5 Ways Technology Can Save You Money

Overhead view marble counter top with male hand holding cup of coffee with computer keyboard, cell phone, reading glasses, and bagel on plate. Work at home concept.

In this world of instant gratification, technological advancements sure can make life easier. If you use technology correctly, it can also save you a lot of money. Here are some ways technology can save you more than a few bucks.

Smartphone apps

There are a ton of apps available that can save you money. There are apps that will help you monitor your budget, find travel discounts, find the cheapest gas prices, as well as loyalty apps that will help you earn rewards for what you spend. Do a search for these topics in your phone’s app store and start saving!

Doing everything online

All the best deals are online. If you spend time in line at the store buying birthday presents, you’re wasting time, and time is money, so you’re also wasting money. Shop online. If you’re driving to your bank to deposit a check, you’re wasting gas and gas costs money, so you’re again wasting money. Deposit that check with your mobile banking app. If you’re mailing in a check to pay a bill, you’re spending money on checks and postage and that’s also wasting money. Pay that bill online!

Get rid of that landline

We all remember that phone on the wall in the kitchen that had the super long cord that would allow you to talk and walk to the other side of the house. These days, landlines aren’t as popular. Some people like the security and reliability they provide, but they are probably few and far between. But if you’re looking to save a few bucks on something you’re probably not using as much as your cell phone, it may be time to disconnect.

Get a smart thermostat

Some of the more advanced thermostats know when the house is empty and will adjust your heating or AC accordingly. Thanks to GPS, they also can see when you’re heading home and re-adjust the temperature for your arrival. This may sound a little creepy, but it’s also super cool and cost effective.

Cut those cable cords

If you’re still paying for cable or satellite tv, you may as well go outside and light your wallet on fire. With all of the available streaming options out there these days, you can almost get the exact same channels for half the price.

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com

 

4 Ways to Curb Your Excessive Amazon Shopping Habit

amazon-logoIf you’re human you probably enjoy the benefits of an Amazon Prime membership: Free 2-day shipping on tons of products and access to free music, movies, and TV shows are great justifications for a subscription to the online giant. If this describes you and you want to curb this habit, here are few things you can do to make it harder for you to buy things you don’t really need.

Delete the app from your phone

If you have the Amazon app on your phone, you may have perused it many times out of sheer boredom. Sitting in a waiting room or a traffic jam can spur purchases that aren’t exactly wise. By taking the app off your phone or tablet, you’ll be way less likely to make that impulse purchase. If you need to look up a product from your device, use the web browser and don’t login to your account (aka: online window shopping).

Unsubscribe from mailing lists

Are you the type to see a deal you like and immediately buy it? If this is the case, make sure you unsubscribe from Amazon emails. Sometimes those $10-$20 products are too enticing to pass up. The less you see it, the more likely you’ll resist the temptation.

Delete your credit card information

If you’re reading this you’re more than likely an Amazon Prime member and that means you probably have your credit card info saved on the site. This is great for ease of use but it also makes it easier to buy items that are totally not needed. If you want to put a roadblock between you and those purchases, delete that information. Having to input that info every time you want to buy something will hopefully make you change your mind every once in a while.

Create an Amazon Wish List

Now you probably don’t think this is a very valuable bit of advice, but by putting something on a wish list, you’re delaying a purchase. A wish list can help you sort out the things you need, the things you want, and the things you think you want but don’t really care about.

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com

5 Ways to Stop Spending Money

Stop Me on the Open Hand on a White Background.

Give yourself a waiting period

We all make impulse purchases from time to time. One minute you’re harmlessly surfing the internet, the next minute you’re looking at a $100 pocket-size flashlight and before you know it, it’s on your doorstep two days later. The best solution for this problem is to give yourself a mandatory 24-hour waiting period. Often, the purchase won’t seem like such a great idea the next day. Use this method online and in-store. If shopping on sites like Amazon is a problem, you should definitely read this!

Eat at home

Cooking at home is probably easy for a lot of people, but some days you probably don’t feel like cooking and you may instead decide to venture out. If you feel like you’re in the same boat, just track this for one week. Start on Sunday and keep track of all your restaurant receipts for the week. The following Sunday, go to the grocery store and buy enough for a week’s worth of meals. Guaranteed you’ll see a huge difference in your bank account.

Don’t go off your list

When it comes to meals, planning ahead definitely helps when you’re trying to spend less money. Figure out what you want to eat for the week, make a list of what you need to buy, (remember you can use some ingredients for multiple meals) and don’t buy anything you haven’t planned for.

Leave your credit card at home

You may be thinking it’s not responsible to leave your house without some sort of payment, in case of emergency. You’re right, so take your debit card or cash. If you need to buy something, you can use “present money,” as opposed to using a credit card, which is “future money.” You should have a good idea about the money you have, so hopefully this will keep you from spending more than you should.

Borrow before you buy

You can’t ever go wrong with borrowing items from friends and family. Just don’t go overboard. You probably shouldn’t ask your neighbor to borrow his lawnmower every weekend, all summer long. But if your brother has those Marvel Blu-rays you’ve been wanting, watch his copies and save the money.

