10 great ways to use technology to save money
Technology has changed the world in so many profound ways that it’s literally impossible to ignore, but nevertheless it can sometimes feel like the tech market has been designed without much thought given to the financial realities of normal people. .
When phone prices hit four-figure sums and the latest TVs can cost tens of thousands in various currencies, it can be hard to remember that there are many pieces of technology and software out there that could actually help you save money.
That might mean long-term, through an investment that saves you smaller sums over time, or it might simply mean using technology in new ways to circumvent costs. We did some addition and thought a lot to come up with 10 great ways you could save money using technology.
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1. Get yourself a savings app
The good thing about trying to save money with the help of your technology is that you’re not alone: there are millions of other people trying to do the same thing. That means there are also a wide variety of challenging banks and apps dedicated to making it easy to control your money.
In the UK, you may want to sign up with a smaller bank like Monzo or Starling, with apps that feel easier to use and make it a matter of taps to divide your money into savings and other divisions. They’ll also lay out your spending trends more clearly so you can keep track of what you’re spending your money on.
Or you may want to track your spending through a savings app like Plum or Yolt to get detailed breakdowns over time, as to where you could tighten your belt. There are plenty of pieces of software that can help .
2. Get some smart plugs
However, if you’re interested in talking about hardware, don’t worry, there are plenty of options too. Our first pick would be smart plugs , either a couple of key things like your TV or air conditioner, or connected to every outlet in your house to give you full control.
The smarter your home setup, the easier it is to save money. By installing smart plugs, you’ll be able to remotely turn things on and off when needed, even if you’re not physically there to do it. Plus, depending on the models you buy, you can also set automated schedules and use voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa to control your outlets. It will make the world your oyster when it comes to saving energy in your home.
3. Consider a smart thermostat
Another big anxiety for many homeowners is the arrival of monthly energy bills, especially in the winter months when heating is a necessity. Fortunately, more and more businesses have started adopting smart thermostats that allow you much more direct control over your home’s heating and almost always help you save money.
We’re particular fans of Nest’s latest thermostat , but there are a variety of great options on the market. Plus, if you want even more precise control, there are smart radiator controls you can install, to let you go room by room to make sure your home is heating efficiently, saving as much as you can by cutting back on that excess.
4. Get rid of your gym membership
Another classic monthly expense for many people, especially if they live in a city, is a gym membership. For some, that might be one that they actually use enough each month to make the cost per visit worth it, but for many people that’s not the case. If you’re having a hard time getting to the gym but still want to try working out, you may be able to buy something cheaper in the long run to use in your own home.
That doesn’t have to mean outrageously expensive gear like a Peloton bike or rowing machine. For example, right now we’re having a lot of fun using Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure for Switch, which has a great new type of resistance controller that lets you crouch, squeeze, and move throughout the game. It’s a great way to stay active at a low cost.
You might prefer a Just Dance title, or even find yoga videos to follow on YouTube, but either way there are plenty of options for working out at home.
5. Get a coffee machine
If you’re anything like us, chances are good that caffeine is a big part of your daily routine whether you like it or not. Many of us need at least one morning cup of Joe to get us going, but if you buy it at a cafe or chain, you’re under no illusions about how expensive it can get over time.
Buying a coffee machine for your home will not give you free coffees; you’ll still have to buy the beans or pods and milk, but it’s still much cheaper over time compared to coffees bought away from home. Plus, you might be surprised at how well you’ll be able to tune your machine to your exact tastes. Get a portable mug and you can still enjoy great coffee outdoors too.
6. Decorate the rest of your kitchen
If you pick up a coffee machine and start saving on your drinks there, you might start looking around the rest of your kitchen and wonder if you could find more efficient versions of appliances. The answer is almost certainly that you could.
Take your fridge: Trade it in for a smarter fridge and you might be able to peek inside your phone to check what you need to eat soon and what’s about to expire.
Or maybe your dishwasher is old and takes ages to run, consuming large amounts of water without even cleaning all of it effectively. Smart dishwashers can run programs according to what is needed and are much more efficient in their use of water.
Even your oven could be replaced with one that uses your energy more intelligently, to ensure that your food not only cooks faster and more evenly, but uses less electricity in the process.
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7. Let smart bulbs light the way
Another classic way to get a little more energy efficient in your home, and therefore save some money each month, is to replace your old light bulbs with new, energy efficient versions. These could be eco-friendly bulbs or LED lights, but our personal choice would be to replace them with smart bulbs.
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These are usually LED, so you still get huge energy savings compared to old bulbs, but the added smarts mean you benefit from a wide range of features too. This could mean you can light them any color you like, set routines for them, or have them gradually wake you up in the morning. Being able to turn them on and off from your phone, even if you’re not home (with certain models) is just amazing and ensures you’ll never lose money by not being able to turn off a light again.
8. Invest in a leak detector
When it comes to water damage, you’re unlikely to spend money on it often, but if you have to, it’s probably going to be a ruinous amount. If you have a serious leak that isn’t caught early, you could be facing a large repair bill. That’s why we think leak detectors are a no-brainer in waterworks.
Several smart home systems offer leak detectors as part of their ranges, and we think they’re sensible. Just place one where you’re worried about a leak, and if it detects water, it’ll let you know via notifications. It is an early warning system that could save you enormous cost, as much as it could never find any real use.
9. Grab a battery charger
For our penultimate pick, we have a bit of lo-fi. Lithium-ion batteries may have become the standard for almost any smartphone and many devices, but the reality is that somewhere in your house there are probably still things that run on batteries. It could be your TV remote, your Xbox controller, or something else, but replacing those batteries gets expensive fast.
Rechargeable batteries have their critics – you may find they don’t last as long as regular batteries, for example – but they’re certainly a great way to save money. Buying your own charger, like the Duracell example above, will mean you can reuse your batteries to your heart’s content, rather than running out of charge and having to go to the store.
10. Use a few key extensions
Our final selection contains some tips that we use all the time in everyday life. There are plenty of browser extensions that can be very useful if you’re a heavy online shopper, and who isn’t these days?
First, there’s Honey , an extension that checks every time you make an online purchase to make sure there aren’t any coupon codes you might be using to lower the overall price. It’s automatic and from time to time it will just save you money without any effort; that’s a big package in our books.
Next up is Keepa . This little extension is perfect for Amazon users. It adds a little graph to each Amazon listing you see in your browser of choice, which simply shows you the item’s price history over a set period of time. That way, you can be sure that the reduction they offer you is really good in the first place.
Finally, the Quidco cashback system offers another easy extension that we like. It effectively sets a reminder to check every time you buy something that you’re not missing out on the refund by not letting Quidco know about it. That way you can use the service without having to check your own site all the time.