Save Thousands by Cutting Dying Tech From Your Life

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How many dinosaurs are lurking in your house?

From outdated technology to unnecessary gadgets, many homes are filled with items irrelevant to modern life. Yet, we continue to spend thousands to buy, maintain and upgrade these supposedly must-have services and goods.

What are they? Watch as Money Talks News finance expert Stacy Johnson explains in the video below. Then, keep reading to learn how to stop dying tech from draining your bank account.

Start by killing the cable bill

Let’s start with the most obvious one.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: There is virtually no good reason to be paying out the wazoo for 152 channels of nothing. It’s time to let go of the ‘90s already.

Face it, not only is cable overpriced, it’s really not that great either. Unless you spring for the super pricey HD package, you get subpar picture quality. And guess who ends up at the bottom of customer satisfaction surveys again and again? You guessed it: the cable companies.

Way back in 2011, Money Talks News outlined three steps to cut your cable bill by 90 percent. Last year, we expanded on that with a more detailed list of all the places to go for cheap or free TV. That list might change (broadcasters are suing Aereo as we speak), but it gives you a good place to start.

Pack up the DVDs (maybe the Blu-rays too)

Once the cable is gone, the next step is to pack up and ship out all of the DVDs taking up space in your house.

I don’t know about you, but I have a wall o’ movies in my home that we never watch. They are flicks that were impulse buys as new releases or “great deals” I couldn’t pass up. But even the $5 bargain bin DVD is still at least $4 more than I would have spent if I had streamed the movie through Netflix or one of its alternatives.

Now, if you’re a super movie geek, you might want to hold on to your Blu-rays. While streaming services have moved into HD territory, Blu-ray still wins the picture quality battle.

For everyone else, kick the movies to the curb. Well, not really. Instead, sell them on one of the sites where you can get top dollar for your discs.

If you don’t feel like you can say goodbye to them all, start with the ones you haven’t watched in the last six months. Wait a month and then do a second purge. In the meantime, promise yourself to never buy another movie unless you’ve first streamed or rented it at least three times.

Once you realize that most everything you want is available for streaming, you may find that eventually you’re ready to sell the player along with those old copies of “Grease” and “The Great Gatsby.”

Cut the landline for good

If you’re one of the 28 percent of Americans still using a traditional landline for telephone service, it’s time to reconsider your options.

Landlines are expensive, not to mention on the verge of extinction. Now is the time to cut the cord before your telecom company makes that decision for you.

You can start by reading this article on landline alternatives. However, the cheapest way to say goodbye to your landline is to simply cancel it and rely on your mobile device instead. After all, 91 percent of us have cellphones.

You’ll want to double-check your minutes allowance and coverage area before making the switch. However, chances are you already use your cellphone for most of your talking so your minutes may not go up by much.

Save even more by reading this article on how to get free cellphone service.

Say cheese to a new way of recording memories

There was a time when tourists weren’t completely dressed unless they had a camera hanging from their neck and a fanny pack filled with film.

Digital cameras have made the film a thing of a past, and there is no reason why camera phones shouldn’t be doing the same to point-and-click cameras and camcorders. Today’s smartphones come with camera and video features that meet the needs of most casual users. Some come with optical zooms, low-light features and amazing resolution.

Of course, if you’re a pro or even a serious hobbyist, you may want a more advanced DSLR camera. Everyone else can get away with using their smartphone and following our advice on taking fabulous camera phone photos.

Skip the software and look for an app

The final bit of dying tech you need to banish from your house is software. Just like the floppy disks they used to come on, software is no longer needed for most everyday computing tasks.

You could replace software with paid cloud applications that eliminate the need to use space on your hard drive. Or even better, you could skip buying programs and services completely and use freeware and apps instead.

The average user doesn’t need to plunk down upward of $200 for Microsoft Office when OpenOffice is just as good – and free. That’s just one of a handful of free office suites. You can also find excellent free anti-virus programs, free video editing tools and free business applications. For managing your finances, you could use the service provided by our partner PowerWallet.

Really, just about anything you want to do with your computer has a free version online. Find what’s available through open source alternatives at osalt.com or head to Download.com to rummage through CNET’s impressive vault of practically every piece of freeware known to man.

Do you have dying tech in your house? Tell us in the comments or on our Facebook page how you plan to put it out of its misery.

