Thursday, October 29, 2020

Reducing the Cost of Your Tech Expenses.

October 13, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Opinion, Tech/Internet, Weekly Columns

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( There’s little doubt that life does become more convenient and comfortable as we progress. However, there’s an issue: in order to get all the benefits that modern life can bring, we often have to dip our hands in our pockets, and pay for the items that’ll allow us to be a part of modern life. And that can be expensive, especially when it comes to things like technology. Even if you’re not particularly technologically minded, you’ll likely find that you’re spending more money than you’d like on your gadgets and devices.

Fortunately, as with most things, there are always ways to keep your costs down. In this blog, we’re going to look at a few tried and tested tips for reducing your tech-related costs to a minimum.

What Do You Need?

First thing’s first: what do you actually need? One thing about tech is that the sky’s the limit when it comes to what’s available. If you wanted a dozen items, you could! But that’ll cost a lot of money. When it comes to buying your hardware, think about what you really need your tech to do. You’ll likely find that you don’t need to have too many different items of tech; one may be enough. For example, you might think that you want a tablet device, but do you actually need it? What will it allow you to do that your smartphone doesn’t? We live in a world where advertising is king. A desire for these devices will have been manufactured within you, but it’s easy to overcome them — and save money — with a little bit of thinking. 

Buying New

If you’re one of those people that always just go to the store to buy their tech devices, then we’ll have to break the news to you: you’re paying a lot more than you need to. A lot of people don’t like the idea of buying a second-hand device, but providing you read the description properly, you’ll find that you’re unlikely to be surprised at what you get. There are so many devices out there that it’ll always be possible to get a good deal from a second-hand market. This is especially true when a new device comes out (let’s say, a new iPhone). The people who buy it will likely sell their old (yet still relatively new) device for a bargain price. You can also look at refurbished devices. These are second-hand devices that have been restored to “like new” by a professional. You’ll save around 30% of the cost of a new device, and it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to tell any difference, either in aesthetic quality or performance. 

Selling Old Goods

And talking of second-hand devices: what about selling your old tech? It’s an excellent way to supplement the cost of your new purchases. The average American has hundreds of dollars’ worth of unused items in their home, and the majority of the value is in tech. When you buy a new item, you’ll be relegating another item to a drawer somewhere in your home. Instead, why not put it up for sale? You could reasonably raise half a month’s salary if it’s a new device. You can even sell it if it’s damaged, too, though of course you won’t get as much money for it.

Subscription Services

It’s not just that the tech hardware is expensive. It’s what you do with those devices that can be expensive too. If you have multiple subscription services (such as Netflix, Spotify, Amazon Prime, etc.), then you could end up spending $70 a month. If the costs are a little too much, then it’ll be reasonable to ask yourself whether you really need all of them. Netflix and Amazon Prime do have different shows and movies, sure, but you can probably just pick one or another. There’s a free version of Spotify, or you can switch to SoundCloud. It’d be nice to have all these services at your disposal, but when they cost so much money, they’re probably not worth it. Plus, let’s not forget that things like Netflix are designed to keep you hooked. By getting rid of it, you’ll likely find that you spend more time doing other things that you enjoy. 

Data Plans

One of the things we have to contend with is that most devices are essentially useless on their own. They only reach their full potential when they’re connected to the internet. And that, of course, costs money. But how much it costs does vary. There are expensive internet and smartphone data plans, and there are affordable ones. The key is to make sure that you have the right one for your needs. If you’re buying a data plan for you and your loved ones, then a family SIM comparison will help you to find an affordable deal. For your home internet, it’s worthwhile checking out all of your options. There may be one company that is noticeably cheaper than the others. Even if there’s only one internet service provider in your area, be sure to take a look at all the plans they have available. Many people select the fastest (and thus most expensive) deal they have, but the truth is that most people don’t require super fast speeds. 

Energy Costs

If you have a family of tech-heads all running their devices from your home, then you can’t be all that surprised if your energy bills are increasingly expensive. If everyone’s charging their phone, tablet, laptop and so on all day long, then that’ll be a lot of power that your home is consuming. Make sure that everyone in your clan knows that they should be unplugging their devices when they’re not in use or when they’re fully charged, rather than just keeping them on charge all day long. You’ll notice the difference in the cost of your bills.

Working From Home 

Since the coronavirus pandemic has hit, more people than ever before have been working from home. While this has saved people in some areas (such as the costs of traveling to the office), it has also led to an increase in costs in other areas. For example, it could be that you’re being asked to work on your personal computer. There’s nothing wrong with this, exactly, but you might find that your computer needs replacing sooner. And then who pays for the replacement? Since it’s now a work computer, your company should pay. There’ll also be an increase in the cost of your energy bills if your computer is switched on all day. They should pay for that too.

Keep Things Secure 

We’ve talked mostly about reducing the costs of buying and running your devices. But it’s also important to keep things secure. Devices get stolen all the time, especially when out in public. And when you do, you’ll have to open up your wallet and buy another to replace it, unless you have insurance. So make sure that you’re keeping your devices secure no matter where you are. Also, think about your digital security — you’ll pay a lot more than you’d like if you’re hacked, and they get your credit card information.

Open-Source Software

You’ll need to have software on your computer from time to time. After all, your computer can do a lot of amazing things — it’s important to make the most of all that it can do! But as you’ll quickly find out, software can get pretty expensive, pretty quickly. While it’s sometimes worthwhile paying for the software if you know you’re going to be using it again and again, in many cases, you’ll just be curious about what it can do. You won’t want to pay full price if you’ll only use the software on occasion. To save you money, look at cheaper options. A good idea is to look at open-source software, which is free and can be extremely high quality. 

Avoid Mindless Purchases

One of the advantages of technology is that it has made making purchases easier than ever before. However, while that’s a good thing for companies, it’s less good for consumers, at least the ones who are trying to reduce their spending. Online spending can be addictive, and ends up costing a lot of people a significant amount of money. There are a few ways you can get a handle on things, however. One is to remove your card details from your computer. Whenever you want to make a purchase, you’ll have to get your card — and just that process can give you enough time to change your mind. This isn’t explicitly related to reducing your tech expenses, but it will certainly help you to save money.

Final Thoughts

Yes, there’s no doubt that technology has done a lot of good for the world, but cheap? Not automatically. Quite the opposite. As we’ve shown, however, there are plenty of ways to reduce the amount of money that you spend on your tech and software, without compromising any of the qualities or benefits that it brings. 

Staff Writer; Terry Moore

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