In 11/22/63, Al discovers a Portal to the Past in his diner's pantry. He uses it to travel back to when meat was much cheaper and then sell it in the present.
In After the Golden Age, the superheroine Spark uses her fire powers to cook meals, saying they turn out better that way because she can control the heat more precisely than with an oven.
In Aleca Zamm is a Wonder, a children's chapter book, a girl named Aleca Zamm gains the ability to stop time just by saying her name. Upon learning she can do this, she uses it for stuff like playing pranks on her Jerkass math teacher, principal and classmates, cheating on a math test, and getting a couple of hours of extra sleep in the morning. At least, until her Great Aunt Zephyr, who has the power of Teleportation shows up and puts a stop to this, offering herself as a mentor.
Animorphs: The title characters frequently use their Animorphism for mundane things, despite the risk that it would blow their cover and lead to the enslavement of the entire planet. For example, doing a science project and watching concerts for free (twice!). They technically have a rule against this, which Team Dad Jake is miserable at enforcing — especially since he wanted to go to both concerts. Lampshaded in the final book, when Marco morphs a lobster to get his car keys off the pool floor, and Jake makes fun of him because, you know, people who can't morph are just screwed then. Marco then asks Jake if he's thirsty, and Jake snarks back, "Why? Going to morph cow and squeeze me out a glass of two percent?"
In Gifts, the first Annals of the Western Shore, much is made of the powerful and fearsome powers of the different families. One example is the gift of the knife, so named because its wielder can cut flesh at will. Gry's father uses it to painlessly remove splinters. He's also a bit of a Non-Action Guy and only uses it for mundane purposes like this, which Gry thinks is a better idea than weaponizing it.
In The Bartimaeus Trilogy magicians often summon demons for mundane tasks such as redecorating their homes or working as manservants. Despite the lack of risk they often resent this as much or more than their more dangerous jobs. There's glory to be found in battle, less so in wallpapering.
Sorcery has nearly limitless application, which all of the sorcerers take advantage of to some extent: the high end would probably be Belgarath (who prefers to take shortcuts in things like physical labor), and the low would probably be Durnik, who prefers working by hand if time isn't an issue. Discussed when Polgara points out that she can do chores like sewing by magic, but doesn't "because I like to sew, dear".
At another point, Belgarion gives the Orb, the most powerful artifact in existence, to his toddler son to play with. He's called out on this.
Discussed regarding a former alchemist who burned his notes and quit in disgust because his gold-creating experiments failed; all he could do was make glass extra-strong. His colleague has a moment of silent anguish when Belgarath points out just how valuable a process for turning sand into Indestructium would have been.
Jesus' very first miracle? Turning water into wine during a wedding party as a private favor for his host, and upon a request from his mom Mary. (Sacred Hospitality is Serious Business.) However, tempted by Satan to use His God-like powers either for His own convenience or as a publicity stunt, Jesus says no thanks.
In other Gospels not considered canonical, a young Jesus also experimented with his powers by animating a clay bird and raising a kid from the dead when he accidentally smote the guy for being stupid.
Bloodsucking Fiends: Upon concluding that Vampire saliva acts as a healing agent (primarily to keep those tell-tale neck wounds from being noticed), Tommy tries to convince his Friendly Neighborhood Vampire girlfriend Jody to fix his cuticles and get rid of a blister on his toe. Jody is not amused.
In one of the stories, it is mentioned that after a war, an attempt was made to use the titular super-sized military tanks for peaceful purposes, including attaching a blade for demolition work to one and calling it a "tractor". The half-megaton/second firepower still available on it tended to belay the "peaceful" status.
A later scheme was to use an obsolete Bolo's massively powerful AI and large hull space to create an automated tractor/bulldozer/genetics lab for adapting crops to survive on newly settled colonies. While those responsible were smart enough to remove the Frickin' Laser Beams this time, they made a really shoddy job of adapting the AI's programming: the result being that when the colony was invaded by hostile aliens it kicked into combat mode and exterminated them all with customised bioweapons, all while thinking they were just a particularly large type of crop pest.
Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle, which gives us "ice-nine", a revolutionary chemical that freezes at room temperature and immediately freezes any liquid substance that it comes in contact with. As revolutionary as it is, it was only created by the US Army so that they would have a way to freeze mud instantly, and soldiers wouldn't have to spend so much time slogging through the mud and getting their boots dirty. At the end, it wipes out all life on Earth when someone accidentally drops it into the ocean and freezes the ocean solid, causing a global climate meltdown. Oops..
In the second book of the second trilogy of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Thomas uses his white goldring, an artifact of indomitable magic that destroys peace, to shave. Justified in that it's both excellent magical training, since he struggles to control the ring earlier; and very practical, since he's a leper who has bad motor control and is prone to infection.
Tris is a weather mage: she can call lightning, shove storms around, and the like. In Shatterglass, the first thing we see her do with her power is set up a personal breeze as air-conditioning; later, she uses a small lightning bolt as an arc lamp, and uses a small cyclone as an elevator to get to the top of a tower. She's also been known to use her control over the rain in place of an umbrella, and once summoned lightning to spot-weld wire into a mesh. She actually feels some chagrin over her difficulty with this trope early on, as other people she knows have more useful powers for day-to-day life; since much of her power falls fould of the Inverse Law of Utility and Lethality, she seeks out the exceptions and also learns both scrying and academic magic.
Sandry has the ability to weave unmagic and tie life to a body. The technical term for this is "Stitch Witch", power over thread, so mostly she uses it to make very durable and pretty clothes.
Briar's plant-based powers are exceptionally useful in the realm of medicine and gardening.
