Technology has improved our lives in so many ways. We have access to all of humanity’s collective knowledge, can watch just about every movie and TV show ever created, and can trade with people from all over the world using the tiny pocket-sized computers that we carry around with us every day.
We use technology for almost everything in our lives, from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed. Many of us have replaced our alarm clocks with smartphones, use electric toothbrushes, wear fitness trackers, and do the majority of our work from computers.
But we forget that we can also use this same technology to help us save money. This is actually something that we should all be taking advantage of, particularly given that research conducted on both sides of the Atlantic has shown that high proportions of both Brits and Americans don’t have enough savings to cover emergencies.
Whether you’re one of these people or not, here are some easy ways in which you can use technology to help you save money.
Cheap and Free Tech-Based Alternatives
The internet and other technologies have provided numerous free and cheap alternatives to common products. For example, making international calls abroad to friends, colleagues and loved ones who are in other countries could cost you a fortune, even if you talked for just a few minutes.
VoIP services like Skype, FaceTime, and Zoom have all changed this. Speaking to people over the internet is now free, no matter whether they’re in the next room or on a completely different continent.
There are also tech alternatives to expensive TV packages, with streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video offering low-cost solutions for streaming as many movies and shows as you want. There are also dozens of free services too, including PokerStars TV, YouTube, and Crunchyroll, each of which offers its own unique content that you can stream to your TV, smartphone, or tablet.
Compare Prices for Almost Anything
Comparing prices used to be a long-winded and complicated process. You’d schlep from store to store or have to call several different businesses to get prices or request quotes before you could compare the pros and cons of each.
The internet has changed this. It’s now much easier to compare prices for almost anything, from the groceries you eat to the mortgage you use to buy your house with.
Services like Which? and Shelf Scraper can be used to compare the prices of basic food items on supermarket shelves, while Google Shopping and PriceRunner can help with just about any other physical product you want to buy.
You can also compare the cost of financial products, including insurance, loans, credit cards, and mortgages using tools like NerdWallet and Insurify in the US and MoneySuperMarket in the UK.
Many of these comparison services will also let you compare the interest rates on savings accounts offered by banks and the fees charged by investment brokers. This latter service helped create a price war that has led to companies like Robinhood and Freetrade offering commission-free trading.
Stop Searching for Coupons
It’s certainly no secret that coupons and vouchers can help us save money when we shop online and offline. But until recently, this required that you spend time searching for the most recent coupons and try different ones to see if they worked.
This was frustrating on its own, but it was made worse by many coupon sites being out of date, rendering your search fruitless.
Thankfully, technology has stepped in to help us with this too. A browser extension called Honey can do all of the heavy lifting for you. It will sit quietly in the background until you head to the checkout page of an ecommerce site. Once you’ve added everything to your cart, it will try all of the different known coupon codes for the site to see which one works.
It will apply the biggest savings first to maximize the amount you get knocked off your bill, but if that doesn’t work, it will try other options too.