If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you absolutely love tech. Perhaps you love it a little too much. The need to have every kind of device offering every kind of convenience can be a problem. What’s more, many of us are constantly looking forward to the latest release, as incremental as it might be compared to the last model. It can all weigh way too heavily on our budget. For that reason, it’s time to take a step away from all the screens, take a deep breath, and look at the little and large ways we can save on tech in the home.
Besides being excited about new hardware, the most common reason that we spend on brand new devices is that our older ones are no longer up to scratch. Wear and tear will happen to everything, including digital technology; so there’s no avoiding that. However, you can save money by preserving the life of your devices for as long as possible. Essential routine maintenance for your PC, for instance, will include the clearing of dust using compressed air and the improving of fans to prevent the system from becoming prone to overheating. What’s more, you should always invest in a surge protector. All too often, a freak surge of electricity will fry entire systems, necessitating a complete replacement.
Besides the devices themselves, what can you do about all those accessories? There’s no doubt that extras like chargers, mice, keyboards, speakers, and the like all tend to go before the device they’re meant to be paired with. However, rather than replacing these accessories with brand new ones direct from the device’s manufacturer, you might want to consider what other options there are. For instance, when it comes to mobile devices, some third-party accessories can work just as well (though perhaps you shouldn’t use third-party chargers.) Otherwise, you should look into pre-owned or refurbished equipment when you need to replace existing tech. Naturally, don’t forget to check whether or not any broken device or equipment is covered by your warranty before you pay for a replacement.
You could be saving a fortune on all the software that you’re buying for your computer or mobile device. In some cases, you may be more than willing to pay the premium price for software that’s of a higher quality than any of its competitors. For instance, you shouldn’t really risk it by relying only on free anti-malware software when the protection provided by premium packages is much more effective. However, for just about everything else, there are free open-source alternatives worth considering. Online software libraries have all kinds of free software, from word processors to digital image editors to budgeting software and more. If you’re about to fork out for a new software package, check to see if there’s much difference between it and the free option.
Not as many homes have a printer as they once did because digital storage is the way ahead. However, if you run a home business or simply like to have physical copies on hand, you should look at the ways you can save on your printing too. In particular, you would want to save on printing supplies. Instead of buying at the retail stores, look at supply stores for cheaper supplies like Epson ink cartridges, paper, and toner. What’s more, you should consider refillable ink cartridges instead of the disposable kind. However, if you are using the disposable kind, you might be able to trade in the empty ink cartridges at your local craft or printing store for a little cash back.
All the devices you buy nowadays are likely to come with a warranty. This is to cover the costs of repair and replacement should anything be wrong with it. In most cases, of course, they don’t cover accidental damage caused by the owner, though you can pay more for it and often should when it comes to portable devices. However, what you shouldn’t be as ready to pay for is the extended warranty. These do as the name suggests, extending your warranty beyond the term of the original. However, the costs of extended warranties very rarely match up with how much it would actually cost to repair the device. After all, by the time the initial warranty runs out, the device isn’t quite as new, which means it will be much cheaper to fix. It’s worth eating the costs of repairs rather than paying for extended warranties.
This isn’t really a tech cost in and of itself. Rather, it’s a new financial habit (and a bad one at that) that has become commonplace thanks to tech. PCs, gaming consoles, mobile devices, and even TVs have all made it easier to sign up for subscription services. If you have your financial information saved on your device, you could be a single thumb press away from signing a credit agreement with a service; whether it’s an exercise app, a digital TV and movie service, an online game subscription or something else. It’s way too easy to set it and forget it. Thankfully, there are apps that can comb through your subscription services and remind you when to cancel them. You should take a look at your past bank statements to see if you can identify any costs that you might otherwise miss.
Patience Pays Off
The launch event of the latest Apple product or the latest Nvidia line of graphics cards might be intensely exciting, but we can all agree that buying a brand-new product is rarely the most financially sensible move. Try to remove yourself from the hype, even if you genuinely want that new product. Instead, use price alert sites that can tell you about price drops so that you can buy that highly coveted gadget when it’s cheaper.
Dig for Discounts
When you’re looking for a device, component or accessory that isn’t exactly new, it means you could potentially save even more off it if you know where to look. Although you can go digging for discounts yourself, there are also apps that can do the work for you. Discount-hunting extensions can be installed on your browser such that when you’re shopping online for a piece of tech, it can search through a massive database of discounts and vouchers and then immediately apply it to your purchases. The process is automatic; so if there is a discount somewhere out there, these apps will attach it. With the number of discounts and the help these apps provide, none of us should really be paying full price for a single thing anymore.
Too often, we treat our technology as disposables. We are all very used to the idea that tech depreciates as soon as you buy it. Give it a couple of years and that brand new fancy tablet you have might not even be worth half of its initial worth. However, that doesn’t mean we should simply throw it away. Regardless of its condition, you can find a new home for your tech. Selling old PCs, smartphones, and tablets adds a little cash to your pocket. It might not be much but it’s a lot more than the zero you would get if you simply trash it instead.
Are you getting to the point where you can’t justify new tech purchases simply because they would get in the way of your financial security? If you have real trouble controlling your spending habits, then it might be time to start having a budget. Budgeting apps make it easier than ever to help you have a total overview of your finances so that you can start splitting your money to make sure it is going where it needs to. What’s more, the simple act of calculating and following a budget makes you much more aware of your spending habits. Although you would be half-unconsciously making purchases, you’ll be more active in the decision of when to buy and when not to.
If you really want to cut your tech costs, then it might be time to seriously think about how much of your life is dominated by screens. Even those who truly love technology can admit that it can be unhealthy. Start looking at ways you can spend time away from the screen. It might be a good idea to stop following blogs, newsletters, and social media accounts that constantly share the news about the latest and greatest in the tech world, less you get caught up in the hype again. It’s possible to love tech but ensure that your life has a healthy balance of screen time.