Since absolutely everyone (except Tavi) in the Codex Alera series has at least some degree of Elemental Powers, they're generally used for Magitek purposes to make everyday life easier. Earthcrafters use their furies for construction and mining and Super Strength, and can also use them to either calm people, or excite them. Windcrafters can fly, manipulate sound, calm down storms, and bend air into magnifying glasses or telescopes. Watercrafters can use their powers to heal, swim, channel waterflow, create aqueducts, and hide the presence of ships from massive sea beasts. Firecrafters use can create lamps and cook food, or use their abilities to incite courage or fear; the best orators in Alera are firecrafters who unconsciously incite emotions in their audiences. Woodcrafters are excellent farmers, able to grow vast amounts of food in days. Even metalcrafters, the most martial of the crafting disciplines, are master smiths and metalworkers.
A succubus whose life-leeching touch causes plants to shrivel gets fired from a brothel for accidentally draining a human client so he winds up in the hospital. She finds a new job with a company that makes dried flower arrangements, where her Touch of Death for flowers triples their productivity.
In the same novel, a wizard moonlights as an auctioneer, because rattling off high-speed "bid calling" chant is dead easy for someone who's mastered the tongue-tangling polysyllables of spellcasting.
In the Dante Valentine series, the main above-board use for Necromantic powers is in settling legal matters, such as settling estate cases where the will is unclear. Danny charges extra for criminal cases: in Working for the Devil she raises a ghost having been told it's an estate case, then gets very angry with the attorney who hired her when she learns she's just gotten the deceased's son convicted of his murder.
All the main characters in the Diadem: Worlds of Magic series do this. Justified in that they may have been gifted with the power to rule the entire galaxy, but they're teenagers and don't want to do it. Score, in particular, likes this trope: he uses his powers to heat his bathwater, dry himself off without a towel, change unpalatable medieval foods into cola and burgers, and seals an alliance with goblins by turning water into Coke.
Lampshaded in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency: "You have a time machine and you use it for... watching television?" He's also happy for Richard to use it in order to book a table for tonight at an exclusive restaurant, three weeks in advance.
The mighty weapon of Thief of Time's Chaos is a sword as rule-breaking as he. It is made of blue flame, which burns with absolute coldness. When he's not fighting, it creates a handy freezer that keeps his dairy products cold and fresh. Combining this with teleportation powers akin to Death's he becomes Ronnie Soak, the Discworld's greatest milkman, able to deliver said dairy products anywhere, anytime, always fresh. Most importantly, everyone's milk arrives at 7:00 AM sharp. Everyone's.
On a similar note, Susan, Death's granddaughter, has inherited The Grim Reaper's many talents, among them the ability to exist outside of time. She uses this talent to grade papers (largely due to her suffering a heavy case of I Just Want to Be Normal). Her classes take quite interesting, Disc-travelling unscheduled field trips during her lessons. However, her Compelling Voice, while able to help her skip on teaching when her grandfather needs her, cannot be used to get her a raise from the headmistress. She was also very good at certain sports such as lacrosse and hockey. Just seeing Susan moving with a long angled stick and a calculating expression makes goalies reconsider their life choices.
There's some mundane uses of magic-derived technology on the Discworld, such as using tiny summoned imps to paint pictures (essentially a photo camera), or as (dis)organizers. However, magic on the Disc is likened to nuclear power - it's good to know it's out there, but you wouldn't want a pile of it in your living room. As such, such mundane uses of magic in everyday use is under the purview of the University's Department of Inadvisably Applied Magic.
On a related note, many nobles in Discworld send their children to the Assassin's Guild of Ankh Morpork. There are two main reasons for this: 1: Knowing how to assassinate people teaches their children how to guard against assassination, and 2: it actually is one of the best formal education schools in the world.
Unseen University's omniscopes are powerful scrying devices that can see anywhere and anywhen. Because of this it's extremely hard to get them to show anywhere and anywhen in particular, so they usually show the blackness of empty space (that being what most of the universe consists of). The wizards mostly use them as shaving mirrors. Ridcully, who is particularly skilled at using an omniscope, takes advantage of his skill to make stalking prey while hunting easier, and he helps to set up a set of 'synchronized' Omniscopes to serve as a form of teleconferencing setup during the events of Going Postal.
On a lesser scale, Wizards will occasionally use magic for mundane purposes - in Sourcery, for example, Spelter turns water into sherry, and in various later books, the Dean uses a very tiny fireball to light a cigarette, Ridcully makes a tiny light spell that serves as a magical laser pointer for a presentation in The Science of Discworld, and in Making Money Ponder gets the Cabinet of Curiosities to produce a Golem's Foot so that Adora Belle Dearheart could correctly identify some other Golems she was freeing from an underground area, and Hix calls back the late Professor Flead to translate Umnian for Adora and Moist with Post-Mortem Communications.
In a world in which technology to make clockwork is rare, how does one keep track time? Trap tiny demons in watches of course! They aren't dangerous, but the clocks aren't very reliable, which makes mechanical ones far better.
Swamp dragons, dog-sized and nonsentient fire breathers, are frequently used by their human owners as firelighters, forges, paint strippers, and the like. Lady Sybil, the expert on the species, firmly objects to such practices, and dislikes when her husband lights his cigars with dragon hatchlings, although she unhesitatingly instructs him on how to use Raja as a weapon in defense of their child.
On the other side of the fence, Discworld witches are trained to avert this trope (which doesn't necessarily mean they do it 100%, just that they're trained not to rely on magic as much as possible). Most of them seem to take it as a point of pride how far they can go using only hard work and completely nonmagical things like herbalism, theaterical performances, and headology.
Lampshaded in Witches Abroad, with a conversation between Nanny Ogg (a witch) and Mrs Googol (a voodo priestess) about when it's appropriate for a witch to use pins, or a mambo to raise zombies:
Nanny: But only when there ain't no alternative. Mrs Googol: Sure. When there ain't no alternative. Nanny: When...you know ...people ain't showing respect, like. Mrs Googol: When the house needs paintin'.
