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Your digital life is draining your financial resources in multiple ways. Fortunately, you can put a stop to it today.
A gadget or luxury item marketed as the next best thing; an accessory that seems impossible to do without; a service that you have to sign up for — all of those buys add up to burn a big hole in your pocket. The inexpensive purchases are even more dangerous. You don’t bother tracking them because it feels like you’re paying for them with loose change. These accumulate over time and cost you a substantial portion of your income.
You don’t need drastic changes to avoid these unnecessary expenses that give the illusion of enhancing your digital life. Here are three simple ways that will do just great.
Stop Right There!
The Web is full of pseudo-amazing products and services that trick you into thinking you need them. The temptation to click on the accompanying Buy Now buttons is appears swiftly, especially if there are glowing reviews alongside. You might even start daydreaming about all the ways in which the new product will fit into your life. Before you know it, an email arrives in your inbox notifying you about the purchase you just made.
Begin cost-cutting by putting the brakes on your planning and enthusiasm. Take a time out. Close the product’s website and shift your focus elsewhere to ensure that your brain does not have the space to get carried away.
Ask yourself this:
- So far, haven’t I been doing fine without this product?
- Do I already have some variation of it lying around somewhere?
- Have I used the last product I purchased in a hurry? Was it worth my money?
When you stop to think before you buy, it becomes clear that the product or service you have your eye on is not really a must-have. I wish I had realized this when I was buying all those Fiverr gigs, vanity domain names, average ebooks, and online subscriptions that I left unused.
Find Hacks & Free Alternatives
Learning to be resourceful and being smart about assessing your digital requirements is a great way to reduce your online expenses.
When you’re taking up a new endeavor, it feels right to arm yourself with the requisite tools or gear. If you’re starting an online business, in all your excitement you might end up buying a handful of domain names, shiny branding material, paid services for invoicing and book-keeping, and other add-ons that come across as vital for your business. As another example, if you’re planning to learn a new language, you might end up ordering various recommended books, dictionaries, audio lessons, apps, etc.
Instead of spending a mini-fortune on material for the new project, how about testing the waters first? Buy a single domain name. Try a free language-learning app. Search sites like MakeUseOf for cheaper (often free) and more viable alternatives.
Also, if you’re buying tech-related stuff, begin with a tech budget. Follow it up with a realistic analysis of your tech requirements. Tell your brain that you don’t need the latest thing. Customize your purchases whenever possible. If a gadget needs five different accessories to function, skip it and look for a different solution.
About a year ago, I bought a 10-inch Ainol tablet with the intention of making it my primary digital device. To protect its surface and to make typing easier on it, I bought a tablet case with an attached keyboard. I also bought a wireless mouse. Since one OTG cable wouldn’t have sufficed to connect multiple USB devices, I ordered a USB hub. The tablet was too heavy for me, so I swapped it with someone for a 7-inch Samsung Galaxy tablet. As this new device wouldn’t detect my data card, I paid for a mobile wireless router for the sake of productivity.
This laughably assorted setup was hardly portable and usable on a regular basis. After stalling for several months, I bought a lightweight Asus netbook — a much more sensible buy that I should have considered in the first place. But since I didn’t, I’m stuck with about 300USD worth of digital goods that can only be called e-waste.
Keep An Eye Out For Discounts & Smart Buying Tips
Certain purchases are inevitable and can’t wait, no matter how expensive they are or what time of the year it it is. But you have to be smart in figuring out which ones fall into that category. To be frank, few do, and you’re the best judge of that. Don’t scrimp on such important purchases. For the rest, find good deals, use coupon codes, take advantage of free services like IFTTT to save money, or wait for special occasions to earn mammoth discounts. If you save some money on a purchase, watch out for the urge to spend the surplus on yet another product. Learn smarter ways to spend and save from the tips and experiences of fellow netizens.
A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned
When you’re parting with cold, hard cash or a handing out a credit card, it gives you pause for thought. A lot of what you’re purchasing begins to appear optional. But when you’re paying with a mouse click or two, it feels like child’s play, and often ends in buyer’s remorse.
Use these tips to ensure that your online expenses stay within the limits of necessity and usefulness. When you do splurge on something online once in a while, you’ll be able to enjoy it minus the guilt!
Image Credits: saving and spending by 401K (2012) (used under CC), Money, Money, Money! by peddhapati (used under CC), Stop by cobblucas (used under CC), Saving in a piggy bank by OTA Photos (used under CC)