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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How to send a text message from your computer
Awesome apps for forgetful people

Written by Amelia Theodorakis

A writer and communications specialist with eight years’ in startups, SMEs, not-for-profits and corporates. Interests and expertise in gender studies, history, finance, banking, human interest, literature and poetry.

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