10 Things Not To Buy in 2015
Do you make New Year's resolutions? It's a good time to set goals, and since everyone wants to save money, I've got a list of ten things you don't need to buy in the coming year. Some you can get for free, some have much cheaper alternatives, and some are just completely unnecessary. Check out my list and see how much you can save in 2015...
Save Some Cash in 2015!
Evey year I make the same resolution: Gain forty pounds and start smoking. So far, I've failed every year on both counts, and that's a good thing. But I do like to save money. Like car insurance, routine tech expenditures should be reviewed annually to see if a better deal has come along. Due to the forces of technology and competition, many products and services are available much cheaper or even free of charge if you're willing to accept a different way of doing things.
There are things that nobody should buy, ever, because they are not worth a nickel. Then there are things that were once valuable (or just expensive) but are rapidly becoming obsolete (or superseded) by cheaper or even free alternatives. Here is my list of things not to buy in 2015:
1: CABLE TV: The average monthly bill in the U. S. now exceeds $100, and it’s been rising 6% annually for the past decade. No wonder more than a million subscribers per month are “cutting the cable” and switching to online streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Youtube and other options that are free, or cost less than ten bucks a month. Gadgets like the Roku, Google Chromecast, and Amazon's Fire TV stick make it easy. See HOWTO: Connect Your PC to TV, Wirelessly!
2: MUSIC: Long gone are the days when we trekked to the music store to buy vinyl records. Even CDs have seen their day come and go, now that digital music stores like iTunes, Amazon Music, and Google Play offer a la carte downloads for about a buck. But I've found that my needs are satisfied by free online music streaming services like Slacker, Pandora, Spotify and iHeartRadio.
3: BRAND-NAME PRINTER INK: OEM (original equipment manufacturer, or brand-name) printer ink cartridges can be a huge rip-off. A single black cartridge, rated for less than 1,000 pages, can cost $60 at an office supply store! Remanufactured ink cartridges cost less than $20 each from uncountable small suppliers. You may have to deal with false “out of genuine ink” warnings from OEM software, but you can click them away while counting your savings. Contrary to rumors perpetuated by OEMs, using non-OEM ink cartridges does not void your printer’s warranty. See The Truth About Discount Ink Cartridges.
4: CREDIT MONITORING and/or identity theft protection programs offer peace of mind, but that may already be yours for free. Most banks offer limitations of liability for unauthorized card charges. Many offer free transaction alerts via email and SMS messages. Credit reporting agencies will “freeze” your credit history so no one can open a new line of credit unbeknown to you. (See 10 Tips: Identify Theft Protection)
And if you’re one of the hundreds of millions of Americans whose financial data has been stolen by hackers, the companies that were supposed to keep it safe routinely pay for a year’s worth of credit monitoring. Also, never pay for a credit report; learn how to get one for free whenever you need it.
5: EXTENDED WARRANTIES have been foisted onto consumers since automobile undercoatings were invented; they have always been a scam. A recent variation is the “connected device insurance” being pushed by some phone vendors and internet service providers. Read why I call these programs scams and how to insure every electronic device you own for one annual premium that’s less than your monthly Internet access charge.
6: DEDICATED FAX MACHINES make no sense for home or small business users anymore. You can send or receive faxes for free via the Internet. If you must send or receive a paper fax, all-in-one printers include fax functions and a phone jack.
7: DIGITAL CAMERAS: Clunky dedicated digital cameras are dispensable for the average consumer, and even for serious amateur photographers. The mobile phones of five years ago had wimpy 1.3 megapixel lenses, but the high-resolution cameras and photography software built into today’s smartphones and tablets are more than sufficient for non-professional uses. On the high end, the Nokia Lumia 1020 sports 41MP capability!
8: STORAGE MEDIA: Cloud storage and computing is making a lot of tech obsolete. Who needs shiny plastic CD/DVD discs these days? USB thumb drives should be avoided at all costs given recent revelations about their inherent security vulnerabilities. Every conceivable kind of software is now available as a cloud-based service; the days of downloading and installing programs locally are drawing to a close, and shrink-wrapped software is a distant memory for most people.
See also Ten Free Cloud Backup Services to learn how you can get over a TERABYTE of free online storage.
9: OFFICE SOFTWARE: Speaking of open-source software, many home users and even businesses find that they can get along just fine without Microsoft Office. Free alternatives (both traditional and cloud-based) are available. My article Alternatives to Microsoft Office will point you to the best of them.
10: ANTIVIRUS: And finally, are you still paying for internet security software? There's nothing wrong with the Norton or McAfee antivirus that came with your computer, except for the price tag. My article on Free Anti-Virus Programs will clue you in on several alternatives that provide excellent protection.
HERE'S A BONUS, which I mention last because it's not really a tech-related thing. Brand-name razor blades have been a rip-off since they were invented; the plan has always been to sell razors cheap and make immense profits on blades. Gillette's cartridges sell for around $3 each, but now there are numerous low-cost competitors available online. The Dollar Shave Club made a big splash online about two years ago, offering blades for about $1.50 per cartridge. But I learned that I could order from their supplier Dorco USA and get them for half of that.
Let 2015 be the year you stop spending money that you don’t need to spend. Review all of your frequent purchases, services, recurring subscriptions, etc., and take a good look at the free and/or lower-priced alternatives. Did I miss anything? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment about using the Internet to save money...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 31 Dec 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- 10 Things Not To Buy in 2015 (Posted: 31 Dec 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved