Guest Post: Is Technology Killing Your Budget?

Guest Post by Dawn Lopez

Everywhere you  look , the latest technology is there tempting you to spend, spend and spend some more.  The latest cell phones, laptops, gps units, mp3 players, flat screen televisions never mind all of the subscription services purchased in conjunction with these items.  Then, the contracts, those scary contracts! How long are you locked in?

What is the point of it all? To get you to fork over your paycheck, that is the bottom line. Its not enough that you just purchased the best cell phone on the market, because guess what? Tomorrow there will be an even better one. You better believe it.  The question is, how can you break the cycle? Stay in tune with this generation, yet keep grounded and more green in your wallet?  Its all about self control and moderation.

You could wipe it all out and live like a caveman or you could take a more realistic approach. First, take inventory. Figure out how much you spent on technology over the last year. Does that number shock you? If so, its time to tackle the issue.  Here are a few tips to get you rolling down the right path:

Set a technology budget for yourself.

Focus on necessity and move away from luxury.

Weed out what you don’t really need.

Pick one or two main focuses for advanced technology must haves and be flexible with the rest.

Plan your upgrades on your own time, not when the next best thing comes out.

Most importantly, don’t sign any more contracts! Consider their motive for wanting to lock you in! Again, your hard earned bucks. Don’t get sucked in, its time to take control of every aspect of your budget, you can do it!

Dawn is a newly married mother of one son, 3 cats and a dog. She loves sharing money saving tips, product reviews and fun giveaways on her blog Just Married with Coupons. 

Are you interested in guest posting on Family Friendly Frugality? Please email me heather @ familyfriendlyfrugality.com. I’m looking for anything in the family friendly/frugal niche, but specifically how-to’s, DIY posts and RECIPES! Must be original content not posted elsewhere.

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Heather

Heather is the creator and owner of Family Friendly Frugality. She calls Texas home and is married to her best friend. With 2 children 22 months apart, she has her hands full. So full that she decided to start blogging as a hobby. That hobby blew up into a full time job. Now she's got the husband, the kids and the blog. We're not exactly sure what she was thinking, but she's too busy for us to ask. Find Me On Google + View all posts by Heather

4 thoughts on “Guest Post: Is Technology Killing Your Budget?”

  1. I am so glad you posted on this subject. I was working in credit counseling after doing many years in the mortgage industry, so I see the nitty gritty about how people handle their money. Indeed too much money spent on technology, and then nothing left over to pay the house payment, utilities, and groceries. Where ?

    *Too many cell phones in the family. (one kid had 4 cell phones)

    *Buying too many cable channels ! (And I bet you only use about 10-12)

    *Overpriced Internet Service. Sometimes you are paying for higher speed, but really the higher speed depends on a lot of other factors. It pays to shop around for different services and they do not have to be “name brand”. You may have some local companies in your yellow pages under “Internet” or “Computers” that offer great service at a much lower price.

    Buy the way, did you know that most Public Libraries have public computer s ? So if you don’t use it that much, you can probably cut the Internet bill. And also look for a branch library closer to your home. You may not even know it is there. (Just don’t send the kids to the library alone, and teach them about “stranger dangers”.

    Do you really need an IPhone ? Or is just for play ?
    I’ll be honest with you. I see more people using cell phone minutes up and adding to the cost just for personal conversations about ‘small talk”. Learn to keep conversations short, to the point, and only as really necessary.

    One more thing. Do you really have to have the latest car ? Does your family need 3 cars and 2 pick up trucks ?

    I remember when all we had were 1 house phone, 1 family car, sometimes 2 after mom went to work, 1 t.v. and on an antenna instead of paying cable…(Did you know if you get a “converter box” for your t.v. you can access digital channels for free without paying for cable or satellite ?

    And those credit cards…..Anything above 12% interest – get rid of. A credit card is a loan. A mortgage is a loan. A car payment is a loan. Equity Line of Credit is a loan.
    Personal loans are loans. Just how many loans do you have ? You might be able to consolidate, but be careful with this. The wrong consolidation program, the wrong “type of loan, and the wrong interest rate and term can lead to a worse problem. You really need to learn about financing and what is good, what is bad and do the math.

    Then all those trips to your favorite department store ? Do you need, I mean REALLY NEED every pretty color, gadget, bargain ?

    I will tell you what I did. I had taken a job making more than I ever had, but still found my finances shorter than I expected. So I placed an empty envelop in the front seat of my car. Every receipt for the month went into that envelope. If I bought a snack at McDonalds, I made sure I got my receipt (write what you bought and the amount down on scratch paper if you didn’t). If I bought even one little piece of .5 cent gum, I put that receipt in the envelope. I did this routine for 3 months. At the end of each month I sat down with my receipts and my paycheck stubs and bankbook. I first added up my take home pay. I subtracted out my necessaries (rent, car payment, car insurance, utilities). Then looked at what I had left over and wrote it down. Then I looked at my necessary groceries versus my unnecessary groceries (too many beverages, snack foods, etc). I calculated the necessary groceries and subtracted them out of my take home pay. Then after this I looked at any unnecessary or silly purchases. I added up my not so important or and not needed expenditures.

    I found an extra $200 month (mostly fast food and convenience store stops for beverages when the store was right by home where I could have gotten a drink)

    So what would you do with an extra $200 a month that would really help you out of your financial stress ? Save it ? Take some job skill classes to get a better paying job ? Invest it ? Buy some life insurance or health insurance ? Pay off some loans ?

    Now more than ever Americans need to get smart and save.

  2. My husband and I realized that we were spending an extra $40/month on my smart phone. I’m a stay at home mom and it’s really not necessary for me to have a phone that does…EVERYTHING. When we bought our mini van, we had to cut corners so the first place we did was on our cell phone bill. I now have just a regular cell phone that we got from his parents (It’s 3 years old). It works perfectly well for what I need it to do. I don’t miss my smart phone at all.

    AND? We were able to cut corners in other areas too so our mini van payment is a wash! We’re not feeling the sting of another car payment at all.

    1. That’s awesome! I have to admit, I rely on my smart phone for work…so I’m not sure I could do without it!

      however, it’s definitely not a need. So if we had to, it would be GONE!

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