It seems that people are always looking for ways to save money, whether by installing the latest energy efficient furnace or clipping coupons for the weekly grocery run; but there are many ways that technology is already saving people money, even if they don’t make use of those services. These benefits accrue for everyone in the country who uses any competing service as well. As technology drives forward and develops even more, the prices of today’s top shelf items will drop and become accessible in size and price to more and more people. In the early days of air conditioning, for instance, only large businesses like movie theaters could afford it, but now families can go to their local big box store and purchase an in-window unit for less than $100. Technology regularly improves quality of life and entertainment.
1. Cell Phones
Most people today have their own cell phone and many are able to eliminate their landline because of it. Even if they still have a home phone line, their cell phone allows them to quickly communicate through text messaging or, if they have a smart phone, through email and social media. Add to that the ability to call from nearly anywhere in the country and you can see that, though there’s a monthly expense for the device, they save people money by allowing them to call for help when their car breaks down or alert the authorities in an emergency. Cell phones can even help save lives.
2. Video Streaming
Services like Netflix and Hulu allow you to watch what you want when you want it without charging you an arm and a leg or bundling in other services. Even those who don’t make use of video streaming services benefit from it by the increased competition with cable and satellite television companies. As those websites become more popular, there’s increased pressure on traditional entertainment companies to compete with similar products, giving consumers more freedom than ever before.
3. Shipping technologies
This is one area where few people have direct contact, but if affects them just the same. Nearly every product available in every store in the country is shipped there via semi-trailer. Maintaining a large fleet of trucks, driving them across the country regularly and moving millions of tons of freight regularly is an expensive endeavor. Things such as a fuel management system and GPS help companies make their services more efficient, keeping shipping costs low. Consumers, in turn, benefit from the lowered costs of shipping by paying less at the register for their items. Every time prices in shipping and delivery see a spike, food prices and the prices of other goods go up as well.
Technology is an integral part of our lives, helping us stay connected to the world at large and keeping us entertained. What we often don’t consider, though, is how technology can save us money even if we don’t’ make use of a particular service. It will be interesting to see what marvels come down the line to make everyday life more affordable.