When most people think of technology, what comes to mind is often the way that technology has improved our lifestyles. However, many people don’t realize that there is also an intersection between technology and finance. I’ve found that the advances in technology has drastically helped me improve my finances. Properly used, there are many ways that technology can help you improve your finances, from saving to investing and earning extra money.
In the last several years, I’ve been able to use several different methods with current technology to improve my financial situation. Current technology has given me the ability to improve on money saving techniques, given me access to various investment tools and opportunities and has provided me opportunities to earn extra money online.
Here are some of the ways that modern technology has helped me improve my finances:
How Technology Can Save You Money
While it’s easy to get caught up in the latest newfangled device and run out and spend a lot of money, you can also save a lot of money using the latest devices as well. If you look around, you can find many examples of how technology and finance intersect to help people save, invest and earn better every day.
- Hybrid cars help many commuters save on gas.
- Solar power can help you save on electricity.
- Tankless water heaters can help you save on power and water.
- Voip can help you save on your phone bill
- Internet TV can help you save on Cable bills.
These are just a few ways that modern technology is helping people save on money.
I’ve personally researched each of these methods for my household and have saved a ton of money utilizing just a couple of these methods.
Here’s just a couple of examples of technology and finance in my own household:
I cut the cord on television. Previously, I had satellite television through dish network. However, I was paying through the nose just for basic television. I had already cut my bill from about $80 a month to $40 a month and was then getting the bare minimum. It was ridiculous. They charged me just to get local television and then when I tried to cut the local channels, they charged me to not have the local channels.
Eventually, I realized that it just wasn’t worth it. I could get all the local channels for free over the air with a simple antennae. And I could watch anything else I wanted through the internet using netflix and a variety of other channels.
So, I cancelled cable. I did purchase a Roku XDS so that I could connect netflix and other channels to my TV. Now I can get high quality HD channels streamed to my television and the only fee I’m paying is $8 a month to netflix. Believe me, it really saved on my bottom line.
I also cut the cord on traditional land line phone service. Traditional landline service is absolutely outrageous when compared to VOIP. (Internet phone) The traditional phone company charges extra fees for everything from call waiting to caller ID. With these other standard services, the phone company was charging me almost $40 a month for regular service. Not to mention expensive long distance fees.
I eventually changed over to Vonage, which is an excellent service for VOIP. Though, they still charged me almost $20 a month. These days, I use a service called Ooma. Ooma is a free internet phone service provider. (They just started collecting taxes on their service in my area which is less than $4 a month, but it’s still a bargain)
Ooma is awesome! I was able to simply port my number over, so that nobody else even knew the difference. The sound quality is just as good as a traditional landline. And their basic free service includes caller ID, call waiting, digital voicemail, etc…
Between cutting the cord on both television and phone service, I’m saving roughly $70 a month. That makes a huge difference when you are supporting a family!
That’s just a couple of examples. Lately, I’ve also been researching how installing solar panels on my house and getting a hybrid car may save me money in electricity and gas as well.
Though, I do recommend taking out a calculator with some of these other methods and seeing how much the upfront costs will be offset by the long term savings. Depending on how much you travel and how much electricity your home uses, it may not make sense for everyone.
How Technology Can Help You Invest Your Money
The internet and the free access of information has really helped me invest my money more wisely and has given me access to many more investment opportunities.
The most basic way that my investment portfolio has improved due to technology is that it’s given me so much access to information. When I review prospective stock picks these days, I can look up a company’s entire financial profile and generally make a more informed decision.
In addition, I use an internet brokerage through Ingdirect, which charges me a much lower rate in fees. If you don’t have a lot of money to invest, they also don’t require the standard $2000 minimum to open an account like many brick and mortar brokers used to.
However, no matter how much knowledge you have, the stock market these days are still volatile. However, there are many other ways to invest money that has become available due to technology.
The last couple of years, peer to peer lending has become a new method for individuals to invest money in each other. Individual borrowers can become matched up with private lenders through peer to peer lending companies like Lending Club or prosper. The lender will earn a return based on the interest rate charged on the loan.
I’ve been investing with Lending Club for over a year and earning annual returns of over 17% based on the interest rate charged to the borrowers. I’m a big fan of this new method of investing. I like Lending Club a lot as you can tell and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone looking for new investments.
The other advantage with peer to peer lending is that they are generally free to open an account. (In the case of lending club, they pay you a 2% bonus of your initial deposit) Also, the lending threshold is low at a minimum of $25 a loan. That way you can diversify your risk across several loans.
Beyond peer to peer lending, I’m also learning how to invest forex. This is a method of investing in the foreign exchange. In the past, ready access to the normal investor has been difficult with some of these alternative type investments. Plus, you generally don’t want to put your money into learning about an investment that you may not understand.
However, the internet has provided more access to these different investments. I was able to open a free forex trading account with eToro. And I’ve been using their free tools to practice trading forex. eToro allows you to open a practice account for free and then practice trading with $10,000 in practice money. This way you can learn without risking any real money.
In the past, I remember learning with a calculator, a paper spreadsheet and the newspaper. We would use practice money and try and track our investments ourselves in order to learn. With modern technology, I have access to free webinars, and practice tools that can enhance my learning.
All I can say is that peer to peer lending has made me richer over the last year and technology has given me the opportunity to really explore new investments while limiting my risk.
How Technology Can Help You Make Extra Money
Technology has also provided the means for people to make money as well. The greatest thing for a modern entrepreneur is that the internet provides incredible access to more customers.
Even tools such as a simple auction site like ebay or an online classified site like craigslist has provided incredible income potential.
My cousin currently shops for discounts and then resells those items on ebay for a profit. Her method feeds both her shopping addiction, while at the same time making extra money for her. She’s able to earn several hundred dollars a month using this method without even creating a website.
Many people buy and sell things on ebay or craigslist for a profit.
Beyond that, writers are able to quickly create digital ebooks and sell them on Amazon. If you know a little bit about technology you can utilize your skills to start blogging or even create an ecommerce website.
These days, you actually don’t even need to be tech savvy to create a website. It’s cheap and easy to get started. You can even create a free website through blogger or wordpress and start monetizing your site for free.
It’s absolutely amazing the opportunity that the internet and current technology has provided. You can take a hobby that you like and find easy ways to start writing or creating a product around that hobby to make extra money.
I started this blog just over a year ago. My overhead consists of $6 a month in hosting fees. The last couple of months, this blog has been earning between $600-$1000 a month. While it did take hard work to write and blog daily and slowly build things up, it has been absolutely awesome to have the opportunity to build something up to this level with virtually no overhead.
While it’s not easy, the awesome thing is that this opportunity is available to anyone with internet access. Heck, you can even just go to the local library and use the internet there if you don’t have it in your house! A few years ago, these opportunities wouldn’t exist for most people. Before the internet, one would have to open a brick and mortar store to start their own business. They have to pay thousands per month in rent and other overhead expenses.
Technology has given us the ability to open and start a business for less than $10 a month! It’s an unprecedented opportunity!
Not only that, but the internet allows us to run our new business on our own time. The storefront is always open. You can work on your website an hour a day before and after your normal job and it can still be a successful business.
There’s no other opportunity like it.
These are just a few examples of how technology and finance are working for me. Technology lays the foundation for opportunity. Don’t think of it as just another way to improve your lifestyle. While getting that huge big screen TV is nice, don’t forget that technology is also a powerful tool. You can find many ways to use current technology to improve your finances.
Explore the ways that you can improve your finances by saving smarter through technology. Take advantage of new investing tools. And maybe even learn how to make extra money online. The opportunities are endless!