Affording technology

( – Modern technology, especially digital communication, can work out to be very expensive. In the prevailing difficult and uncertain economic times, it pays to be frugally smart in optimising the use of technology. Today, let us take a look at some smart moves.

Let us start with your landline telephone service: If you own a smartphone and a mobile telephone service, is the landline service essential? To what extent would giving up your landline service be disruptive to your life? Are not your contacts trying to reach you directly?

Do your contacts know your mobile number? How likely are you to miss a call that would normally have reached you by the landline service if you depend solely on your mobile service? Are there other people in the same home whom may be disadvantaged by the removal of the landline service?

Your examination of each of these questions will guide the extent to which you can avoid the cost of having a landline service as well as a mobile service. Then the mobile service provides the added advantage that, with a smartphone, you can negotiate instant messages at nominal cost through applications such as text, WhatsApp, or an email service which is linked into your smartphone once you can access the Internet or 4G facility. These applications can be accessed across all types of smartphones.

Next, let us consider reducing the cost of making overseas calls with your smartphone: With the advent of the Voice over Internet Protocol, VoIP, a smartphone can be used to access systems such as Skype, Vonage, or Magic Jack, for example, in order to place overseas calls at a fraction of the cost of the local telecommunications provider.

Furthermore, if the sender and receiver of an overseas call both use the Skype platform, for instance, the call will be free. You just have to get to know and use the money saving technology that is available in order to exploit such savings.

No need to be afraid of new technology; basic information and step-by-step video presentations via the YouTube channel can provide you with all the information you need to save money through the latest technological development. For example, there is a growing band of the technologically savvy people on the Apple platform who can move even beyond the need for a landline service, or a smartphone through the use of applications like FaceTime on the Internet with their computer or tablet device.

Unfortunately, the use of FaceTime to interact with the rest of the world is not as likely to be as effective because FaceTime is limited to the Apple platform. So, FaceTime contact information is not as readily available or useful as the mobile phone contact information. With the proliferation of mobile phone, applications such as WhatsApp and Skype are way popular by far compared to other applications.

That brings us neatly around to your cable service and video rental: There are a range of devices and online solutions that provide access to cable network broadcasts and/or a wide variety movie material at little or no cost.

If you have not heard of the Roku Streaming Stick device or the G-Box yet, go to you YouTube channel and gather information and directions on their use. The same YouTube channel also provides movies along with many other websites like Netflix and Hulu.

Technology can be affordable once you use it smartly and there is a wealth of explanatory information available to you through YouTube. So, get with it!

(Louise Fairsave is a personal financial management adviser, providing practical advice on money and estate matters. Her advice is general in nature; readers should seek advice about their specific circumstances. This column is sponsored by the Barbados Workers’ Union Co-op Credit Union Ltd).

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