Borrowing is one of Granny's greatest skills in witchcraft, the ability to ride in another being's consciousness, see what it sees, and hear what it hears. At one point in Maskerade, she borrows Nanny Ogg... so she can see herself as she puts her hat back on and adjusts it. Nanny then questions why she doesn't just use a mirror.
In Equal Rites, Esk disguises her wizard staff as a broom, occasionally using it to sweep up. When Mustrum Ridcully was summoned to UU to become its Archchancellor, he had to retrieve his own staff from the garden, where it was serving as the support-pole of a scarecrow. He's known to use magic for trick shots in pool involving time travel and spatial manipulation that he refers to as 'baize space'.
In The Truth, Otto uses his vampire power over animals (the one that allows them to command the Children of the Night to make vonderful music) to make a huge crowd of squabbling dogs sit up and howl, so they'll stop blocking his and William's path back to the Times office.
In Dragaera, the Imperial Orb is the single most potent magical item in that world. Every citizen of the Dragaeran Empire has a psychic link to the Orb that grants them access to Dragaeran Sorcery, powered by the Orb's control over a vast ocean of raw chaos. As a bonus, it's a perfectly accurate timepiece.
Harry Dresden uses his magic to light candles and his fireplace; occasionally to create energy drinks in magic potion form; and as his day job as a private investigator. Every Monster of the Week he tells this to can't comprehend that he'd break the Masquerade just to earn a paycheck. Since wizards are Walking Techbanes, Harry needs the mundane utility of his magic to compensate for the fact that he can't trust any electrical appliance.
Thomas uses his White Court Vampire abilities to give the most pleasurable haircuts possible, thus earning his rent and "eating" all at once.
According to Word of Jim, Molly once tried to make a potion to dye her hair different colours on command.
One of the powers of the Knight of the Cross is the power of Contrived Coincidence. Useful to save a person in need in the best possible moment, and to find yourself someone that can take care of your kids while you go out and fight evil.
Father Forthill: You need a babysitter again, don't you?
In the Dragonriders of Pern series, all dragons can teleport. Green dragons (the lowest-ranking) are sometimes used to deliver messages or carry passengers. Since dragon riders are an elite class, they only do this when it's important (or when they want to impress a girlfriend, etc).
In Dune: House Harkonnen, Duke Leto uses a jeweled dagger that was given to him by the Emperor...to cut a paradan melon.
Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Mendanbar, king of the Enchanted Forest, wields a magic sword responsible for choosing the succession and powerful enough to make him a match for "any three wizards" within his own territory. The first thing he does with it in his introductory book is place an improvised and stealthy spell to keep a wizard's staff from absorbing magic from his kingdom. The second? To unclog a sink. He offers to let it do the dishes as well, but is told that would be ridiculous.
Examples F to J
Fairy Oak: Magic is so natural for the inhabitants of Fairy Oak that that is how magic is mostly shown to us:
Magicals of Light use their kisses to cure small scratches.
Quills with spellcheck.
Telli once acted as firefly bait.
Flying is often used for reaching for things or not touching the ground to avoid cold feet or or slipping.
When aunt Tomelilla blew flour all over the house (long story), La used her magic to clean it. Magicals of the Dark often make stains disappear to avoid cleaning.
Depending on the user's powers, finger can be used as pencils and glue, or erasers and scissors.
The Fifth Season: Inverted with "safe", a milky-white plant-based drink that changes colour when anything is added to it. It's offered as a universal gesture of Sacred Hospitality to prove that the host isn't poisoning the guest, but The Stone Sky reveals that it was first bio-engineered for the drinkers to enjoy the pretty colours it turns in the presence of various additives.
In Freakling by Lana Krumwiede, everyone in Taemon's city has Psychic Powers, called psi. They use them for everything, from driving to eating. It is seen as disgusting to eat with your hands. This becomes a problem when Taemon loses his powers and has to hide it.
In Michael Z. Williamson's Freehold the Grainne military uses an Orbital Bombardment weapon consisting of blocks of metal dropped from orbit ... to carve a gap through a mountain range for a highway. Justified because they were paid to do it and the system was nearing the end of its operational life anyway.
In the short story "The Gun Without a Bang" by Robert Sheckley, the protagonist finds himself stranded on a remote planet, forcing him to survive in the wild. Fortunately, he has a prototype disintegration gun for protection, capable of instantly vaporizing its target. Unfortunately, it does little to deter a pack of wild dog-like aliens that are hunting him (since it doesn't make a bang to scare them off), so he resorts to an old-fashioned bow and arrows. When he's finally found and his rescuers ask how the gun worked, he says he couldn't have survived without it ... because he was using it as a hammer to drive sharp defensive stakes into the ground around his camp.
Wizards use magic for everything in their everyday lives. From making animated Chocolate Frogs, to the various practical joke items, transport, sports, enchanted items that do household chores for you, self stirring cauldrons, semi-sentient owls, radio, the list goes on. In fact, it seems most of what Wizards use magic for is just getting by in day to day life. It's stated that high levels of magic such as at Hogwarts cause Muggle technology more advanced than a wristwatch to fail to work, so while in some cases the magical alternative is far superior, they don't even have the option to use Muggle tech if they wanted to.
It appears that, based on Arthur Weasly's understanging of muggle technology (and he's supposed to be a relative expert), the magical population of the world hasn't a clue how Muggle technology works and basically couldn't survive without magic to do everything for them. If the wizarding world ever gets hit with an Anti-Magic Field half of them would end up staving to death covered in their own filth.
