (and the tech-savvy son she raised) have taught me to use my phone camera!

Remember product names

Ever go to a dinner party and enjoy a new wine, but then by the time you’re home, you’ve forgotten the name of it? Use technology to fill in where your memory leaves off! My husband regularly snaps pictures of items on his smartphone he wants to remember and then has the name at his fingertips the next time he’s in the store.

Confirm gifts

Your friend sends you a lovely arrangement of flowers for your birthday. Weeks later, she mentions something about the Gerber daisies she ordered, when in fact, you received regular daisies. By that point, the flowers are in the trash and it’s too late for your pal to register a complaint with the florist. To avoid this unfortunate situation from happening, my mother-in-law takes a picture of gifts of flowers, fruit baskets or other items with her phone that the gift giver doesn’t get to see and sends the pic to that person as both a thank you and confirmation that her thoughtful friend got what he or she paid for.

Record medications

When a new doctor asks for the medications you are taking as well as the strength, do you write them all down or cart the bottles into the doctor’s office? Alice accepts a little help from technology. Taking a photo of all of her medicine bottles, including supplements, and grouping them together in an Album on her phone—all she has to do is hand over her phone to her doctor. The medical staff is always impressed!

Shop more efficiently

And I’ve devised a trick of my own! I love to shop in antique malls and flea markets, but I’m always forgetting where I saw that perfect table or lamp in the veritable sea of treasures. Now, I snap a pic of the item, along with the price tag identifying the vendor, so the staff can help me track it down when I’m ready to buy. The same goes for those hard-to-find (and infrequently purchased) items in large grocery stores. Take a pic of the can and the aisle number and refer back to the photo the next time you want to buy it!

How do you use technology?  Let us know in the comments below!