I’ve gotta say, Alexa is one of my favorite smart home devices ever. Not only is the compatibility with tech around my house on point, but the Echo devices just keep getting better and better. That’s why when Amazon reached out to sponsor a blog post about some new “life hack” Alexa Skills, I was definitely excited to show you these recently launched attractions. So let’s get a little techie today and dive deeper into some of the magic that are Alexa Skills.
Along with that, I’ve gotta share my love and joy about the Echo devices with a screen. I absolutely love my Echo Spot and Echo Show. The screens make a big difference in my daily interactions and sometimes it’s just nice to actually see what’s being done. Because of this, the Echo Spot is great as an alarm clock on my nightstand or a smart companion on my desk.
So what’s up with these new Skills, eh?
If you don’t get nagged enough at home…
Amazon wanted me to share some cool new Skills with you and the first one we’re talking about is Start Nagging Me… Now I know what you’re thinking, “why would I want Alexa nagging me?” Well, it’s not exactly this, but kind of. Think of this as a way to have Alexa force you to be productive. Nagging will have every 60 seconds for about 10 minutes to make sure you’ve completed the task, at which point Alexa will check in on you to make sure you’re doing alright.. Hey, you asked her to nag you. It’s pretty effective though, especially if you don’t like robots and artificial intelligence telling you what to do.
All of that said, it’s a pretty effective Skill. You even have the ability to start the nagging over (if you so choose to torture yourself that much), tell Alexa to “make this my favorite” and have it start by itself when you launch this Skill, and there’s a long list of compatible “nags” or tasks available here. But basically how this works is you’d say “Alexa start nagging me,” then Alexa will ask you what the task is that you’d like to be nagged about, and then you’ll give her an amount of time to nag you about it. And the fun begins… depending on your idea of fun. Personally, I think it’s great though as I tend to procrastinate around the house.
Next up, we’re talking about Chop Chop, and this is perfect for those who aren’t well-rehearsed in the kitchen and happen to have an Echo device with a screen. Though it’s important to note that there is an audio-only version for those with a standard Echo device. This is a companion Skill for your kitchen that will teach you how to slice and dice fruits and vegetables! I know… amazing right?? So this app packs over 40 original tutorial videos that will literally show you how to chop up some food. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for within this Skill, you can request that new fruits and veggies be added!
It’s simple to use as well. Just say, “Alexa Chop Chop” and the Skill will launch. From there, just say the name of a fruit or veggie and the video tutorial will launch, giving you precise instructions on how to chop it up! It’s quite simple to use and can be fun for people of all ages, though I’d definitely recommend adult supervision if you plan to let the kids play with this Skill. All-in-all it’s just a cute skill with a fun atmosphere that will teach you how to cut things nicely. Thanks, Alexa!
Money, Cash, Dolla’ Billz Y’all!
Finally, if you’re trying to stick to a budget, interested in starting one, or even just like to keep track of money you’re spending or will spend, Budget Bot is the way to go! The goal with this Skill is longevity though. I’d recommend using it for at least a month or more to fully take advantage of things here. So how does it work, you ask?
Well first off, you’ll enable the skill and create an account for Budget Bot on your device or computer. From there, just begin telling Alexa what you buy and how much you spend. For example, “Alexa, tell Budget Bot I spent $400 on rent.” or “Alexa, tell Budget Bot I spent $300 on clothes.” Budget Bot will add this to your account and start tracking what you’ve spent, where it came from, and what you spend it on. After a while, you can begin to ask things like, “Alexa ask Budget Bot how much I’ve spent on clothes in the last year” and sadly you’ll find out how much of a shopping obsession you have.
Along with that, Budget Bot’s account you’ve created is linked up with tellbudgetbot.com where you’ll be able to see a full visualization of the money you’re spending. It even includes very official looking pie charts that you can share with your significant other and totally look like a budgeting hero!
The website is nicely put together and the Skill works great! Just make sure you’re adding all of your expenses and after a month or so you can ask Budget Bot to “make a plan” for a personalized monthly budget, which will be great to keep that spending under control. Happy Budgeting!
Try It Yourself!
So there you have it… Three exciting Alexa Skills that can easily work as digital life hacks! The best part is, they’re free. So what are you waiting for? Go pick up an Echo device if you don’t have one and check out all of these cool Skills I’ve mentioned or a full list of newly launched Skills here.