24th Sep 2015
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Five ways to reduce computing costs
Five ways to reduce computing costs

For many Australians living on a fixed income, purchasing and maintaining a computer can become quite costly. So, we share five ways you can save when using technology.

Consider the hardware
As with cars, a computer loses its value the moment you bring it home from the shop. One way to save money on future computer purchases is to consider buying second hand. Websites such as eBay, Trading Post and Deals Direct specialise in dealing with second hand and refurbished computers that work as new. Even Apple sells refurbished Macs. The best part is the majority of these computers will come preloaded with expensive add-on software, such as Microsoft Office, and you’ll be given a 12-24 month warranty on the product.

Save power, save your computer
As computers have become faster and more advanced, their fans and processors require more power to operate. The cost of running the average computer has risen significantly in recent years, and even $2 per day is a lot of wasted money over the space of a year. So instead of leaving your computer on overnight, shut it down. Turning the computer off could also mean increasing its lifespan.

Bundling plans
Bundling is the process of combining your phone, internet and mobile bills into one plan. When bundling your plans together, the company will reward your loyalty with a discount usually ranging between 10-25 per cent, depending upon the provider. However, before committing to a bundled package, review what your needs are and don’t allow yourself to be talked into purchasing a plan that is far beyond your actual data needs.

Free software
Why pay for expensive software if there is a free alternative? When purchasing a new or used computer, you may be asked to purchase ‘essential’ software such as Microsoft Office or Norton’s antivirus software. While these programs are useful for everyday computing, there are free alternatives available. Even non-essential software such as Adobe Photoshop has free alternatives. It’s all about searching Google and trialling the programs that will suit you.

Keep it clean
Similar to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, maintaining the ‘health and fitness’ of your computer will enable it to operate more efficiently, reduce the risk of a fatal ‘heart attack’ and could also (minimally) reduce your power bill. Every year, you should take the time to thoroughly clean your hardware, including inside the case. By removing the dust from inside the computer case, you are easing the load on the fan. Cleaning your software is also important. Ensure you have a firewall and antivirus scanner installed at all times and perform a weekly scan for viruses. Reducing the number of icons on your desktop can also speed up your computer significantly. 

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    COMMENTS

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    6th Jul 2016
    11:05am
    My wife and I both send and receive a lot of emails everyday, as well as download a few movies a week and the occasional pdf, but have a terabyte of data a month, so usage is it an issue. What I do find a good practice is clearing our mailboxes each day and deleting movies and files which are no longer needed. We have ADSL2 and don't experience and undo slowness - a cleaner slate possibly being the reason.
    GrayComputing
    6th Jul 2016
    11:20am
    The forced switchover to high cost NBN plans is now under way.
    Please note that the NBN has no provision for a low cost plan for pensioners and for people with low data usages.
    The theory of the user pays does not seem to apply to NBN plans.
    So instead all of us will be forced into subsidising the NBN bandwidth hogs at our expense.
    A call for the ACC to investigate this NBN rorting must be made a priority
    Thankful
    6th Jul 2016
    1:58pm
    My wife and I are pensioners.
    I have done a lot of research for the best deals, and agree that if all anyone wants is email there a very few offers. Bundling is certainly the way to go.

    Before NBN we paid $49.95 per month for 10GB of data (which we exceeded in the occasional month),
    landline and all calls including to mobiles.
    With GST we pay $49.99 per month for 100GB data, landline and all calls including to mobiles.
    We need a landline for NBN (wireless is very unreliable) which would have cost us $39.99. However, as it only cost an extra $10 to include all calls, a bargain, it was silly not to go with that.

    As a couple we are well able to afford this. A single pensioner may find this more than they want to pay.
    An alternative is only using a mobile phone, which can cost $20 per month with 1GB data and $400 calls included and is suitable for emails. This might be a bit tight but OK for very small users.