The House-elves. A race of powerful magical beings with near absolute loyalty as their Hat, whose magic isn't bound by the same rules or limitations as human wizardry, and what do most wizards and witches use them for? Chores. Justified by the condescending attitude most wizards and witches have concerning House Elves. A few wizards do make clever use of their House elves though: Crouch Sr. entrusted Winky with the very important task of keeping his son hidden (and fired her for nearly letting him escape), Regulus Black told Kreacher to destroy Voldemort's locket Horcrux, though even Kreacher's powers weren't enough to break it, and Harry put Kreacher's talents to good use for espionage in Half-blood Prince and for capturing a thief in Deathly Hallows.
The Time Turner. For nearly the whole year Hermione uses it to go back an hour or so to do more classes, extending her days to about 28 hours each with 13 classes a week on almost no sleep. Put to better use at the end, when Harry and Hermione go back in time to save the lives of Harry's godfather and an innocent Hippogriff. Still, the time turners are used exactly once in the series despite being one of the most obviously powerful artifacts in the series. Although they do have limitations in that they can't go back very far and they create stable time loops, meaning that whatever you go back to change will result in the same future you've already seen.
The invisibility cloak. It makes you (and up to two of your short friends, apparently) invisible. Primary use? Pranks, and sneaking around Hogwarts. James used it to get free food. When it is described as one of the supposedly mythical Deathly Hallows, Hermione is actually shocked speechless. In fairness, Harry does generally use it when more important problems come up as well.
The Marauder's Map, which has the power to see through various shapeshifts and even Harry's Invisibility Cloak (which can literally hide the wearer from Death itself) has been passed down for 20-30 years and used to pull pranks and sneak out of school. Again Harry and friends do get quite a bit of value out of it when real problems arise.
Hermione wears braces because her parents don't want her to mix regular, muggle dentistry with magic. When a jinx hits her and she needs to get the teeth fixed to their proper size again? She lets the magical nurse of the school fix them past the necessity of wearing braces.
In Heart of Steel, Alistair Mechanus apparently uses advanced biochemistry to make a grilled cheese sandwich for Julia. Justified in that dairy products like cheese are not casually available on Shark Reef Isle.
The boys in Hidden Talents all use their powers unconsciously at first, causing them to wind up together in a disciplinary alternative school because none of the adults in their lives could get them to stop cheating/starting fires/throwing things etc., and the boys all insist that they aren't to blame. After they find out about and learn to control their gifts, some of them go on to use them casually.
Cheater, who's telepathic, lives up to his (previously wrong) nickname by cheating in poker games. This fails because while Cheater can read minds, his opponents can read his expressions.
Trash uses his telekinesis to try and get cash out of his bank account when his dad won't let him buy art supplies. This has unforeseen consequences.
Flinch, who can see a few seconds into the future, is an inversion: he doesn't compete in sports because he feels it gives him an unfair advantage. Before he found out about his powers though, he was a champion at dodgeball. However, he does find a use for it in stand-up comedy: anticipating hecklers so he can plan for snappy retorts.
Lampshaded in His Dark Materials when a character comments on the absurdity of creating a knife that can cut through from one world to another and using it "to steal candy."
One of the perennial complaints of Marvin the Depressed Robot from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is that he has a brain the size of a planet, yet is assigned only simple household tasks that wouldn't challenge a lobotomized goldfish's intellect.
In I'm In Love With the Villainess, the Bauer Kingdom turns its aristocracy into a meritocracy, greatly upsetting its nobles and causing massive waves through the masses, all thanks to the sheer, world-changing potential of magical tools. Though their most prominent applications are for the military, you could also make a toilet for someone suffering a Potty Emergency, complete with plumbing and running water.
In Impractical Magic, artificing magic is used to power all forms of modern conveniences, from lights, to elevators, to stoves.
From the Inheritance Cycle: When the (financial) going gets tough, the Varden have their mages use their powers to make valuable lace to sell for funds, since the only limit on their magic is that it takes the same amount of energy to do something by magic as it does to do it by hand - thus they can make the low-energy lace really really fast. They consider this beneath their dignity and are horrified when Nasuada orders them to do it. Additionally, magic can be used for any number of mundane purposes. One such example is that when Oromis gives Eragon a razor for shaving, it cuts Eragon so badly that he devises a spell for shaving and from then on shaves in that matter. This is something that is explored in some detail, and even commented upon by certain other characters who fear magic and are disturbed by Eragon's unnatural clean-shavedness even at hours of the day when it wouldn't be normal. Whether or not Oromis did this on purpose to get Eragon to discover the spell is left up to the reader to ponder, though it is indicated that magicians have used such methods with their apprentices in the past. If apprentices didn't tap into their magical power on their own, then the magician would set them some mundane task such as moving a large pile of rocks until they finally grew so frustrated that they unconsciously tapped into their magic for the first time.
Journey to Chaos: This verse uses mana in place of electricity, and so magic is used in every appliance and aspect of daily life. When Eric first arrives in A Mage's Power, he marvels at the differences in technology: the air conditioning in Eric's bridge house is wind magic; Scries (cell phone equivalents) use runes in place of circuitry; and locks use enchanted crystals instead of metal keys.
Examples K to O
Inverted in Kill Decision. A derivative of Vocaloid - and yes, the copyright is expressly namedropped, as is the used to do "virtual pop stars in Japan" thing - is used by the villains to fake a video of the colonel ordering Odin's team to stand down.
The boys in Krabat may and do use magic for their daily work and even just for pranks.
Played with in Mercedes Lackey's novels. (White) magic is a semi-finite resource, meaning you can exhaust your resources (or yourself) if you draw too much or too fast. Using power for frivolous or mundane purposes (things that could be done just as easily by hand) is usually the mark of a corrupt or evil mage — someone who can just take as much power as he wants doesn't care about running out, after all.
