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While some money saving tips stand the test of time – think mashing together the ends of soap bars to create a brand new soap bar, or putting all your loose change in a jar for a rainy day – our digital age has brought with it a whole new set of challenges for those on a budget. Mobile phones and internet connections are no longer seen as a luxury – rather they are integral to our social and business lives. So how can you use the latest technology to stay connected without breaking the bank?
Money Saving Tips for Techies
The first money saving tip is to use free wi-fi whenever you can. The number of restaurants, hotels, bars and cafes offering free wi-fi is growing all the time – in fact, it’s now commonplace in many countries throughout the world. Increasingly, towns and cities are also offering hotspots where you can log on free of charge. If you’re often on the move, or you simply have a limited tariff at home, these free connections can be invaluable. As well as taking your laptop along to take advantage of free wi-fi, make sure any mobile phones or tablets you have are set up to connect to wi-fi wherever possible. There are even apps you can download such as Wi-Fi Finder and JiWire that will notify you when a network becomes available – helping you avoid the expensive costs of logging onto the internet via 3G.
A great way to stay in touch with people around the world without spending a fortune is to use a face-to-face video chat program such as Skype. Popular with backpackers and those with friends and loved ones scattered across the world, Skype is free software that allows you to video chat in real-time with anyone else who has the same software installed. You can use it on your laptop or PC without the need for any special equipment except a web cam, or download the app onto your mobile phone for free international video chat on the move. Similar programs like Viber and NetTalk also allow you to make international phone calls and send text messages free of charge.
Another thing that’s sure to be eating a hole in your wallet every month is your mobile phone. If you’re over 18 and even vaguely technologically adept, chances are you have a smartphone and are signed into a monthly contract with your service provider – but this isn’t necessarily the best option for those trying to save. This money saving tip is to have a look at your habits, and try and work out if you really use all the minutes, texts and data that are included in your package. If you don’t, why not think about switching to pay-as-you go? Once your current contract has expired you can keep your phone and get a free SIM card from a company that offers deals such as free calls and text messages, or good value add-on data packages for browsing – light to moderate users will be surprised to see how much they can save.
It’s easy to think that the high costs associated with an always-online, always contactable lifestyle are an unavoidable part of modern life. But by analysing your communication habits and picking payment options that suit you, as well as using free services wherever possible, you can start to enjoy the digital age for less.