You only have to turn on the news or look online to be inundated with statements about how prices are rising, wages aren’t keeping up with inflation, and we’re facing a real squeeze on our finances. In reality, this isn’t anything new; much of the last 15 years have been categorised by financial crises, so many of us have found ways to adapt and improve our financial resilience.
Technology is a big help in this regard as it provides us with many new tools for managing our finances and cutting our spending. So if you’re looking to be a little more frugal, here are some ways that technology can give you a helping hand.
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The internet is one of the most powerful tools available to humans today as it gives us access to just about every piece of information ever created. Within that is the price data for almost any product or service you can imagine.
This means that instead of having to physically drag yourself to several shops to see which one is offering the cheapest iPhone or oven, you can simply load up a price comparison service and see a list of all the different options.
So, no matter whether you’re looking to buy new shoes, a television, insurance for your car, take out a credit card, or upgrade your mobile phone contract, use a price comparison site to save cash.
Look for Free Alternatives
Of course, saving money is great, but getting stuff for free is even better. Thankfully, the internet makes it incredibly easy to find freebies, samples, and free alternatives to otherwise paid-for services.
If you’re a music fan, then you can access a very large library of tracks and artists through a combination of different free streaming packages. Amazon Music, Spotify, Deezer, and YouTube Music all offer access to much of their content without a fee.
The same is true for games. Many quality titles can be enjoyed at no cost thanks to the free-to-play model that has become very common for online and mobile games. This includes big names like Fortnite, PUBG, Call of Duty, Forza, and even Mario Kart. Online casinos often also make their games available for free, either through free games that use play money chips or through bonuses that can be awarded to players as rewards for completed challenges or as part of promotions.
You can also find free products and samples for many other items through sites like HotUKDeals and SlickDeals, with new freebies listed every day.
Monitor Your Spending
Sometimes, the little things we spend money on can quickly add up to a much bigger (and scarier) sum. If you don’t keep a close eye on where your cash is going, you’ll almost certainly be spending far more than you imagined.
In years gone by, you used to have to travel to the bank to get a printed bank statement and then carefully review each transaction. Today, that’s not necessary as technology has made it much easier.
Some banks, particularly challenger brands and fin-tech companies, offer tools that will automatically categorise each statement line and show you easy-to-understand graphs and tables to let you see where you spend your money.
If your bank doesn’t currently offer this, then there are third-party tools you can use instead. It is worth noting here that it is important that you use a service that you trust as it involves providing access to your bank accounts. In most parts of Europe, the Open Banking protocols allow for safe ways of doing this, but the standards are different in other parts of the world.
Once you have a report on your spending, you may be alarmed at how much you spend on things like eating out, coffees, and other everyday treats. But armed with this data, you can begin to use it to make decisions. If you find you spend too much on your morning caffeine fix, you can make conscious decisions to cut down and swap it for one you make at home, or if you spend a lot on new clothes, then you can try to make fewer trips to the shops.