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com

3 Tips for Saving Money During Cold and Flu Season

A young woman lying on her couchEven if we wash our hands and try our hardest to stay healthy, the reality is that winter and cold and flu season are upon us and often can’t be avoided. Even if you’re not feeling well you don’t have to let your wallet feel the pain too. Here are three tips to help save a few bucks when you’re dealing with a cold.

Buy generics

You may lean toward buying the name brand, and more expensive, over-the-counter cold and flu medicines thinking they will work better. Before you do, compare the ingredients with that of the store brand products. More often than not, you will find that they are identical and the generic brand can save you a great deal.

Try home remedies

When your symptoms first show up and before you rush to the pharmacy, be patient and try the remedies you learned from mom. Sometimes a sore throat can be caused by the change in seasons so first try vitamins, hot tea with honey, or gargling with salt water. You may be able to nip it in the bud before it gets worse and you end up at the doctor.

Clip coupons

Remember the last time you checked out at the pharmacy and received a long sheet of coupons along with your receipt? It may seem annoying at the time, but hold on to them for the future. Saving even the smallest amount when you’re not feeling well can make your illness seem just a little bit better.

Article Source: Wendy Bignon for CUInsight.com

Save Money on Mobile Phone Costs

cell phone charging in your hand

Roughly 70% of U.S. adults have smartphones and many of those have had the same plan for more than 2 years. If you are looking to change your plan in hopes of saving some money, you have quite a bit to learn. Plans have changed significantly and big competitors have surfaced on the scene. Nearly every service is offering free talk and text with the focus solely on data. Here are some tips that can help you save money on mobile costs.

Know your needs

Before you can accurately compare the plans, you have to understand just what you need or you risk overspending on an unnecessary plan. With talk and text being free with most plans, your needs could be better defined as data needs. You know what your current data plan is, but don’t think you have to get the same next time if it’s not working for you. Examine your usage from recent bills, because chances are you are using quite a bit less than you think.

Understand unlimited data

Having unlimited data is a rather pricey option, and for most users it is excessive, given the abundance of free Wi-Fi. However, for those who require data on the go, you need to investigate what ‘unlimited’ means on each plan. Many providers have been known to throttle unlimited users to discourage use. For those who are able to bounce between Wi-Fi for their data fix, this should not be a concern.

Know all the options

There are many more players in the field than there used to be. Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile are still the big dogs, but many smaller service providers are piggybacking on their systems at a fraction of the costs. Services like Ting allow you to create your own plan from scratch and only pay for what you use. Even Google has joined the mobile game offering Project FI, which has the added benefit of being used internationally with no extra cost.

Be wary of add-on plans

Adding monthly cellular services to your plan for other devices can add up fast. Many plans charge a service fee of $15 to $30 per device on top of the data the new device uses. Family plans are available with and without contracts from many carriers with a number of discounts. Some even offer you the chance to choose whether you want to share data or provide an allotment based on each member’s usage habits.

Know before you go – do your research, be prepared, and look for ways to save money.

Article Source: Tyler Atwell for CUInsight.com

5 Tips to Lowering Your Energy Bill this Winter

Close up of home heating thermostat with partial utility bill on wall.

It may officially be a couple weeks away, but winter is coming – and with it come extra expenses on keeping warm. A large part of the country will be experiencing lower than average temperatures this winter, but we can all save money by taking the time now to prepare and weatherproof. Consider these tips to maximize your savings before the snow starts falling.

Keep it cool.

When you get home, leave the sweater on, grab a blanket or light a fire in the fireplace to save some real money. You can save 5% on heating costs for every degree you drop your thermostat in the 60-70 degree range, according to the California Energy Commission’s Consumer Energy Center.

Check for drafts.

The best way to lower your winter energy bill is to reseal your home to keep the cold out. By insulating windows, installing window coverings, and sealing drafts around chimneys, cabinets, and closets, you can find the largest return that doesn’t require any lifestyle changes.

Have your furnace inspected.

The last thing you want is for your heat to go out in the middle of the winter, though arguably you would save quite a bit of money. In most markets you can spend around $100 to get your system inspected by a professional who can identify any duct leaks, intake blockages, mechanical failings, electronic failings and more.

Harness the sun.

At night you should have your blinds and thick curtains closed to prevent the escape of heat, but in the mornings open them up to let in as much sunlight and free, natural heat as possible.

Watch your increased waste.

For most of us, winter means we are spending more time inside. We escape the cold weather with the assistance of our electronics. Though, you should be mindful of all of those idle gadgets as they could be eating up a significant amount of power. The EPA estimates that idle gadgets waste more than 100 billion kilowatt hours of electricity annually, costing consumers $10 billion a year. Make sure you unplug every device that you aren’t actively using to keep the cost low.

Article Source: Tyler Atwell for CUInsight.com, https://www.cuinsight.com/5-tips-lowering-energy-bill-winter.html