Whether it’s the price of the device itself, the phone or broadband bill that comes with it, or just the cost of electricity, there’s a lot of technology that drains our wallets.
However, there are ways to make technology work when trying to save money.
Many of these are completely free, and even if they require an investment, they will give you immediate benefits.
It may not protect you from the current wave of price increases, but it can help soften the blow.
After all, every small step you take to save will leave you with more money in your pocket each week.
What free tech tools can help you save money?
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The first thing people do when trying to save is to create a budget.
It’s not glamorous, but it’s the only way to know where your money is going, how much you can play with after your essentials are covered, and where you can save.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with doing it with pen and paper, but it can get tedious quickly. requires operation of the software.
A much easier option is therefore to use one of the many budget apps that exist for smartphones and tablets.
They do all the heavy lifting for you and tend to better visualize your budget so you can see what’s going on and where you are at a glance. , making it much easier to track and monitor spending.
Some of these apps also allow you to connect your bank account if you wish. This allows you to automatically keep track of what you have and what you use.
Many budgeting apps may require a subscription fee for some features or may be free to use for a trial period only.
One example is your daily budget. It’s free and packed with great features.
There is a paid upgrade option, but if you don’t want to pay, you don’t have to because the features they add are just extras, not basic.
My budget is full. What next?
Well, it’s all about trying to find ways to shave whatever you can from your spending.
TooGoodToGo and Olio are two apps that primarily focus on reducing food waste, but they also save you money.
TooGoodToGo enables shops, cafes and restaurants to sell their surplus food at deep discounts.
See what’s available near you, order and pick up in minutes.
The problem is that I don’t know exactly what I’m getting, but the shop I’m trying to buy from gives me an idea.
This could serve as a way to get cheaper meals here and there, or fresh baked goods for the next few days.
Olio, on the other hand, allows you to donate your surplus items, such as food and household items, to your neighbors.
This means you can share items that you know are unavailable.
But it turns out that much of what is on offer is also from Tesco. Tesco has partnered with the app to make surplus but modern food available to people for free at the end of the day.
When it comes to supermarkets, if you’re a member of one of the grocery chain’s loyalty schemes, all apps are on offer. With them, you can easily make sure you have the coupons and vouchers offered to you when you’re at the cash register.
There are also apps like Vouchercloud that bring together various offers and vouchers from various retailers across the country.
The key to getting the most out of your voucher is to only use it on things you already plan to buy. If you shop just because you have a coupon, you’re not saving money.
However, if you’re planning on making a purchase, it’s worth checking out these apps to see if they have any vouchers that can help bring the cost down a bit.
Also, check out Pricepy, a price comparison service when making big purchases.
They no longer have Ireland-specific comparisons, but you can look at UK or mainland Europe comparisons that are generally available to Irish consumers as well.
What if you’re trying to stop spending money online?
One of the curses of technology is that it has become too easy to spend money.
But again, you can use it to your advantage and try to curb that urge.
Of course, nothing can replace good old self-control, but you can take steps to make the task a little easier.
For example, most new smartphones have built-in features for “screen time.” It’s designed to make it easy to limit the amount of time you spend looking at your phone or certain apps.
In it, you can set limits on how much time you can spend on the app, as well as when you can use the app.
So if you know you tend to make a few impulse purchases at night, you can set a time block in your shopping app or internet browser on your phone or tablet.
It doesn’t block access outright, but you have to click a small reminder to gain access, and it periodically reminds you that you’ve set limits on using the app.
Think of this as a small stimulus of conscience that encourages you to do the right thing.
If you want to take it a step further, you can even set your phone to turn off certain apps from your home screen at certain times of the day or when you’re in certain places.
For example, you can do this with your iPhone’s “Focus” settings.
Again, it doesn’t completely remove the app. Just make it invisible and if you want to use it you have to go find it.
It’s all about trying to make spending money a little awkward.
Electricity bills are a major concern for many today, but can technology solve the problem?
Yes, there are several ways you can use technology to reduce your bill. Some are cheap, some are free, and even if you’re spending money, you’ll get a pretty quick return on your investment.
Smart thermostats are a good example. It works like a regular thermostat, activating the boiler when the room temperature drops below a certain level, but the “smart” bits help make the heating system much more efficient.
First, you can control it from your phone or tablet, making it much easier to adjust the temperature and schedule it to suit your needs.
So whatever the advice is to turn the thermostat down a bit, now you can adjust it by the day or by the hour so you can only use what you really need.
It can also be configured remotely as it is controlled by phone. You can even set the heating to turn off completely when no one is home, but turn it on when you return home. go home freezing
Depending on the brand, the thermostat itself will cost between €100 and €200, but it’s worth checking with your power company first. This is because most of the big providers here offer their customers discounted or free smart his thermostats.
Others offer them as an incentive for users to make the switch.
If you can’t do that, you may be eligible for SEAI grants for heating control upgrades, depending on what you currently have. This is up to 700 euros for the cost.
And if you want to go all out on this, there’s a system that lets you add remote controllers to every radiator in your home, so you can manage heat room by room without getting off your couch.
However, it costs a lot of money, so it won’t save you money in the short term.
Is smart heating the only way to save money?
No, you can also save money with smart lighting.
First, smart lights are typically LEDs, the most efficient type of lighting.
Uses about 14% of the energy of halogen bulbs, which are considered environmentally friendly, commonly available in stores.
So if eco-halogens cost just over €18 a year to use on average 3 hours a day, LEDs will cost around €3.
Also, even if you wear it for half a day every day, it will last for more than 10 years.
But where smart lights can save you money is the fact that you can control them remotely from your smartphone.
That means you don’t have to rummage around the house to make sure the lights are off. With just a glance at your phone, you can turn off the unwanted from your couch.
If you have a smart speaker in your home, you can even tell the lights to turn on or off, so you can be super lazy while saving money.
It is also dimmable even without a dimmer switch, so it consumes a little less power even when the power is on.
It’s also very easy to set up to fit your schedule. You can also automate the lights so that they only turn on at sunset or turn off at midnight. You can even link them to motion detectors so they turn on or off depending on whether someone is actually in the room.
Savings of €15 per bulb per year may not seem like much, but hanging 10, 15 or more bulbs throughout your home can quickly add up to €100-200 off your annual bill. savings.
And there are additional benefits to using them besides money.
As we head into winter and the nights get longer, the ability to remotely turn the lights on and off in your home gives you added peace of mind. go out.
what about the cost?
This is a bit tricky as prices vary greatly depending on brand and type of bulb. You can also choose white-only bulbs, or bulbs that can give you a variety of different colors.
The likes of Philips are on the pricier side, but Ikea does a range from €8 for a bulb, so it’s only a few euros more than a comparable ‘dumb’ bulb.
My advice is to switch to smart bulbs when your old bulbs burn out. So don’t waste your money throwing out a bulb that is working fine now.
We also recommend sticking to recognizable brands.
There are plenty of cheap options available online, but they aren’t always particularly well made.
Where else can you make your home smarter?
Another potential energy saver is smart plugs. These work like old timer plugs with dials.
This means you can set an on/off schedule. Alternatively, you can turn it on or off via the app if you prefer.
These can be particularly useful for devices that consume power in standby mode, i.e. so-called electric vampires such as televisions, microwave ovens in game consoles, etc. These devices are said to cost a home between €180 and €200 per year.
They might be easy to forget – or maybe the plugs are a little finicky, but if you have a few of these, you can turn them all off with the push of a button.
Some of the more sophisticated smart plugs can also track how much energy you consume, which can be helpful if you’re trying to identify which devices are adding the most to your bill.