Too often, various technologies are portrayed as money pits. Individuals and businesses see technologies as unwelcome expenses rather than long-term investments. The fact of the matter is that it actually pays to keep on top of new products as they’re released. Here are some ways to save on your personal and business expenses with technology:
Comparing Gas Prices
Have you ever topped off your gas tank only to find cheaper gas a block or two away? With apps like Cheap Gas! And similar websites, you can instantly compare gas rates at local fill stations. For somebody who pumps gas two or three times a week, savings can easily top $100 or more a year.
A trip to the movie theater is expensive. As average ticket prices rise to $10 and above, a family outing to the theater can easily cost $50. Why pay that much money to sit in uncomfortable seats in a freezing theater when you can watch them from home for a fraction of the cost?
Services like Netflix and Hulu provide movies and TV shows over your Internet connection. For just $7.99 per month, you can stream as much content from Netflix as you want without leaving your home. You can design a home theater room of your own for more fun. You can browse an even larger selection of movies and shows if you’re willing to wait for Netflix to ship DVDs to your home.
The traditional business conference where employees and industry leaders from around the world meet at a luxurious hotel is now a thing of the past. International trips can cost several hundred dollars per person, require multiple days for traveling, and offer limited opportunities for attendees to mingle.
Video conferencing services cost next to nothing in comparison. Team members can collaborate on projects 24/7 by sharing data, ideas, and progress with one another every single day. Faster and more intuitive than e-mail, web conferencing services save businesses money and increase productivity. Employees can telecommute to work rather than driving for an hour or two, so they can also save on travel costs while increasing their own leisure time.
When Amazon launched in 1994, few people thought that it would become one of the world’s largest retailers within a decade. It generated $48 billion in revenue in 2011 alone and is projected to continue growing year after year.
Amazon has fundamentally changed our perception of shopping so much that it is now difficult to remember what shopping used to entail before the Internet. With the Internet, we can now instantly compare dozens of various retailers to find the best deal. Free shipping means that we save money on gas driving to a brick and mortar store. Customer reviews allow us to better determine if we will be satisfied by a particular product. Online searches bring up thousands of relevant products at the click of a button. Is it really any surprise at all that e-commerce is going to dominate the next century in retail?
The Green Life
Every year, homeowners stand to save even more money by going green. Appliances are more efficient than they were a decade ago. CFL light bulbs use less electricity than incandescent bulbs, and LED bulbs use even less electricity than CFLs. For example, switching out a dozen 75 watt incandescent light bulbs with equivalent LEDs will save a homeowner over $200 a year.
Even more attractive is solar power. A 5,000 kW system will cost about $12,500 after tax credits and rebates and save homeowners about $1,100-$1,600 a year at current rates. The average system will pay for itself in 7-10 years and provide free electricity after the break-even point.