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  • Writer's pictureBurton Kelso, Tech Expert

How Do I Stop Wasting Money on Unnecessary Technology?

One of the most frustrating things I see as a tech expert is the many ways people waste money on computers and technology. Too many people believe all of the myths and advertisements that are forever stressing that you always need to get the latest and greatest technology and gadgets. When you shop for your tech gear online and in brick-and-mortar shops, there's always that push for you to get the extended warranty, that extra battery charger, and that fancy cover for your phone or tablet. Heck, I've seen extended warranties offered on check tech items for as low as $20. So how can you save money when it comes to technology in your life? Check some of my tips that will help you keep a little more money in your pocket.

1. Don’t fall victim to the salesperson's pitch. When you purchase new tech such as a TV, stereo, fitness device, computer, or smart device, the salesperson will always try to sell you an extended warranty. Extended warranties are huge moneymakers for stores, but in most cases, you don't need them. If you're going to have issues with a tech device, it will occur in the first year ... when the manufacturer's warranty is still covering the device. Most of you don't know this, but most tech items and gadgets come with a 1-year warranty that covers defects with the equipment. Sometimes that warranty can extend out to two to three years. Another thing you have to watch out for is extended warranties. They may not give you the comprehensive coverage you're looking for. If you're looking to get an extended warranty for your devices, consider purchasing one directly from the manufacturer (if they offer one) rather than a reseller. Also, some credit card companies offer warranties for your tech devices so check with your credit card company to see if they will cover that new tech device.

2. That new technology you just purchased will NOT be obsolete next year. About 15 years, ago technology was moving so fast that newer technology would be out of date within 18 months. That's not the case anymore. With a shift to cloud computing, computers, and laptops have a life expectancy of 8-10 years, and smartphones and tablets last 5-7 years. Most tech products are pretty sturdy and will last a long time ... as long as you take care of them. That means you need to baby those tech items. As long as you update your device software on a regular basis and get protective cases for your devices you can hang on to them.

3. Those in-app purchases will kill you. Computer, console, and smart device gaming and programs have changed in a major way over the years. Software manufacturers have figured out they can make a little extra money by providing games and programs for free, then offering in-app purchases to enhance the software. Fortnite has made a killing at this with users purchasing V-Bucks to advance levels to help stay competitive with the gaming community. Microsoft includes a free version of Microsoft Office to view documents, but you have to pay extra to use the full version. Same thing with some free anti-virus programs. If you download a program that is advertised as free and you start to get alerts that you need to pay a fee, ignore it. It might take you longer to beat that game or to complete your business task, but it's better than being nickel and dimed to death. If all else fails, find another game or program that is really free.

4. Yes, your old software will work with that new computer. When you purchase a new computer, chances are the salesperson is insisting that you need to get the latest version of your productivity software. Well, a new computer doesn't mean you have to get new software. I'm always stressing to people that they need to hold onto those software product keys and old software DVDs. Why? Well, when you get a new computer, in most cases you can reload your old software. Lost your DVD? Well, you can download the software from the manufacturer's website. Same thing for the software for that old printer.

5. Wow! You need a new computer or device ... when you just need to update the software. Folks, many of you are notorious for not downloading updates for your operating system. Old operating system software for your computers and smart devices doesn't mean you need to get gadgets. To renew the life of those devices, just download the latest free OS updates and save your money. Microsoft and Apple are making the lifespan of software shorter. Just remember, just because you can't download the latest OS updates doesn't mean your computer is dead. You probably have 3-4 years after a new OS release to use that computer.

6. There are free versions of your software. Feeling a slave to expensive software? There are a ton of free alternatives. Tired of paying for anti-virus software, Windows users have Windows Defender which is free and included with Windows. Macintosh users have Xprotect which is also included. If you're tired of paying for Office 365, consider switching to free Google Docs. Need desktop publishing software? Canva is free and web-based. 100s of templates to complete any web or print design. Also, there are great free alternatives to Abobe Creative Cloud products.

7. Cancel those subscriptions. Subscription services are a big part of why you're wasting money. An increasing number of services are moving to a subscription model.

On top of that, the vast majority of free trials end by auto-enrolling you into a subscription plan. And you can’t always unsubscribe with the click of a button. To keep track, go through your banking and credit card statements to see what you've signed up for. IF you don't need it, cancel the subscription.

Hopefully, this post has given you the information you need to know about saving money for your tech. Technology doesn't always have to be an expensive endeavor. When purchasing technology, you don't want to be cheap or you'll risk spending more in the long run.

However, if you follow the above tips, you can make sure your technology investments will cost you less amount of money in the long run. If you need further assistance, please reach out to me with any questions you might have. I am always happy to help!

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My Tuesday Tech Tips Blog is released every Tuesday. If you like video tips, I LIVE STREAM new episodes of 'Computer and Tech Tips for Non-Tech People' every Wednesday at 1:00 pm CST on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Technology product reviews are posted every Thursday. You can view previous episodes on my YouTube channel.

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The above content is provided for information purposes only. All information included therein is subject to change without notice. I am not responsible for any direct or indirect damages, arising from or related to the use of or reliance on the above content.

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