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Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.

  • Monkey Mom

    In our area, you can’t watch programs for the main stations unless you log in with your cable provider or wait until the episodes are old. This practice is forcing the purchase of cable IF you want to watch their programs. I think that this practice is going to continue and expand as cable companies work with stations and content providers to keep themselves afloat.

  • http://batman-news.com Lauren

    I cut the cable and saved myself $113 per month! I read the article you wrote ‘Three steps to cut your bill by 90%’ and (after dragging my feet for a couple of months) finally took the plunge. My cable bill was $143 per month now I only pay $30 per month (for internet access). I purchased a Roku and me and my wallet have been happy ever since. Thank you for the great advice. I’ve been telling everyone I know about this website.

  • Alvin L. Leonard

    Good morning, I have a question for you. I live in an apartment complex that has a central phone bank outside the building for intercom services such as visitors or deliveries and buzzing people in.We need a land line specific to that purpose. I use my cellphone for everything. Any suggestions?
    Btw, I faithfully read your newsletter every day! Very informative and thought provoking. Thank you, Alvin

  • Michyle

    I agree with some of this, but still sometimes its better to keep the tech.
    Myself I still have my VCR, (Gasp!!!!) but for recording an hour show or a movie off the air, its perfect, don’t have to buy an new dvdr, or whatever. I also like my DVD’s I have Hulu and I love it, but sometimes a dvd is great.
    I agree on getting rid of cable, (I got rid of mine Three years ago) But I need the DSL to go on the Net, so I got Directcall for 9.99 a month and its worth the cost. CellPhone, I have always used TracFone, get the right phone and you get triple minutes.(for a 60 minute card that costs $20 you get 180 minutes)
    My point don’t go crazy throwing away old tech see if you can put it to use elsewhere then think about getting rid of it.

  • I.Popoff

    I have never in my life had cable tv and I have always had landline telephone service. When I got a computer I added a DSL line in a package deal. Doing away with the landline would not save any money because then I would lose the package deal rate on the internet service, plus I would need a cell phone, which is way more expensive than a landline. I have found on the rare occasions when I am away from home and need a phone, someone will loan me theirs or I can use a store phone. Seems like phone booths are disappearing around here.

  • pmatula

    Just had to comment on today’s info. First – we have never had cable offered where I live in the boonies. Our internet service (national company) is 1.5 MB and they “can’t” or will not up date our area, so try downloading a movie that need 3 MB! Get rid of the landline are you kidding? The big phone companies won’t put a tower or repeater in our area, so we get spotty or no cell service. If anyone had to call 911 here on a cell phone they would die before they got help. Lastly, I kinda like APS but where the sam hill do you find directions on how to operate the darn things? Of course buying the pricey package program is no great thing either because you have to download the dang directions. Thanks for letting me vent, and no I’m not moving. I do think all your money advice should not just be geared to folks living in populated areas where there are services.

  • Alvin L. Leonard

    Hi! I saw your query.An idea:go to Google play store.Do a search for Quickbooks. From the dropdown list select Quickbooks app.Under the heading ‘Apps’ you’ll see a couple of Quickbooks apps listed . However, to the far right of the ‘Apps’ heading there will be another box that says there are 137 other apps related to Quickbooks.Click on that box and you will be taken to alternative heaven.All you’ll need to do is make a choice. Many are free and 5 star rated by business owners using them now.Good luck, Alvin

  • DemosCat

    1. Cable. We use a digital TV antenna and get the rest off the Internet, but you have to be careful. AT&T and other vendors have established download caps which can impact your streaming experience, or cost you extra.

    2. DVD/BD. Again, with streaming there are caps to consider, plus you no longer own the media. Just like some people still love to own books, some of us like owning movies too.

    3. Landline. The two places where I am most are: 1) At work, and; 2) At home. Guess which two places have the worst cell phone reception? Yep, both work and home. I won’t be giving up the landline any time soon; not until either a new cell tower is put in, or we move.

    4. Digital photography is great, but can you pass on pictures to the next generation? My concern is with ever changing standards that might one day render old family photos unreadable. Also, when you can store thousands of photos on a device the size of a postage stamp, it also becomes easier to lose years worth of memories. Yes, you can make copies, and you should, but you might be surprised by how many people have no idea how to copy pictures off their digital cameras or phones.

