Thursday, March 17, 2011

The technology trap: the good

Technology can be wonderful. I'll be the first to tell you that I love it! Technology affords so many luxuries like coupons via your smart phone, cheaper books via an ereader, easy comparison shopping, free entertainment options (like the ones Liz mentioned here), household appliances like my beloved dishwasher and coffee maker and so much more.

There is so much good to list regarding technology, but it does come with a price tag.

Some technology-related expenses seem obvious and minimal-- the $15/month DSL service or a $50 coffee maker. But then there are those less obvious expenses-- higher electric bills, water bills, batteries. My son's Leapster Explorer was a great deal at 60 bucks but since purchasing it less than a year ago, we've replaced its 4 AA batteries at least 5 times (we did eventually wise up and buy a charger for it). 

Carefully consider the purchase price of the desired technology as well as the cost to maintain it (whether it be maintenance necessities like batteries or monthly service fees). Conduct a technology audit to get a better handle on what you're really spending toward technology on a monthly basis. Here are a few examples:

Smartphone service $100
DirecTV  $50
regular phone line $20
Netflix subscription $15
Internet service  $15
$200/month or $2400/year

Our family doesn't have a lot of these luxuries for one reason or another. Sure, I'd love an iPhone and all the fun little apps that go along with it, but for that high of a monthly fee, I just can't justify it. I have to remember that we're on one income! And, quite frankly, I'd rather go on a date night once a month with my husband and spend under $50 than pay twice that much for a service that I don't really need

Remember that simple is good. Sometimes less is more. If you're looking for ways to cut monthly expenses so you can spend more time with your family, seriously consider what you spend on technology and its associated costs!

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