Justifying this is that magic use has certain drawbacks. Doing something with magic is usually harder than doing it by other means. Anyone who does something magically when an easier way exists is probably addicted to magic. Additionally, magical sources can become unreliable, as the Eastern Empire found out when the Mage Storms hit and their Magitek-based infrastructure nearly collapsed.
Sometimes, the person using magic for mundane purposes is just being dumb. There's a reference in The Fairy Godmother to one of Elena's predecessors, who used so much magic on things like housecleaning that she didn't have any on tap to deal with an Evil Sorcerer.
On the other hand, several mages in the Elemental Masters series use their powers for such things as making sure dinner doesn't burn or the butter churn gets completely clean. And in the Five Hundred Kingdoms series, explicitly magical creatures can serve any function they are willing to do, presumably because magic is easier for them. Also from that, unlike Witches/Hedge Wizards (who are supposed to have minimal magic and usually hoard what they can get) and Fairy Godmothers/Warding Wizards (who are supposed to have vast amounts of magic, but need to conserve it when "offstage" as the Tradition forgets they exist when they aren't actively part of a storyline), Sorcerers/esses are supposed to live in highly magical surroundings; when they make magic a part of their daily lives the Tradition actively subsidizes them and increases their available power. (This isn't usually resented, as the latter under normal circumstances get the most dangerous roles for magic users the Tradition can find for them.)
In the Lensman series, the ability to render objects inertialess is not just used for FTL travel, but also to replace elevators. Step out into a yawning shaft, drop "free" for fifty or a hundred floors in a fraction of a second, and walk out at the desired level without a hair being mussed. The one drawback is that skirts are out as female office wear.
The Lord of the Rings: The One Ring, the object that holds most of the dark lord Sauron's power, binding him to Middle Earth as long as it exists, the One Ring designed to rule all the other rings of power, and what does Bilbo use it for after The Hobbit? To avoid meeting unpleasant relatives and to play a prank at his birthday party. Justified and Exploited: the Ring canonically grants power "according to the wielder's stature," so the hobbits can't tap most of its deeper and more intimidating powers; but the fact that they think so small, desiring to be left alone in peace above all else, makes them more resistant to the Ring's corruption than most.
Spaceships are fitted with "variable layout" technology to shorten walking times by creating Extradimensional Shortcuts between rooms. High-ranking officers have the privilege to reprogram the network of shortcuts on the fly.
Uniforms are self-repairing, self-cleaning, and self-folding, and can be programmed to morph into anything from casual attire to full formal. Oddly, this makes them hackable, since they network with command centers to verify the wearer's rank and decorations.
In Scott Meyer's Magic20 series, all time travelers learn to do this. However, this involves coming up with creative ways of modifying the reality file. Since pretty much all time traveler "colonies" utilize some type of interface similar (and frequently based on) the shell program developed by Phillip, they can write a macro for a specific spell and use it whenever they want. There are limitations, though, as most objects can't be easily manipulated due to the fact that the program considers any inanimate object made up of a number of parts to be separate objects. Thus, attempting to levitate or teleport a computer will probably break it, since only a part of the device will be affected. The same can be said of simple rocks as well, if they are not made up of a single mineral. Atlantean sorceresses (specifically, Brit) came up with a solution by designing a macro that creates objects on a molecular level, aligning the molecules in a desired pattern. Thus, many things in Atlantis are made of molecularly pure diamond and can, thus, be easily manipulated. In fact, Atlantean sorceresses are even more guilty of this trope than most. Brit the Younger projects the Interface on a sheet of glass to, basically, make it work like a remote for various "systems" in her home (e.g. open windows, change temperature), while all sorceresses use the file to adjust their metabolism so that they don't have to go on a diet or exercise. A wizard named Gary is particularly fond of using the file to play pranks on people. All time travelers make food out of thin air (Phillip likes to pull burritos out of his hat). Just to be clear, the file in this case controls the complex program that we call reality, and most who discover it tend to be at least a little careless about editing it.
Many of Nina Kiriki Hoffman's magic-using characters have creative methods of using their abilities in everyday life. The character of Terry Dane from the Matt Black series is probably the best example. She can cast spells to summon money (in the short story Airborn she mentions that she paid for a new car by casting spells to make multiple minor wins in the lottery), to make oneself more attractive, and to help someone study better by improving memory and concentration, and is constantly looking for new ways to use magic. She even invented a way to create portable spells in tablet form that can be used by nonmagical people. She runs an Internet-based business where she sells weak versions of these spells to ordinary people (her biggest customer base is college students), and although her mother disapproves of the way she uses her powers, she doesn't complain too much since Terry makes more money than she does and pays at least half the rent. However, Terry is careful about how she uses these spells to avoid attracting too much attention or giving too much of an unfair advantage to her customers.
Mindwarp: Being about thirteen-year-olds gaining superpowers, everyone, to a greater or lesser degree, finds a way to use them to make life easier. Jack (who speaks all languages) wins money on a TV show showcasing 'weirdities' and makes a fool of his Spanish teacher. It gets pointed out to Todd that school will become amazingly easy, since he can memorize things whether or not he's paying attention, but he's never shown to use it.
Feruchemy is based on weakening an attribute to store for later, tapping it later to gain the power that was put in originally, at a vastly increased rate. Sitting around reading all day long? Store strength and speed. Bored waiting for the dentist? Store mental speed. Air conditioner not working? Store heat. Need to get to bed on time? Store wakefulness. Need privacy? Store your connection to others. Even eyesight can be weakened by storing to using glasses all the time if you're okay with that kind of style. Then, of course, you'll have extra of all of these resources for later when you need them.
