We live in the digital age. Some call it the future. And while, as a culture, we disagree on a lot, we can all agree on this: living in the future is pretty cool. Technological advances have made our lives much simpler…and cheaper! It’s true that all of the technology we love so much requires at least an initial investment but that investment more than pays for itself over the lifetime of the product. Need some proof? Consider the following examples.
When we were younger, we had to pay for phone, internet, and television services separately. Today many of these companies have merged due to the fact that the signals for these services use the same lines and access points for traveling. DSL, for example, runs through phone lines and phones can operate over IP. Even satellite providers have expanded their offerings to include internet and extended entertainment packages. This means that when you shop for great deals on Direct TV you can also set up your phone and internet services together to save some money.
Very few commercials are actually good. Even fewer people want to watch those commercials even when they are good. Enter: the DVR, the machine that allows you to skip the commercials whenever you want to. In addition to skipping the commercials, DVRs let us rewind and pause live television which is an incredibly helpful since, when you skip the commercials, you bypass the built in restroom and snack breaks that commercials provide.
Raise your hand if you remember having to plan your life around the shows and movies you wanted to see on television (or had to pray really hard to the VCR gods that your machine would record on time and the right channel)! Being able to watch whatever you want whenever you want it for a minimal price point is perhaps one of the best parts about living in the twenty first century. Streaming services are like the cool older brother or sister of the DVR. Why? Because we no longer have to commit ourselves to our television sets to watch our favorite form of entertainment. We can get streaming media on phones wherever we have a decent signal. No more purchasing individual movies, CDs/tapes, etc. Simply pay your minimal streaming fee each month and consume all of the entertainment you want.
There is a long running joke that every single problem presented on Seinfeld could have been solved if they had cellular or smart phones. “Which theater are we meeting at?” is no longer the major issue it was for our parents. We can call each other from the store and ask what kind of pickles our friends wanted. Better yet, we can take photos of the different pickle jars, send them to our friends, and ask them which type they want. We don’t have to buy a product, hope it’s great and then try to find the time to return it if it isn’t. We can use our phones to price check things before we purchase them or get price-matching discounts.
Smart Security Systems
These are security systems that monitor your family’s energy usage and then adjust the power supply to your home accordingly. For example, these systems know when everybody has left for work/school and will turn off power to the house (save for a few essential appliances). This can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year on utility costs. You can also communicate with them via your smart phone to make adjustments as needed.
Kindle/eReader books are exponentially cheaper than paper-based books. Moreover, libraries now lend books in kindle and eReader formats as well. This reduces the number of trips you have to make to the library (already considered a major source of savigns). You’ll spend less on gas, parking, or public transportation costs. The amount you’ll save in gas, parking, and transit costs should more than pay for the eReader and digital books you’ll download.
Free apps are one of the best ways to satisfy your shopping need without actually spending any money. More importantly, there are apps that you can download that will help you literally save money. For example, banking apps that transfer any change in your checking account to your savings account so that you start each day with a rounded dollar balance. There are apps that will give you money for shopping, surfing the web, etc. You can save that money and put it into your savings accounts or use it to reduce the cost of future purchases.
There are so many ways that technology has improved our daily lives. These are just a few of them.