Tech smarts: 5 silly ways you’re flushing money down the toilet

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For a columnist and national radio show host focused on technology, you might be surprised how often I’m asked about money. 

It makes sense. We spend a ton of money on gadgets, and there’s always something new and shiny. Before you spring for a new phone, give yours this deep clean. You’ll be surprised what a difference it makes. 

When you do upgrade, don’t let your old tech sit around. Sell it and make some cash. Tap or click for sites better than Craigslist for offloading computers, phones, wearables and more

Let’s keep the savings train running. Here are five mistakes you might be making that will cost you. 

1. You forget to cancel before the free trial ends 

Free trials are great to binge a season of a show or catch a movie — but only if you remember to cancel before you’re charged. It’s easy to tell yourself you’ll remember, but most of us don’t. 

Here are a few rules to remember: 

  • If you don’t use the service much during the trial period or feel the price is not worth the service, cancel immediately. In most cases, you will have access for the remainder of the trial period.
  • When you sign up, put a reminder in your phone or calendar app a week or so before the trial expires. Schedule a backup reminder, too, the day before the trial ends.

Tap or click here for the easy way to set a reminder on your Android, iPhone, or Google Calendar

2. You pay for a bunch of apps 

Speaking of recurring subscriptions, maybe you signed up for an app that only charges a few bucks a month. “Sure,” you thought. “I’ll meditate every day, so this is totally worth $2.99 a month!” 

Streaming Mobile Apps

Streaming Mobile Apps
(iStock)

Over time, those monthly fees add up. You should regularly check to see what you’re paying for and make sure you still need it. 

To see all the apps you’re paying for on your iPhone, do this: 

  • Open the App Store app and sign in if you aren’t already.
  • Tap your profile picture or initials, then tap Subscriptions.
  • Select the app you want to cancel and choose Cancel Subscription.

To see all the apps you’re paying for on an Android, do this: 

  • Open your device’s Settings app.
  • Tap Google > Manage your Google Account.
  • Select Payments & subscriptions.
  • Under Subscriptions, you will see a list of apps you pay for and the next date you’ll be charged.
  • To cancel, tap Manage subscriptions, then choose the app subscription you want to remove. Choose Cancel subscription at the bottom of the page.

SAVE EVEN MORE: 5 apps that will save you money on things you’re already buying 

3. You skimp where you shouldn’t 

Being cheap can be expensive. It’s easy to find charging cables that only cost a few bucks, but don’t expect them to last long. 

Even worse, cheap charging cords can be dangerous. One girl woke up to her bed in flames after her charger caught fire. If you’re shopping for a phone charger or replacement cable, get an official or certified cable. When it comes to third-party options, choose a reputable company like Anker or Belkin. 

Etsy.com, $60 Battery and phone chargers could be the most mundane-looking pieces of technology. But they don't have to be.

Etsy.com, $60 Battery and phone chargers could be the most mundane-looking pieces of technology. But they don’t have to be.
(Maleigha Ornelia | Blingspirations)

4. You’re paying for Photoshop and Word 

Usually, you get what you pay for. Sometimes, though, talented developers create useful apps that work just as well as the most popular paid software. 

Consider LibreOffice, Focus Writer, or Google Docs for an alternative to Microsoft Word. Get direct links to those and other options here

Photoshop is powerful, but you might not need everything it offers. Canva makes it easy to make quick photo edits and graphics. GIMP is a solid Photoshop copycat. Tap or click here for the pros and cons of all the popular Photoshop alternatives

Bottom line: Do your research before you shell out money on an expensive program. Here are nine free software copycats that work better than expensive programs

5. You forget to check for promo codes 

If you’re shopping online without using a browser extension or third-party site to help you score discounts, you’re paying too much. 

  • Capital One Shopping provides easy coupon codes that instantly apply to your cart at checkout.
  • The Camelcamelcamel extension track price drops on Amazon, so you don’t have to keep refreshing.
  • The Honey browser extension can help you search for coupons across more than 30,000 websites. It can also auto-apply discounts right when you check out.

You can even set a Google Alert if there’s a specific product you want. This is worth it if you’re making a big purchase. To do that: 

  • Go to Google.com/alerts and login if you aren’t already.
  • In the search box, type in the product name and a word like “sale” or “discount.”
  • Click the pencil icon to edit the alert. Here, you can choose how often you want to receive alerts, sources, etc.
  • To finish, click Update alert.

Keep your tech smarts growing. Listen to my podcasts, too. 

PODCAST PICK: Apple Watch video calls, $30 smart TV trick, free cable perks 

Do you forget to update your passwords? Now, Google Assistant can take care of that for you. Plus, TikTok will start sharing ad revenue with creators and the new Apple Watch band adds video calling. In this episode, you’ll learn how to turn your old TV into a smart TV for $30. I’ll also share the best free perks you get with your cable subscription. 

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Explains” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player. 

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.” 

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television, or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts. 

Copyright 2022, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved. By clicking the shopping links, you’re supporting my research. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products I believe in. 

Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters, and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

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