Allomantic powers have their own mundane uses, provided one shells out for the metal necessary to power it. Iron and Steel (pull and push nearby metal objects and detect those objects) allow you to find your keys, push or pull open doors with your hands full, and power a generator without needing fuel. Pewter (enhances physical ability, including power, balance, and dexterity) burners can tear up a dance floor, while tin (enhances senses) burners can ace any vision test and never need the snooze button. Zinc and brass burners can be incredibly persuasive by amplifying or dampening specific emotions. Electrum (see your own future) burners can clean up at the casino, Cadmium (makes a bubble of time that passes slower inside) burners can make any wait pass by in a snap (ranging from stakeouts to dull waiting rooms to loading times), and bendalloy (bubble of time that passes faster inside) is excellent for impromptu costume changes and private conversations.
By the time of Wax and Wayne, Allomancers can find employment using their powers. Steel burners (who can fly by pushing down on street-level metals like lamps) are high speed couriers, Brass burners (dampens emotions) work as therapists, and a law was passed against Brass and Zinc (zinc amplifies emotions) Metalborn from using their powers to attract customers (not that it stops them). Someone won a minor election with a platform that just said that as a copper burner, he's immune to emotional Allomancy.
The Congery in Mordant's Need is supposed to spend most of its time researching the possibility for practical, non-warlike uses of Imagery, as opposed to the summoning of monsters and natural disasters that it's traditionally been used for. Their success rate is spotty, but they do come up with a few in the course of the story - for instance, the Imagers help with the rescue operation in a collapsed part of the castle by sending large pieces of debris into their mirrors.
In Theodore Sturgeon's More Than Human, Lone asks Baby to come up with a mechanical device that would help a farmer keep his truck from getting stuck in mud... Baby gives him instructions on how to build what turns out to be an anti-gravity machine. Neither character actually realizes the full extent of this invention - Lone is capable of making the device with help but doesn't comprehend how it actually works, while Baby does have this knowledge but, having a mind comparable to a computer, doesn't consider any other uses for it until later on when he's specifically asked about what might happen if the device is found.
Jace to Magnus in The Mortal Instruments: "Nearly unlimited supernatural power, and all you do is use it to watch reruns. What a waste."
Done by all Others in Sergey Lukyanenko's Night Watch (Series). A good number of spells are specifically designed for domestic uses and are fairly simple to cast even by low-level Others. All female Others use magic instead of conventional makeup (except Svetlana, who reveals in New Watch that she has stopped using magic outside of the apartment in order to retain her humanity). There are spells for slicing vegetables, shaving, ironing, wiping dust, etc. It's mentioned that every Other tries to be clever and use a domestic spell in combat. However, dedicated battle spells are much faster to cast and can be "hot-keyed" to fingers. On the other hand, old and experienced battle mages have learned how to use these domestic spells to end battles very quickly and unpleasantly in a Combat Pragmatist fashion (as Anton states, most magical battles involve mages hidden behind Mage Shields hurling fireballs at one another to no effect). How would an Other feel if he or she suddenly felt like they were being ironed instead of a shirt? Or if a millimeter of their skin was suddenly gone with a Peel spell? Most Others also use their ability to predict future events to avoid traffic and to make easy cash by playing the stock market.
Examples P to T
Peter Reidinger of Anne McCaffrey's Pegasus books discovers he has powers after becoming a quadriplegic at age thirteen; as a result he uses his "Talent" for everything, including hiding the fact that he's doing it by puppeting his own inert body, which leads to some Uncanny Valley moments (as well as him literally levitating with enthusiasm early on when he forgets where his feet are in relation to the ground...)
Percy's sword Riptide in Percy Jackson and the Olympians can transform into a pen for concealment purposes. In the sequel series, it's revealed that he can write with it.
After Catherine from A Practical Guide To Evil becomes a winter fae noble who can - among other things - create ice, the officers of her legion immediately latch on to the idra of her cooling rations and providing a water suppley for the army when on the march.
Prince Roger: When stuck on an alien world, the prince's valet discovers a local caterpillar-analogue whose venom causes the flesh of those bitten to dissolve and slide of their bones, causing the victims to die in excruciating agony. He immediately develops a method to use it (in small doses and heavily diluted) to make the toughest parts of the local fauna melt-in-your-mouth-tender.
Lila Black does this quite a lot in Quantum Gravity. Once she lit a cigarette with the pilot light for her flamethrower. Another time had her turning her hand into a touchscreen... in order to play naughts and crosses.
Dawn's Helix from The Radiant Dawn has a gatling gun that proves very effective for mowing down hordes of undead, blowing up artillery...and creating a makeshift buzzsaw to separate an air conditioning unit from the roof it's bolted to so the helicopter has enough space to land.
The Raven Tower: Many small gods make a living facilitating household tasks, such as keeping water clean, preventing small fires from getting out of hand, and generally making an area nicer to live in. In Vastai all of these duties are handled by the Raven. Deconstructed: Within days of his death, the city is ravaged by a cholera outbreak and multiple fires, and no one remembers how to handle these dangers without godly assistance.
The sirens of the Nangong family uses their water controlling ability to act as humidifiers and air conditioners. They also transform into octopus so they can use their tentacles for a variety of chores such as mopping floors and washing dishes.
Vivian can lower temperature as her vampire power, and she uses it most frequently as an air conditioner. She can also cast lighting via herself or her bats precisely at certain volts or amps. After discovering this none of Hao Ren's party ever use charger for their phones anymore...
Hao Ren uses Lil'Pea's holy flame as a lighter.
Redwall: In The Legend of Luke, Martin uses his sword (yes, the legendary artifact regarded as magic in later books) to cut a cake. Then there's the famous line, "See this magical sword? Did you know it has the power to make pretty hare maidens happy?"...
