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MONEY HABITS

How to save money on technology

19 December 2018

As a society, we’re pretty obsessed with technology. And with so many great advancements and options out there for making our lives easier (and more entertaining), why wouldn’t we be?

One of the only potential downfalls to commitment to being tech-savvy, though, is the cost. Being connected comes with a price tag, and it can be quite a hefty one. Suncorp’s Cost of Being Digitally Savvy Report found that Australians are collectively spending $37 billion every year on technology – that’s a lot!

Where is all that money going, you might ask? The graph below breaks it down; most of it goes to connecting to the Internet, followed by those addictive digital devices, and, finally, on-demand entertainment.

How Australians spend their money on tech

Of course, the amount of money spent on tech is not equal across all age groups. It’s unsurprising that the ‘digital-savvy’ 25-34 year olds typically spend the most across the board, but adjacent age groups of under 25 year olds and 35-44 year olds are never too far off on the spending, either.

Money spent on tech by age group

While technology has clearly become an important part of our lives that is here to stay, the amount we spend on it can present some problems. In a lot of ways, it’s kind of crept into our budgets overnight, meaning that a lot of Australians end up dipping into their savings to keep up with the latest trends (and TV shows!).

But why have such a reactory, short-term solution to a cost that’s more than likely going to be around for a while? Instead, it can be worthwhile to look into ways that you can save money that you spend on tech, so you’re not forking out more than you need to just to stay in the digital loop.

7 quick hacks for saving money on technology

1. Shared subscriptions

Remember the days of trying to work out whether the late fees on a DVD rental were greater than the pain of leaving the house to drop it off in time? Or pondering over whether to spend less on the single you liked the most or wait for the full CD to come out?

Those days are well gone, because now, it’s all about streaming. We can stream television, movies, and music through a number of platforms and services. Many Australians have several subscriptions to make sure they don’t miss out on any of their favourite shows or artists, and that can really add up on the poor old bank account.

Luckily, most streaming services allow for ‘family’ packages. For what’s usually only a slightly higher price, you can add people to your account. That way, you all end up paying a lower amount each, but still get to benefit from individual accounts that give you access to all that on-demand entertainment.

Some services have restrictions, like requiring all members to live at the same address, so make sure you check that out before you sign up to a family account.

2. Cancel unused subscriptions

Speaking of those multiple subscriptions, how many do you need, really? If you step back and actually examine everything you’re paying for, versus how much you’re using it, you might find that you’re shelling out quite a bit of cash to only occasionally watch one TV show on that streaming service, or listen to one particular artist.

If you want to cut costs on your tech spend, being ruthless (and honest with yourself) about how much you actually need all those subscriptions could be a good place to start. It doesn’t mean you have to cut off all your subscriptions and desparately try and locate those old DVDs, but it might mean cutting it down to your favourite streaming service (or two).

3. Shop secondhand for tech

Looking for refurbished or pre-loved technology can save you a stack of money, and doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be way behind on the latest digital trends. With the speedy rate in which technology moves, people are continually getting rid of their old devices, meaning there’s often great opportunities out there for a savvy saver like yourself.

It’s important that if you do buy secondhand, you are careful to test the tech out where possible. On certain devices, like mobile phones, you can use the serial number to make sure it’s a legitimate product and not registered as a stolen item.

4. Sell your old tech

Completing the technology circle of life, you can also sell your old devices secondhand. This is only applicable if you have looked after your products, as nobody wants to buy something that is damaged or well-worn.

But if you’ve played nice and taken care of your technology, why not make a few extra dollars on something you no longer need? It could be something that you’ve upgraded, or just find yourself no longer using.

5. Wait a little while on new technology

It can be tempting to line up overnight and make sure you’re one of the first few to get your hot little hands on a new piece of tech. But there is a power (and benefit to your bank account) in waiting until the crowds subside.

First of all, you can see how the new device is actually received by the public. Not all products are as good as the hype will have you believe, and waiting until a few reviews roll in can potentially save you from purchasing a dud. Secondly, prices typically drop as time goes on – usually when the next model comes out, it’s sales time, or there are secondhand options available.

6. Buy more data than you need

It might seem counterintuitive to suggest buying more Internet or phone data than you expect to use, but the cost of unused data can be significantly lower than having to pay for going over your allowance. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go for the biggest, baddest data package.

If you’ve had a phone or Internet plan before, you can look at your historic spending and get an idea of how much you typically use. You can then base your needs on this, remembering to over-estimate slightly rather than trying to be conservative and crossing your fingers each month that you won’t go over.

7. Put up with those ads

When using free versions or apps or other digital services, it can be tempting to just spend a little bit of cash in order to get rid of those pesky ads. It might seem like a couple of dollars here or there, but it can really add up. If you’re serious about cutting down on your tech-related spending, it could be worth seeing if you can deal with some ads for the sake of your back pocket.

Get tech-savvy with your savings

Australians might invest a lot of money into staying connected and digitally trendy, but, on the flip side, technology can help you with your savings, as well. Take the new Suncorp App. It allows you stay on top of your home, car, life, and money all in one place, with convenient access to your bank accounts, insurance policies, and even claims you’re tracking.

Not only does it have the potential to save you time (and we all know that time is money), it’s equipped with practical tools to make your budgeting life easier, like the Dollar Tracker, which automatically categorises your expenses for you. Eligible members can also get access to rewards and bonuses, giving you even more ways to enjoy life without having to break the bank.

Discover the new Suncorp App

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Information is intended to be of a general nature only and

any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs. You should make your own enquiries, consider whether advice is appropriate for you and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Product Information Document before making any decisions about whether to acquire a product.

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