Ways to save money on tech stuff

I know computers and gadgets aren’t cheap, but here are some ways you can save money in your tech life:

Reconsider your Internet connection plan: If you haven’t changed your Internet plan in a few years, check with your current provider to see if they have any new plans and check with other providers on their offerings. Sometimes they come out with new plans and changing may save money.

Alternatively, some new plans might cost a bit more but offer much faster speeds, so you could get more for your money. However, keep in mind for the average small household, speeds in the 100 - 300 Mbps range for download is more than enough. For larger households, faster speeds might be beneficial.

There are new internet providers in the area expanding and even if you don’t utilize them, it’s great for everyone. Once a new provider comes in, they can play price wars and come out with some great specials.

Lower your data limit for mobile devices: If you have a smartphone or tablet that uses the cellular data for Internet, ensure you aren’t paying for way more data than you need. When at home make sure your mobile devices are connecting to the Wi-Fi, so your cellular data isn’t used. Check your actual data usage from your phone bills and make any changes to your limits if you’re using a lot less data than what you’re paying for each month.

Buy good refurbished PC’s: If you follow my articles here, you may know I warn against buying very cheap computers. However, if your budget doesn’t allow for a new computer in the $600 – 800 range, consider refurbished computers in the $200 - 400 range. Though refurbished, you’ll likely have a better performing machine than a brand new very cheap computer. But again, that all depends upon the specs of the machine, so consult with someone that understands them before purchasing.

Use open source software: Free open source software is usually developed by volunteers or sponsored by companies and their source code freely released along with the software. So buy buying another program, check to see if there’s a free alternative out there. An open source alternative to Microsoft Office is LibreOffice, for instance, and then Thunderbird and Lighting instead of Microsoft Outlook. GIMPShop is an alternative to Adobe Photoshop. GnuCash is a slimmed down version of Microsoft Money or Quicken.

Buy perpetual software licenses: Although more and more software companies are putting their software in the cloud and making you pay monthly or yearly subscription fees, consider buying a perpetual license if they offer it because you usually save money in the long-run. For instance, Microsoft pushes their reoccurring 365 subscription for their Office suite (starting at $69.99 per year) but you can still buy a license that you own forever with a one-time purchase (as low as $129.99).

Don’t fall for tech scams: There are tons of scams out there on the computer and phones. If something doesn’t sound right, stop and call a local computer shop like us. Remember, even if they say they’re from Microsoft, Windows, Apple or another popular corporation, a legit company will never call you unsolicited saying your computer, Internet, or an online account has issues. Plus, a legit company never pops up on your computer screen saying to call them or plays an alert message through the speakers saying to call them. These are common scams.

Ensure your computer and devices are secured and backed up: Staying better protected means you might avoid a costly disaster later. For computers, ensure you have an active antivirus running, and consider an extra malware scanner as well. If you have important documents, photos, or other files you don’t want to lose than ensure they are regularly backed up to an external hard drive and/or online. For mobile devices, ensure the remote and backup services from Google or Apple is activated in case it becomes lost or stolen.

Eric Geier is the owner of On Spot Techs, a computer repair and IT services company offering on-site service at homes and businesses in the Dayton and Springfield areas and also a storefront at 4732 S. Dixie Dr. in Moraine. For more information, visit www.onspottechs.com or call 937-315-0286.

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