Happy 2011, everyone. This is the time of year so many people like to make resolutions. I, personally, resolved several years ago not to make any more New Year's resolutions, and so far, that is the ONLY resolution I have ever been able to keep! So much for that.
"Resolution," or not, however, a lot of people are trying to save money on monthly expenses these days. Technology, while awesome, can become a bottomless money pit in a very short period of time. Between home and online gaming, cable or satellite TV, internet, PCs, laptops, phones, and internet service and/or wi-fi for the mobile devices - that technology monster can get out of control in a hurry.
In addition to monthly service costs, having to keep up with purchasing, maintenance, and insurance for all of these devices can be time-consuming. Also, carrying around a laptop, a notebook, an e-book reader, a mobile phone, etc., can be heavy and cumbersome - not to mention dangerous in high-crime areas. But there are ways to tame that monster, get those expenses out of control, lighten that load, and get your life back.
Which steps you take will depend on your and your family's needs and your lifestyle, as well as the services available in your location. These are just some things to consider.
Photos - most camera phones take really good photos and videos now, and with the phone, your photos can instantly be uploaded to any web-based photo/video storage site. On your next vacation, consider whether you really NEED that digital camera.
Cable/Satelite - Depending on the service in your area, you may be able to get most of your favorite TV programs online, and your movies delivered through your gaming device (Wii, PSP, etc.). If you're using your cable provider for internet service, your mobile phone provider may have "tethering" service available at an affordable rate, so that you can use your phone as a wireless modem instead.
Kindle/iPad/Nook - As we discussed last week, e-Books can now be read on just about any computer or smart phone, so there's no need to carry an extra device just for this. Of course, if you're replacing your laptop with the e-Book reader, because you've discovered that was the only reason you were carrying the laptop, then...good job!
Phones - There's really no need to have a landline AND a mobile phone these days. If you need a second phone line, there are plenty of VOIP options available - many of them free (Skype, Good voice, etc.). If you're like me, you've given up carrying a laptop around most of the time because the smart phone handles most of what I was doing on that, anyway - and I haven't had a landline in YEARS.
There are so many options, and no one formula is going to work for everyone, or for every family. The important thing to think about is whether or not you're duplicating your efforts and services, and paying for those services more than once - then eliminate what you can live without. What are some ways you've found to lighten your load, and tame that technology monster?
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking.