Technology can make our lives easier and save us money -- except when we waste our dollars on these five has-beens.
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From outdated technology to unnecessary gadgets, many homes are filled with items irrelevant to modern life.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.