How Technology Can Help You Trim Your Expenses

Link: The Family Finance Workshop

Did you purchase some new technology gadgets last holiday season? If so, you’re not alone! American consumers spent over $33 billion on tech products during the 2014 holiday season! According to CEA 21st Holiday Forecast report, more than half of Americans purchased tech products during the holidays.

And according to a Morgan Stanley study, U.S. households spent an average of $444 on Apple products alone in 2014.

Spending is likely to keep increasing as more must-have tech products appear on the market. Purchasing the latest gadgets is tempting.

However, you can avoid letting technology become a drain on your finances by using these smart tips to use that technology to save money:

1. Compare prices online with shopping sites and apps. You can save on clothes, household items, books, movies, and even on some groceries by shopping online. Comparing prices between different websites, waiting for your desired products to go on sale, and using coupons to order household items in bulk are great ways to save money.

  • Wait until Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) to buy expensive items like brand name clothes, electronics, or furniture.
     
  • Take your Smartphone when you go shopping so you can easily look up the prices offered by different retailers.

2. Use the Internet to find free or gently used items. Check eBay, Craigslist, or local Facebook groups to find items you need at a low price. You might even be able to find your items for free!

3. Technology can help you reduce your utility bills. If your appliances are outdated, replace them with newer ones. The Energy Star label indicates that an appliance is designed to use less energy.

  • Replacing appliances is costly but you can start with small things, such as light bulbs.
     
  • Consider using a smart thermostat to keep a close eye on the temperature inside your home and reduce your heating and cooling bills.

4. How much do you spend on cable and movie rentals on a monthly basis? You can easily reduce these expenses by subscribing to online video streaming services instead.

  • There are several options available to you, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and HBO Go. These services give you the possibility to stream movies and catch up on your shows for a small monthly fee.

5. Avoid paying late fees on your bills, loans, or credit card payments. Sign up for due date email alerts from your utility or financial products providers.

  • If you don’t have the option to sign up for email alerts, set some reminders on your laptop, Smartphone, or via your email service provider.

6. Adopt online banking. This service gives you the possibility to check your balance, transfer money, and pay bills by simply logging into a secure website.

  • Most banking institutions offer this service. Use online banking to keep track of how much you spend, look for recurring expenses you could eliminate, and regularly transfer funds to your savings account.

Technology makes it very easy to overspend due to the convenience of online shopping and the temptation to purchase the latest tech gadgets. However, the internet and tech devices can be powerful resources in your efforts to become a smarter shopper and to stay in control of your finances and spending.

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