Most everyone has at least one computer these days. They connect us to friends, family, and the whole world in addition to provide access to any information we seek. While computers can cost a pretty penny to buy, accessorize, and hook up, they can also help us save money. Yes, you heard right — computers can help us to save money and at the very least, spend more wisely. I mean, aren't you using your computer right now reading about ways to save money? Here are some more ways computers can help us live more frugally.
1. Computers Can Make You a Wiser Shopper
Computers enable us to shop more wisely by helping us learn about products and compare prices among stores. A quick search will reveal that there's a forum for just about anything you want to buy these days, where enthusiasts will discuss, review, and debate the value of each feature that marketers try to pitch to us. As better-informed, empowered consumers, we spend more prudently because we are able to more easily figure out whether a pricer product is worth the cost to us.
Once we do that initial fact-finding, we can also locate online shopping sites where prices may be cheaper than at brick and mortar stores. By shopping online, we are at least saving the cost of gasoline to get us to and from a physical store. Furthermore, we are less likely to start browsing around the store, a place that marketers spend billions of dollars decorating in an effort to get us to spend even more.
There are also a plethora of websites where consumers can procure money-saving coupons to purchase virtually anything at a discounted price, from groceries to electronics to clothing.
Even if you can't find any coupons, there are sites that will sell you discounted gift cards for major retailers. This is an easy way to save because you are paying for these gift cards at less than face value, then using them to buy something worth the full amount. What's more, some websites are able to deliver the electronic cards to you instantly through email, allowing you to buy whatever you were going to purchase right away. Couple that with using cashback sites to log your purchase transaction to get cashback at a later date and the savings could be substantial.
2. Computers Help You Keep In Touch With Others For Free
Staying connected to friends and family used to be pricey but email has made writing to friends and family both immediate and free. With the advent of Facebook and other social media websites, we can remain in contact with far-away friends and family as often as we wish for absolutely no cost.
We can make free phone calls with Google Voice and even call or video chat with others by joining a free service like Skype. iPhone users have it even easier because of services like FaceTime. I call my mom almost every day and we can talk about even the most minute details of our lives even though we are living halfway across the world. Tablets, phones, and iPads all have a video camera built-in. Even if you have to buy one for a desktop, these devices are available at low prices and make seeing and hearing our loved ones possible for far less than long-distance charges or the cost of gasoline for the car or airfare.
3. Computers Offer Inexpensive Entertainment
Rather than paying for cable or satellite television, you can watch many shows and movies right on your computer. Many television networks allow you to watch recent episodes of their programs on their websites. Hulu.com is a low-cost service that provides a wide selection of television shows, past and present.
Netflix delivers a seemingly unlimited selection of movies and television shows with a small monthly fee. Ditto with Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, etc.
The best part is that because it costs the same whether you watch one movie or a million, you can start any show and see if you like it without worry that you would waste a dime.
4. Computers Replaces The Need For Postages
In addition to the stamps, you save by not mailing letters, you may never need to mail a gift again. Many online shopping sites offer free shipping — so you can have a gift delivered directly to its recipient without incurring an additional cent getting it there.
Online bill pay is another way to save on postage. Even with the seemingly cheap cost of sending mail, it doesn’t take mailing many bills to add up to several dollars each month. Most businesses and utilities that send you bills provide you the option of paying directly from their website. Sometimes you can even use your credit card to pay, allowing you to rack up reward points. Likewise, most banks have a bill-paying service that allows you to pay bills online directly from your checking account.
The nice thing about paying your bills online is that there's always a log of the transactions, allowing you to keep track of which bills are paid, and when.
5. Computers Open Up a Wide Selection of Money-Saving Services
Keep in mind the myriad of programs and services that are available to help you do anything from making a will to doing your taxes more affordably than hiring a professional. These are worth looking into if your needs are fairly straightforward and uncomplicated.
Most people's taxes, for example, are easily filed via TurboTax and H&R Block. In fact, most people not only save money using those online sites but they may save time That's because many people will spend less time using the online platforms to get their taxes done than trying to meet with a CPA to get him/her to file taxes.
As much of a money-pit as a computer can be with all the programs and add-ons available, it can also be a source of savings. Think of your computer as your economizing appliance and you’ll easily recognize many opportunities for saving in numerous areas of your life.
You are already well on your way by reading about money-saving tips though. Just keep research and learning. Pretty soon, you'll be an expert at saving money.