I remember when I was using FireFox and discovered extensions, my mind was blown. Adding ‘applets’ to the browser to increase the functionality? I thought it was genius. The problem was that there were a lot of extensions and I had no idea which were the best ones. It got to the point where I had too many extensions and a lot of them weren’t useful anymore.
Now, I’m using Chrome as my daily browser. I have very few extensions, having purged all extensions from my browser after switching browsers. But the few extensions I do have, I find invaluable. Here are the ones I like the best (and it’s a bonus if you’re a Canadian). Also note that all extensions are Chrome but you can likely find similar ones in Firefox or your browser of choice.
Library Extension detects when you are on a site looking at purchasing books (say Amazon or Book Outlet). Before you buy the book, library extension pops up and tells you if the book is available at a local library. It’s super handy if you want to save yourself a few dollars from having to buy a book. The worst is when you buy the book, and then realize it’s not very good and not worth keeping. I still get a lot out of any book, but as I heard, it’s better to read a hundred of the best books ten times each than it is to read one thousand books.
I’ve grouped Honey and Rakuten, although I like both because they cover most websites. Ever do online shopping and then come to a ‘coupon’ field? You do a simple Google search to see if there are discount codes available, but instead of doing that, why not use Honey, which crowdsources discount codes, automatically enters them into your browser, and then gives you the best available discount.
Rakuten is slightly different – rakuten gives you cash back at different websites. For example, at Book Outlet, I can get 2.5% cash back. Every once in a while, the cash back changes at certain websites. It honestly can’t hurt, if you’re doing online shopping, to check out Rakuten to see what cash back you can get (and to pair that with Honey too).
I’ve tried a few clippers – Pocket, Instapaper, but I end up coming back to Evernote since that’s where I ultimately store notes, interesting articles, videos and other interesting things I find on the Internet.
Any time I see anything I want to remember later (because Evernote touts itself as a second brain), I hit the web clipper, add a few tags, add it to a Notes notebook, and then at the end of the week, look through the Notes to see what is interesting and file it away into other notebooks as appropriate.
Lastpass used to be my password manager of choice, but the free version ended up being too limited so I switched to Bitwarden. It’s available as an extension, and as an app on iOS and Android, so it helps me sync my logins, generates crazy passwords I can’t remember, and captures secure notes.
The only annoying thing is when you don’t save the username and password after signing up for a new web app and then you have to go through the process of resetting it, but that’s my fault really.
Do you shop at Amazon a lot? I do. But here’s some advice to shopping at Amazon: if you don’t need it right away and can afford to wait, wait. Use camelcamelcamel (there’s a US and Canadian version, the extension is the US version) to track what the lowest price has been, and to notify you when it reaches that price again in the future. I have camelizer tracking board games, books, clothing, and other things I’m interested in. I set it at the lowest price, provide my email, and then forget about it. The funny thing is, even when camelcamelcamel notifies me that something I wanted is the lowest price ever, I don’t feel the urge to get it anymore.