    5. Software. I’d still rather have a local copy, thank you, than rely on the cloud. There have already been horror stories of people losing access to data backed up on the cloud because the vendor went out of business, or the police have seized the servers because one customer out of thousands was storing child porn in the cloud.

  • ANITA

    I have a enyoyed a land line for years, no dropped calls ,no batteries getting low ,no dead spots.If you were to use your cell phone (without any added help from a computer) to call overseas the rates are astronomical .There some people that like what they like and do not have to keep up with the Jone’s !

  • Georganne Schuch

    Yes, this advice seems to apply better to urban/suburban areas with better technical infrastructure. Go outside the city limits a few miles, and it’s a different story. We didn’t have cable in the city, and it was a serious adjustment to give up good Internet service when we moved to the country. Netflix DVD service (plus our own library of movies) is our lifeline to weekly movie night. Thankfully, we do get good cell service, so we didn’t have to go back to a landline. While I do have a good smartphone that does a decent job of quick photos and videos, it won’t replace a quality camera for family events or portrait -type shoots. I’d say those kinds of things are more about preference, not dying tech.

  • M.a. Schlitzer

    Just spent the last 3 days with the local DSL providers technician in our living room. Telco is trying to get a newer product a bonded DSL modem setup so we can get 4G services..Yup 4-6 G’s. He left today with it still working with pretty spotty uptime and laughed maybe it would work if you moved down the road. Tomorrow we might be going back to the single line modem and maybe get 3 G on a good night. I live on a small dead end street within sight of the switching office but the end of the line. Line Upgrade I ask never they say.

  • Gars

    I love to read these articles to get new ideas.

    Not every idea is valid for my location, but I do occasionally get ideas that i can use and it lets me see where tech is going.

    I purchased a refurbed computer with a 1T hard drive, added a graphics card with HDMI and a wireless keyboard, and turned it into a home theater computer. It serves as my DVD player, digital video recorder for off-the-air TV, and as an internet interface for streaming as well as surfing needs. Nice cheap idea that functions well.

    I also ran across a Verizion Wireless phone for home. It isn’t a cell phone, but it looks like an internet router that sits atop my refrigerator and plugs into a cordless Panasonic phone system. $24 a month for unlimited US calls.

    My old land line was terrible. New one is state of the art. I don’t want people to have 24 hour access to me.

  • http://citizenhal.com/ Phil Dirtt

    This list things to trash what you consider outdated tech is too definitive, and written as if one size fits all. Personally, I use all this “old” technology and more. Now, if tech would just slow down so we can catch our collective breath the whole world might be a little better.

  • fredd3

    Some dinosaurs are still working great – Aren’t you driving a car with an internal combustion engine?
    We use Netflix a lot, but their streaming library is somewhat limited, particularly concerning Classics. More and more of their DVDs are “rental” versions that have NO extras.
    Landlines automatically tell 911 where you are – with a cell phone, you have to tell them – if you aren’t hurt too bad.
    I’ll be keeping the DVD players as long as I want all the snapshots and 8MM home movies I transferred to digital.

  • EnoughAlready

    Some of these ideas we not thought out. In my area to drop cable to go with just internet is 79.99. To switch companies I can get internet only for 29.99 but that is only for 6 months, after which it goes to 69.99. These internet prices are for the better, not best, speeds for downloading. Right now I pay 99.99 for internet, HD cable, and a DVR. I have tried the HD antenna but the signal is spotty at best. Also some of what I watch is not available on the apps. Not all the shows are archived yet. And why was not renting a movie from Redbox not mentioned? 1.20 a night compared to 5.99 a night is a better bargain. While I would love to tell my cable company where to go it is not a smart money decision with these prices. Next time they want to write articles like this they should consider the internet cost as well. Internet does cost as well.

  • Howard B Edgar

    As long as you have a good Internet connection and 20mB download speed for streaming content, you don’t need TV or cable or Netflix subscriptions or HULU+. I now watch everything, including all TV shows (yep, Game of Thrones, too), first-run movies and sports using my 27″ iMac, the Internet and three websites. If you must have a big-screen TV, use one of the new-tech HD antennas like Mohu Leaf. The picture quality is inspiring! And, if you look hard enough, everything you watch now can be had FREE. The best way to eliminate greedy businesses is to stop buying the inferior crap they sell.