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costly tech mistakes and tips to break the cycle
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Kim's column

This tech mistake is costing you money every single month

It’s easy to overspend on consumer tech or make a purchase that won’t last long. For example, you don’t need to pay for Microsoft Office and shouldn’t waste money on cheap chargers. Tap or click for five ways you’re wasting cash on tech.

Then there are all the subscriptions you pay for and don’t use. Streaming services are a major culprit; there’s only so much time in a day, and you can’t watch everything. Tap or click for my guide to watching your shows for free instead.

You probably don’t know that you can share various accounts with family and friends or, at the very least, get a nice discount. It’s not your fault. Tech companies don’t promote this money-saving secret you can thank me for later.

Let’s start with Amazon

If you don’t have an Amazon Prime membership, you might not realize it’s much more than just free shipping. Tap or click here for my favorite perks. I suggest getting a 30-day free trial to make sure it’s worth it for you because it’s not cheap.

An Amazon Prime membership costs $14.99 monthly or $139.99 a year. You can split this cost with a friend or family member and still reap all the benefits.

Amazon Household allows two adults to share Prime benefits and digital content like e-books. Each person gets their own account, so you do maintain some privacy. Keep in mind you will have access to each other’s payment methods. Only share your account with someone you trust.

You can also add up to four teens (ages 13 to 17) to the plan for free. Each teen will get their own Amazon login, and an adult must approve all purchases on the plan.

Visit to create or manage your household.

While we’re talking Amazon, the tech giant knows a lot about you. Prepare to be shocked. Here’s how to see it all.

Apple makes it cheaper to bundle

Apple One bundles Apple services for a lower monthly price than you’d pay for each service on its own. These savings may be worth it if several family members use iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple TV, Apple Music and iCloud.

  • The Individual Apple One plan costs $14.95 per month and includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and 50 GB of Apple iCloud+ storage.
  • The Family plan is $19.95 per month. It includes all the same services and 200 GB of storage. 
  • The Premier plan is $29.95 per month and adds News+ and Fitness+, with 2 TB of storage.

Here’s where the cost savings come in: The Family and Premier plans can be shared with up to five other people using Family Sharing as long as they live in the same country. That’s right, you don’t need to live in the same household.

To set up Family Sharing on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:

  • Go to Settings.
  • Tap your name.
  • Tap Family Sharing and then tap Set Up Your Family.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to set up your family and invite your family members.

Tap or click here for instructions on setting up iCloud+ on all of your devices.

If you’re a Google family

Like Apple, Google offers expanded family plans with storage five people can share. Group members won’t be able to see each other’s files, but they share storage space and can see how much space the others are using. All members must live in the same country as the family manager.

Google accounts include 15 GB of storage for free. Here’s what it costs to upgrade to Google One for more capacity:

  • The Basic plan runs $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year for 100 GB of storage. You also get access to support from Google experts.
  • The Standard plan is $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year for 200 GB of storage. This tier gets you 3% back on Google Store purchases.
  • The Premium plan is $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year for 2 TB of storage and 10% back on the Google Store purchases.

Both the Standard and Premium plans can be shared. To set up family sharing, go to Sign in with your Google account and follow the on-screen instructions to add members.

Is your Google account locked down? Are you sure? Tap or click for a quick and easy security check you should do every few months.

Consider your phone bill, too

Most mobile providers give you a nice discount for the more lines you have under a single plan.

You can also take advantage of deals if just one person on the plan qualifies. With T-Mobile’s affordable 55+ plans, for instance, only one person needs to be 55 or over. Full disclosure: T-Mobile is a sponsor of my national radio show. 

The same goes for military and first responder discounts. Verizon operates the same way. You only need one person on the plan to qualify, and members do not have to live under the same roof.

Here are five ways to save money on your phone bill and maybe even get free service.

Easy ways to split the cost

Now that you know what you can share, what are the best ways to deal with splitting up subscription costs? The last thing you want to do is chase someone around every month for a few bucks. Here are a few options:

  • Let an app do the hard work: Apps like Splitwise help you easily track and pay shared expenses. This option is great when you’re planning to split multiple bills.
  • Switch off: It’s not feasible to switch your payment method each month, but maybe you and whoever you are splitting with can switch off annually. You pay for a year of a particular service, and then another pays for a year.
  • Get the payment out of the way: For services that only cost a few bucks a month when split, consider paying your friend back (or requesting that money) in a six-month or one-year lump sum. It’s easier than remembering to send over $6 every month.

Keep your tech-know going

My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today.” It’s a solid thirty minutes of tech news, tips, and callers with tech questions like you from all over the country. Search for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, hit the link below for a recent episode.

PODCAST PICK: Update your iPhone, travel hack, self-destructing email

Listen up for the latest tech talk in 30 minutes. It’s time to update your iPhone, Apple Watch and Mac. Plus, if you run your own business, Cameo is a smart idea: Use celebrities for marketing. And your flights will never be the same once you use digital bag tags. I’ve got the inside scoop on this life-changing travel hack — and which airline is using it.

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Today” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.”

Get more tech know-how on The Kim Komando Show, broadcast on 425+ radio stations and available as a podcast. Sign up for Kim’s five-minute, free morning roundup for the latest security breaches and tech news. Need help? Drop your question for Kim here.

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