With the highest inflation in 40 years, we’re paying more for just about everything these days. Much more.
From rising gas and grocery costs to computers and cars, our wallets are being stretched and many economists are predicting that we may be feeling the pinch for some time to come.
And you can also add utility bills to this list, with homeowners paying 25.1% and 6.5% more for natural gas and electricity, respectively, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. .
The good news is that technology can actually save you money, both in the short and long term.
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smart apps that provide free services (that you would otherwise pay for), shopping in online marketplaces opposed to retail, and appliances that can lower your energy bills, here are a few random examples of technologies that can relieve a part of the pressure.
Save on your wireless bill
Did you know you can use your phone or tablet to make calls and send texts for free?
TextNow (iOS, Android) even gives you an incoming phone number (based on the city of your choice). It’s like a second line or “burner” number on your existing smartphone.
All calls and texts are free over Wi-Fi, but TextNow also offers a SIM card for just 99 cents, and then cell service is also free for calls and texts (supported by ads). Data plans start at just $8.99/month.
Reduce your gas costs
Those looking to save money on gas, on the other hand, should download and install apps like GasBuddy or Nexit, both of which can find the lowest prices on fuel, and Nexit is also an app. navigation to guide you to your destination. road trips.
Book a hotel room for less
Book a hotel for a summer getaway? My two favorite apps, which I use together for all bookings, are Hotels.com and Pruvo.
In addition to a “secret price” feature to provide members with lower prices, Hotels.com’s rewards program includes a “stay 10 nights get the next one free” offer. You can’t beat it.
Pruvo, on the other hand, can help you find a better price for your hotel – after you’ve booked it. That is, use any app or site you like to book the hotel, then simply forward the confirmation email to [email protected] If the hotel drops the room rate — a very common occurrence, according to Pruvo — you’ll be notified of how much you’ll save and instructed how to cancel the original reservation and rebook at the lower rate. The only catch is that you need to be able to cancel your room to begin with.
Use online marketplaces, classified ads
Rather than paying retail prices, when was the last time you shopped online on a peer-to-peer marketplace or online classifieds site?
You might be surprised how much lower the costs are, both for new items and those that are “already loved”.
“On eBay, you have the option of buying used and refurbished items that are often significantly cheaper than new items,” says Bradford Shellhammer, Vice President of Buyer Experience at eBay. “In fact, in a recent study, 73% of people said they bought second-hand for this reason.”
Shellhammer says eBay offers Certified Refurbished (authenticity guaranteed) products, so buyers “can have confidence in the items they buy, [plus] eBay also offers different shipping options, including free local pickup to give buyers the best options to get what they want, at the best overall price possible.
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By participating in the circular economy, “consumers can also help the environment by reducing waste and extending the life cycle of goods that would otherwise end up in landfills,” adds Shellhammer.
Online classifieds sites – such as Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and NextDoor – are also great for buying goods cheaply as well as selling unwanted items, putting money in your pocket (and decluttering your home in the process).
If you must buy retail, consider “cash back” apps, coupon sites, and browser extensions that can all help you keep more of your own money.
Reduce home energy costs
Did you peek through your fingers – like watching a horror movie – when you opened your last utility bill? It’s also scary.
Electricity and gas costs are skyrocketing, but there are some things you can do, from unplugging appliances when not in use (to reduce “vampire power”) to investing into smart plugs (to program timers and electricity usage schedules) to boost your home’s energy with solar panels.
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One of the smartest investments you can make is a Sense home energy monitor ($299), a small device that you plug into your home’s electrical panel (operated by an electrician), which then gives you information in real time on how much power each of your devices are consuming – from light bulbs and microwaves to set-top boxes and major appliances.
“It can be difficult for homeowners to manage their home’s energy because your monthly bill doesn’t give you much information about how, when, or where the electricity is used,” says Mike Phillips, CEO and co-founder of Sense. .
“For example, more than 20% of the electricity used in your home goes to things you think are off,” adds Phillips. “Whether you call it vampire power or standby power, these devices draw electricity even when they’re idle.”
Sense lets you see your monthly spending and where you’re headed, to avoid surprises, and it’s compatible with many smart devices like Philips HUE lights and TP-Link smart plugs, to help you better control ( and thus reduce ) energy consumption.
The Sense app also lets you set alerts, like being notified if you left the straightener on for more than an hour, which could also be dangerous.
Reuse old technology
Do you have aging gadgets lying around? There are free apps that can make it a different and useful home device.
- The Presence app can turn an old iPhone, iPad or Android device into a Wi-Fi security camera. Log into Presence on your new phone and you can see what’s going on at home when you’re away (including what your pets do).
- With the universal remote or the SURE app, your old phone or tablet can act as a universal remote for many smart TVs.
- Apps like Alarm Clock for Me (for Apple devices) or Early Rise Alarm Clock (for Android) turn an old tablet into an alarm clock for your nightstand.
Finally, subscribing to video streaming services can really add up – be it Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ or Apple TV+, to name a few – but consider free AVOD services, which stand for “ad-supported video on demand” content.
Some of the most popular options include Vudu, Tubi, Roku Channel, and IMDb TV, as well as YouTube, Crackle, and Popcornflix – each of which offers thousands of episodes of TV shows and movies for free – as long as you’re ready. to sit down. some advertisements.
The library is open
Book lovers can also save a bundle. Rather than spending $10 to $15 for each ebook or paperback, or $25 for a hardcover, why not borrow books for free from your local library?
Apps like Libby by OverDrive make it a snap. All you need is a library card and a device to play the content.
“One of the best ideas for all readers is to find out what digital services are available at their local public library 24/7,” says Steve Potash, Founder and CEO of OverDrive. “Libby, the library reading app, is the gateway to a free, lifetime supply of the most popular ebooks and audiobooks for readers of all ages and interests.”