The cost of the technology you use could add up to a serious chunk of change. With add-ons and applications, you may be choosing to pay for a bunch of small features that put a big dent in your budget.
Jordan Amin, former head of the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission, suggests keeping a close eye on these areas of technology spending.
- Cable, phone and Internet. When you pay for a bundle package, you may be paying more for features you don’t need. You can cancel these packages and instead opt for Internet only. Then use Netflix, Apple TV and Chromecast for cheaper entertainment.
- Devices galore. Research firm NPD Group found that the average household contains 5.7 Internet-connected devices. The overlap in these devices’ features, such as a landline and a mobile phone, means paying for multiple devices that do the same thing. You can cut back on devices and free up some cash.
- Application insanity. Mobile apps can offer distracting fun, but they can drain your devices’ batteries, and also your budget with “in-app” charges. These come from making purchases inside the apps, often with a single click. Watch out for charges and be aware that your children may be making in-app purchases without your knowledge.
- Security solutions. Companies are packing their products with security software, but the problem is “a lot of the security software being sold is just a placebo,” says Rob Enderle, head of Enderle Group. Often, the extra software is expensive and frustrating. Save time and money with private browsing, which keeps what you do online on your computer’s hard drive.
- Obsolete technology. You probably have a lot of extras added onto your computer that you don’t need. Don’t get stuck paying for all those gizmos bundled on your computer. Do you really need optical disks, Bluetooth, serial and parallel ports anymore? Such features suggest the computer may be outmoded and a waste of money.
— Adapted from “Are Technology Costs Killing Your Budget?” Richard Satran, U.S. News & World Report.
By the numbers
Americans spend the equivalent of 17% of their monthly mortgage or rent on technology, according to a study by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants released last year.