After Jorian refuses to pay the wizard Abracarus for his demon-summoning service since it was a blunder, the latter retaliates by summoning a wraith that appears every night at his bed and moans out "Pay your debt" for hours before disappearing.
A group of wizards in Iraz are set to keeping leaks from a tunnel, which Jorian points out later is better solved by engineering and proper maintenance.
By the fourth book of the Safehold series, A Mighty Fortress, several of the main cast besides Merlin have access to his supercomputer Owl and his SNARCs, which provide near omnipotent levels of spying ability on a planet otherwise locked in Medieval Stasis. Some of the uses Emperor Cayleb puts it to: Checking up on his adopted son and following baseball scores back home. Although he does use it for more serious things too.
Schooled in Magic: For those who possess magic, it is an indispensable part of life and is used for even mundane tasks.
Shadow Ops goes into this with regards to the various magical powers the military Latents develop. The various Elemental Powers get used for a huge range of mundane tasks. For example, when the base's heating system break down, one of the hydromancers uses his powers to heat up the showers. A terramancer uses his control of dirt and rock to instantly wipe away the mud off a soldier's trousers, and so on.
Smoke: Jack The Fourth is less concerned with using the invisible man his scientists have accidentally created for corporate espionage than to spy on his doctors and see if they're laughing at him.
In the Star Trek Expanded Universe novel How Much for Just the Planet? our heroes encounter a baking dish made out of dilithium (a valuable type of crystal that is one target for both sides of the Federation/Klingon Cold War currently in effect). To make it even better, the slab of dilithium is engraved with writing from the local Precursors, combining two kinds of Mundane Utility. The locals argue that if dilithium can regulate a matter-antimatter reaction a few hours in the oven isn't going to hurt it.
In Darksaber, Luke uses his lightsaber as a glorified glowrod. He even lampshades it:
"Not the most impressive use I've ever made of my lightsaber," Luke commented, "but it'll do."
In the second book of the Black Fleet Crisis trilogy, Luke notes that nearly all scanners misidentify a lightsaber as a type of shaver... which it could be used as in a pinch, if you were very very good with it.
Vibroblades are awesome weapons that can cut and slice through most armors. Sure enough, they are used for day-to-day cutting of non-warfare-related items all the time, and scaled-down versions exist that aren't even supposed to be used for fighting at all. And yeah, lightsabers get used for similar purposes too every now and then, as well as torches.
While hardly mundane, Thrawn found a new application of the Interdictor-class cruisers in The Thrawn Trilogy. Instead of pulling enemy ships out of hyperspace, he set up gravity wells right next to targets he needed to destroy, then had his own ship enter lightspeed from not far away, and be pulled back into realspace almost immediately at the precise location where they could do the most damage.
Steel Crow Saga: The Tomodanese people's Extra-ore-dinary power of metalpacting has many deadly combat applications, but is far more often used to open and close metal doors and to operate metal vehicles. When other nations import Tomodanese automobiles, they have to add engines.
Soulcasting is an ancient Functional Magic art of transmutation that's believed to be a gift of the Almighty, so holy that most people are forbidden from watching it in practice. It's also very handy for creating buildings on the fly, and absolutely vital to the Alethi military for creating food. That said, food created by soulcasting tends to taste either bland or outright gross.
The setting's currency consists of gemstones set in glass spheres. Said gems can be infused with Stormlight, which makes them glow. Since they don't flicker or smoke, and don't need refueling/replacing nearly as often as lamps or candles, scholarly types frequently use infused spheres as light sources. It's something of a status symbol how much money you can "waste" on light — the city of Kharbranth uses its royal treasury to illuminate its world-famous library, since the books are at least as valuable and as well-guarded as the gems anyway.
Shardplate, a Lost Technology that is effectively magical Powered Armor, has always been used exclusively for combat. One character wonders why no one ever thought to use it for anything else — and then proves his point by digging through solid rock to make a latrine for his army. In Words of Radiance, we find out why exactly the Radiants never gave the secrets of Plate and Blade to the common people: Since they were created through their bonds with their spren, it was literally impossible for anyone else to replicate them. This may have been common knowledge in the past, but in the present the main reason it wasn't applied for more practical purposes is its extreme rarity.
In the Edgedancer novella, it's mentioned that the entire city of Yeddaw — built into a vast web of deep trenches to protect it from the Highstorms — was excavated by renting the Imperial Shardblades. Ancient, tremendously valuable, Absurdly SharpSoul-Cutting Blades might be the ultimate mark of prestige for a noble house, but they're also quite handy for public works projects.
Radiant shardblades are Equippable Allies that can choose the form in which they manifest. Lift doesn't like hurting people, so she mostly uses Wyndle as a shard-fork to eat pancakes. Not even a very good fork, since she keeps stabbing through the plate and table underneath by mistake.
In Stephen King's novel The Tommyknockers, an alien spacecraft is discovered, and it makes the people near it technical geniuses, but it also harms their common sense (to the point where they simply never think of buying an AC/DC converter so they don't have to rely on batteries for their antigravity). Pretty much all they make is this, since they never think of higher uses for their power. The main character uses her new abilities to power up her water heater by creating a small sun in it, making a tractor that can fly, and a typewriter that can read thoughts. Other townspeople create similar things, like a teleporter used for magic tricks.
Mentioned and then subverted with Numair Salmalin, one of the most powerful mages in the Tortall Universe, specifically Protector of the Small. While most mages can just use magic to extinguish a candle, his power is so great that it would cause an explosion. However, he can do small things like drying a shirt if his magic reserves are low to begin with.