    So we are actually better off.
    particolor
    6th Jul 2016
    4:17pm
    Well that was Great Reading and I've been Bundled with Telstra forever ! But is time to go !! The best deal they can offer a Pensioner (Bundled) is around $110 a Month ?? The Service is Shocking and SLOW and getting WORSE :-( :-( Seeing that Pensioners cant get 2 Bob out those Galahs Upstairs to keep up with the Forever RISING Cost of Anything I've had enough and will dump the lot soon !! :-( :-(
    Please tell us where You found this Benevolent Service you have ! :-)
    I've rang the lot and when You factor in their Wonderful Deals and Add line Rental and Mobile Your still in S*i*t*rs Ditch :-)
    Anonymous
    7th Jul 2016
    8:47am
    Thanks GC, but we are YEARS from getting NBN via cable, as advised by the NBN themselves, so may be dead by them. They can install it for themselves where the sun doesn't shine!
    Ted Wards
    7th Jul 2016
    8:53am
    particolor find your local broadband for seniors kiosk and use that as much as you can. bfseniors.com.au
    Ted Wards
    6th Jul 2016
    1:46pm
    If your over 65 and don't want to own a computer but have regular access for free apart from libraries you can also use Broadband for Seniors kiosks. If you Google Broadband for seniors you'll be able to find a free kiosk near you. For instance, we are based at Woolloongabba in Brisbane and when we are not teaching people, members can access the computers for as long as they want at no charge. We can also teach you for free thanks to funding from the Commonwealth Government. Broadband for Seniors is Australia wide and is hosted by organisations but run by volunteers or you can elect to do the on line modules. We teach one on one and tailor it to your needs and we also can assist with tablets, IPADS, smart phones and teach apps like skpe and so on.
    SunnyPaula
    6th Jul 2016
    3:09pm
    thanks Ted Wards. I am interested in your information regarding teaching seniors in computer matters. I live in Cornubia, about 30 kms from Brisbane centre but can travel in. I am contemplating changing my computer, which currently runs on Windows XP, and purchasing a new one with bells and whistles and Windows 10. I was wondering how I could find some sort of tutor or class which I could attend in order to help me find my way around my new computer and Windows 10, plus an upgraded Microsoft Office including Excel. Any further information you could provide me would be appreciated.
    Ted Wards
    6th Jul 2016
    3:41pm
    If you go to http://bfseniors.com.au/for-seniors/find-a-kiosk/ and type in your postcode youll get a heap. Ive copied and pasted below the links I got they havent come out very well.
    Oxfordcrest Seniors Village
    3.4 km145 Fryar RoadEAGLEBY, QLD 4207AUSTRALIADirections
    Southern Cross Care (QLD) Inc. - Connolly Court Hostel
    6.1 km20 Loane DriveEDEN'S LANDING, QLD 4207AUSTRALIADirections
    Regal Waters Residents Association
    6.4 km16 Holzeimer RoadBETHANIA, QLD 4205AUSTRALIADirections
    Beenleigh RSL
    6.7 km13 Bardyn Halliday DriveMT WARREN PARK, QLD 4207AUSTRALIA07 3287 4000Directions
    Mexibrook Pty Ltd, Upstream Bethanie Clubhouse
    7.2 km41 Radke RoadBETHANIE, QLD 4205AUSTRALIADirections
    Jeta Gardens (QLD) Pty Ltd
    7.8 km27 Clarendon AvenueBETHANIA, QLD 4205AUSTRALIADirections
    Loganlea Community Centre
    9.7 km32 Timms StreetLOGANLEA, QLD 4131AUSTRALIA07 3805 8260Directions
    Ted Wards
    6th Jul 2016
    3:42pm
    I can look up phone numbers for you if you dont have access Sunny Palua.
    Ted Wards
    6th Jul 2016
    3:48pm
    We are based at Woollongabba and have an excellent tutor on a Tuesday who can give you quite a lot of time. You are welcome to bring in your laptop to work on that if you like or we have a windows 10 computer here to access. We find it more effective if you can bring in your own so that whatever we show you is the same. Sometimes we find that if you use ours, you go home to use yours it might be very different and people get upset. There is also no limit on how many times you visit us.


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