Even the biggest technophobe cannot avoid the gizmos and gadgets that surround us every day, from the smart phone to the smart TV to the smart heating system. When someone invents a smart washing machine that can iron, fold and put the washing away, or a smart cooker that will have the evening meal ready, I will be impressed. Until then, I am simply left footing the bill, which seems to escalate every month.
If this sounds like a familiar story, I have assembled the following four tips to get the home tech expenses back under some sort of control.
“Can you pick up some printer cartridges while you’re out?” If that’s a question that makes your heart sink and sends your purse into a cold sweat, you are not alone. Inkjet cartridges can cost a small fortune, and if you have kids printing out school projects that are full of charts and pictures, they don’t seem to last five minutes. The good news is you can get some incredible bargains online. Take a little look at the Printer Ink website for deals that can knock as much as 50 percent off the cost.
Open source software
If you’ve bought a new PC or laptop recently, you’ll know that paying for the equipment is only the start of it. You then need to shell out for all that software for creating documents, spreadsheets, charts and so on. This used to be in the form of CDs that you went out and bought, which then installed the software on your computer, but today, it is all about annual subscriptions that allow you to install your software remotely.
However, there is another way. Open source software can be downloaded for free and does pretty much the same thing. It might lack the bells and whistles of, let’s say, Microsoft Office, but enthusiasts swear by it. It’s certainly worth giving it a go.
On a related subject, are you paying out for antivirus every month, and if so, why? Windows 10 comes with inbuilt antivirus software called Windows Defender. The irony is that the first thing it will do when you fire it up is try to persuade you to buy McAfee. Even if you are running an older operating system that does not have Defender, our old friend open source can come to the rescue once again. Products like AVG are just as effective as McAfee or Norton, but are absolutely free.
There are some fantastic subscription services out there for streaming entertainment. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Google Play Music, the list goes on. And what’s more, they are so cheap – in fact, they are often free for the first few months.
That, at least, was the rationale for you agreeing to hand over your card details originally, but once you have subscribed to all of them, the costs mount up. Do yourself a favour, gather the family together and do a subscriptions audit. You will find so much duplication, you won’t believe it, and you can definitely get access to everything you could possibly need through just one or two of them.