Look around your house. How much do you think you have spent on gadgets and tech subscriptions over the years?
With shiny new gear popping up daily and yet another streaming service there to woo you, it’s hard to stop the flow of cash. I can help. Tap or click for all the best ways to scan without shelling out money for a scanner. You’re welcome.
Lots of quality software is free, too, if you know where to look. Tap or click for 9 free copycats that work like a charm.
Before you pull out your credit card again, read through this list of mistakes that might be costing you cash and easy fixes to spend less.
The problem: You’re tempted by that expensive new phone
Tech companies hype their new releases like no other. Listen to what Apple has to say, and the iPhone 13 will change your life. The same goes for the latest and greatest from Samsung and all the rest.
Here’s what they don’t want you to know: The changes to today’s new models aren’t all that groundbreaking. The cameras are just a little better. There’s a bit more storage. Maybe your battery will last a few hours longer. Big whoop.
Am I going to buy the new iPhone? I doubt it. The iPhone 12 does everything I need. If you have a phone just a generation or two old, there’s no need to buy something new.
The fix: Make your old phone feel shiny and new again
Today, you can get several years from your device. Still, if your phone is more than a few months old, you’ll start to feel it.
I don’t mean the gunk on the outside — though I did put together a smart guide on cleaning up your tech. Tap or click here for the best way to make your screen sparkle without scratching it.
Take a few minutes to clean up what’s inside your phone, too. Cached files, memes and screenshots, outdated contacts, and other digital clutter is easy to sweep away if you’re willing to put in a little time. Tap or click for the steps to deep clean your phone the right way.
Smart tips you can trust: The internet doesn’t come with an instruction manual. For digital tricks to get more out of your tech, try my free Tech Tips newsletter.
The problem: You’re searching high and low for coupon codes
There are terms you should never Google search. Tap or click here for a list of 7 to avoid. No, not because they are embarrassing, but because they can put you at real risk. One of those terms is “coupon codes.”
You may end up on a legitimate site and save a few bucks — but in all likelihood, you won’t. At best, the codes don’t work and you wasted a few minutes. The worst case is you click a malicious link and put your digital self in real danger.
The fix: Rely on sites that do it for you
Instead of trying code after code manually, download an app or browser extension that does all the work.
Honey works like a charm. Once installed, it will search the web for valid promo codes and apply them right to your cart. Capital One Shopping shows side-by-side price comparisons from multiple retailers. Talk about a time-saver.
Google Alerts can help you spot deals and sales, too. If there is a brand or site you have in mind, set up a Google Alert.
- Visit Google.com/alerts and type the notification phrase. Use the brand name or the brand name + discount/coupon/special offer as the alert.
- Click on Show options to change settings for frequency, sources, language, and region. You can also choose how many results you want and where you want them sent.
- Click Create Alert to start receiving alerts on your topics of interest.
Don’t forget to sign up for any of your favorite brands or sites’ email newsletters. Follow them on social media. Discounts and special offers are typically sent out this way.
The problem: You’re trying to score a deal the wrong way
When’s the last time you bought something from a seller on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or another one of the many local sales apps? That’s great for a piece of patio furniture or wall art. Think twice before buying your next phone, TV, or computer that way.
It’s easy to set up a burner account and list items. Even someone with a friendly profile photo and a local phone number could be shilling a computer they know has problems. For all the time and money you spent searching for a bargain, you could end up with an expensive paperweight.
You need to shop carefully to make sure what you buy is worth your money.
The fix: Go the safe route on used gear
Amazon Renewed sells rebuilt and refurbished used items, including laptops, smartphones, smartwatches, cameras, computers, monitors, power tools, and more. Amazon says all Renewed merchandise is “tested and certified to work and look like new.” They might have some cosmetic imperfections, but most people shopping used don’t mind that.
Products are guaranteed anywhere from 90 days to six months. If it stops working, you can return it or get a replacement. Make sure the product you purchase says it is “Backed by the 90-day Amazon Renewed Guarantee” in the description.
If you’re not an Amazon shopper or you don’t find what you want, try eBay’s Certified Refurbished program. Items have a 1-year or 2-year warranty and you can shop by condition, from Good (moderate wear) to Certified (pristine, like-new). Tap or click here for more details and a link to start shopping.
We think of our gadgets as helpful tools that make our lives easier, but they can also be turned against us. The data your devices collect is so valuable it could be used against you in a criminal trial, requested by police or even bought by the government through a data broker. I sat down with technologist Bennett Cyphers from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who reveals all the secrets you’re losing — and which devices do the most stealing.
Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.”
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television, or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.
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