Technology should help you save money. At least, that’s what it has done for people in the past. For instance, better manufacturing processes brought down the price of goods, allowing practically anyone with an income to afford a TV, a radio, a dishwasher, an oven and so on. But there’s a problem: although technology is progressing at a fabulous rate, so too are people’s demands. We want more and more, and the pace of innovation can’t keep up. It seems like technology is getting more expensive (just look at the launch price of the Apple iPhone X), but that is the product of our insatiable desires for “more, better, faster.”
However, technology is one of the critical tools you need to help you save money. It’s a friend, rather than a foe, and can lead to a much better standard of living, so long as you know how to use it right.
Here are some of the ways that technology can save you money.
Ten years ago, governments introduced regulations which meant that people could no longer buy high-wattage incandescent bulbs from the store. It was a problem: the new bulbs simply didn’t put out as much light as the old ones, and even if they did, they took ages to warm up to full brightness. It was, for many, a big hit to their standard of living.
But technology has moved on a lot. In fact, lighting has improved so much thanks to new technologies that the price of providing light in a home is now at all-time lows. It’s all thanks to LEDs, a kind of illumination technology that more efficiently converts electrical energy into photons. Whereas traditional bulbs convert 90 per cent of the power they receive into heat, LEDs turn 90 per cent of it into light, meaning that you can get a lot more illumination for your money.
Yes, LEDs are more expensive to buy, but they will last 30,000 hours, or at least ten times longer than the old technology. That’s an impressive saving over the long term.
Although some mobile phone manufacturers build planned obsolescence into their devices, this isn’t true of all of them. It’s not unusual to find Korean-made phones lasting five years or more – or well outside their contract period. What’s more, many flagship devices continue to provide similar functions to the latest handsets, making upgrading less necessary.
Sim-only contracts make using a mobile phone cheap. Not only this, but there is a new mobile network which allows you to pay just for what you use, a bit like pay-as-you-go. Technology has brought down the price of not only phones but the cost of providing network coverage too.
If you’re somebody who needs a lot of data storage, then the cloud is your friend. No longer do you have to spend hundreds of dollars on expensive hard drives, or buy new SATA cables. Storage is cheaper on the cloud – and safer too.
Services like Dropbox make the business of storing files inexpensive. Google’s own free cloud storage platform lets you keep all your work documents in one place too. What’s more, cloud storage is a lot more practical than just buying new hard drives since you can access your data from any location.
Cheaper Media, Especially Books
The rise of technology has meant that most of the media that we consume can be converted into digital format with little or no cost. The reason Amazon’s Kindle bookstore is so popular is that it provides an enormous library of content at exceptionally low prices. There’s no longer any need to pay a manufacturer to create the physical book, a delivery driver to transport it to the shore, and a shop clerk to sell it: it’s all done online with a simple click of a button.
Music has also become cheaper, again thanks to the ability to cut out the middleman. Plus, it’s a lot more convenient to listen to than before.