H. Beam Piper's Uller Uprising features a project to use A-bombs for volcano mining on uninhabitable planets. Justified, because by the point in the future Piper's novels are set in, people have access to weapons like the Bethe-cycle bomb, which creates a miniature sun 2000 miles across at its point of detonation, so mere nuclear weapons are relatively unimpressive.
In Komarr, Miles Vorkosigan holds the position of a Barrayaran Imperial Auditor, which means he is above the law and can issue orders to anyone about anything with the Emperor's personal authority, subject to review only by the Emperor himself. At one point he uses this power to bypass paternal consent on a routine medical treatment for his love interest's son. Lampshaded by his comment "Just like swatting flies with a laser cannon. The aim's a bit tricky, but it sure takes care of the flies." Ekaterin's own point of view regarding this scene:
Yes, she realized enviously, he could just wave all ordinary problems out of his path. Leaving only the extraordinary ones...her envy ebbed.
Miles also gets one in Memory. He and Simon Illyan aren't having much luck fishing, so Miles messes with his Sonic Stunner's cartridge so that when he discards it into the water, it creates an explosion of fish.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: When Eustace is transformed into a dragon, this has occasional mundane uses: one puff of his fiery breath would light the most obstinate fire.
War Crimes has the members of the Horde and Alliance conduct a trial with a bronze dragon's help, effectively using time travel to get error free witness testimony. It's also useful for helping a defendant escape justice.
Dovewing has Super Senses that allow her to see pretty much the entirety of the lake territories. She often uses them so that she knows when her crush is leaving for their meetings and can beat him there. Just to mess with him.
Leafpool at one point uses her Twin Telepathy with Squirrelflight to check the weather outside.
In Wearing the Cape novels, Grendel's teeth turn into sharp fangs in a fight — and also when eating meat.
This is the Training from Hell philosophy of the Asha'man; all chores have to be done with the One Power. If you can't channel fire, you eat cold food. This contrasts with their nun-like female counterparts, the Aes Sedai, who do not permit such flippant uses by their trainees, since Menial Labour Builds Character. Of course, the main reason the Aes Sedai don't allow trainees to use the Power for tasks where it isn't necessary is because channeling is addictive. But the life expectancy of an Aes Sedai is more than 10 times that of an Asha'man (when the asha'man are created, anyway), so the addiction is considered worth the risk for them.
As Rand develops his skill with the One Power, he invokes this trope more and more for everyday convenience. One visiting aristocrat has a moment of silent horror when he realizes that Rand — the prophesied Destructive Savior of the world, Person of Mass Destruction, conqueror of nations — personally created the ice in the aristocrat's punch, simply because Rand couldn't be bothered to have it imported.
When the Aes Sedai rediscover the long-lost art of creating cuendillar, an utterly indestructible substance from the Age of Legends, they start manufacturing cuendillar trinkets to sell to wealthy collectors for astronomical prices. They even have to take care to avoid saturating the market.
In Wilson Tucker's 1954 novel Wild Talent, the psychic protagonist uses his ability while growing up to find out who is willing to hire kids his age for various jobs (extremely useful since the character grows up during The Great Depression), and is also able to learn things more quickly during school, job training as a movie projectionist, and military training as he possesses a combination of telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition.
The Witchlands: Safi uses her Living Lie Detector ability to win at card games well enough that neither she nor her flatmate Iseult need to work to support themselves.
Multiple characters in Worm and its sequel Ward put their superpowers to use in their everyday lives:
Skitter uses her insect control powers to clear out rat infestations in her neighborhood.
Skitter starts out using bugs to weave a bullet-resistant spider silk uniform and only gets more creative as time goes on. Later in the series she's using them to dial phones, turn pages and help with her morning routine. Her casual use of swarms of insects slightly unnerves other characters.
Parian uses her ability to telekinetically control cloth in her job as a fashion designer.
Narwhal creates a tiny forcefield to act as a bookmark, and her strange scaly bodysuit is actually a mesh of forcefields. Taylor even notes she's using the suit forcefields as a sports bra.
Damsel Of Distress and her clones can fire annihilation blasts from her hands, but her own body is immune to the blasts. So she can easily clean herself off by blasting herself: all the dirt and grime will be annihilated, leaving her body clean.
In Ward it's shown that as a family of capes who have no secret identities, the Dallon-Pelham extended family of the New Wave cape team are constantly using their superpowers for mundane tasks. Most of them have powers on the theme of lasers, forcefields, and/or flying and make the most of it.
Laserdream, Lady Photon/Photon Mom, and Flashbang all use their light-related powers to illuminate dark places.
Laserdream doesn't have any knives or other cutting utensils in her apartment; she just uses her lasers to cut things. It's also noted that all of her pots and pans are warped from uneven laser heating, and she often uses forcefields as trays and tables.
Laser-seared steak is mentioned as a treasured family recipe.
Antares (formerly Glory Girl) uses her flight to be quiet and not disturb her roommates, to keep weight off an injured foot, and by flying horizontally to use her own body to carry plates. Also at one point she shares a room in a high rise building with her cousin. The building is damaged and the room has no access from the ground floor, so they simply fly there.
Antares also uses her forcefield's super strength to help people move bulky and heavy items, and it's impenetrability to shield her from the elements while flying. And once she gains fine control of it, she uses her forcefield's extra arms to do things like text people on her phone, dress and undress, and braid her hair.
In Diane Duane's Young Wizards series, the protagonists are given access to the source code of the universe and are often seen using it for such frivolous things as teleporting around to save money on the train fare, finding a lost pen, and co-locating the inside of a fridge with someone else's when they want a snack. That said, what is and isnt frivolous here can be a bit of a grey area. Convincing a stubborn patch of crabgrass to move preserves its life, which fulfills the main purpose of wizardry while providing a shortcut in yard work, and that lost pen is eventually used to give the Lone One a chance at redemption.