Four Tech Products that Save You Time and Money
Feeling frazzled with newly incorporated frugality strategies? Last couple of DIY projects and bulk shopping runs send you over the edge into loony land? I have SO been there. Here are four products we use to streamline logistics and re-channel stress into productivity.
I've mentioned our family motto more than once here on Wise Bread. Com. Is. King. A streamlined communications set up is critical to researching prices, keeping in touch with colleagues, solving problems on the road, conducting that paid telephone consult while chopping veggies for a salad, etc. While we routinely have more than our fair share of projects and issues on our plate, we do not have any more hours in the day than anyone else. Multi-tasking and time critical phone calls are key to getting things done. So how do we incorporate this philosophy without it costing the equivalent of a new kidney?
At our house, we went down to one cell phone line quite some time ago. While it hasn't been a great hardship overall, there was one area where it was still driving us bonkers. When we needed to communicate while we were out and about. Since we are both working at home and together 24-7 ninety-eight percent of the time, it's usually easy to IM each other from upstairs to down or stop by the office or corner of the house where the other one is working if we have something to communicate. When only one of us has an errand to run, the other is home with our separation anxiety poster child of a dog. So the cell phone goes with the person in the field, and the other one is home at central command with the house phone.
But when we are at two different ends of Costco, Target or three stores away from each other at a shopping plaza where we can knock out several errands with one parking job, we often need to communicate on price shifts and where the other person may be in the store at that point to avoid aimless wandering and searching for each other. Our solution? An affordable set of two-way radios that included a dual charger. They don't need to cost big bucks. In fact, our set was under thirty bucks and has an 18 mile radius. Way better than paying a minimum of that same thirty dollars every month for an extra cell phone line we only use 2-4 times per month.
Now that we are not traveling full time and no longer need our unlimited calling package, we power shopped our service plan and knocked it down to the minimum thirty dollars a month for the smallest package. Not everyone wants or needs a cell phone plan. But since we've made a commitment to maintaining communications with a consistent phone number and are comfortable with our carrier being able to tweak and adjust our plan whenever we need to.
When we are out and about or taking advantage of the unlimited weekend minutes we have with our cell plan, it's nearly always critical to have our hands free while driving, shopping, taking conference call notes, etc. When we both head out together, one of us drives and the other tries to use that time to sneak in phone calls that don't require being in front of a keyboard. This also has to be done while taking notes, pulling coupons for the person that may be running into the store, etc. Also, since we frequently write / work on biz project during the weekend, we need both lines. That being said, neither one of us has the luxury of shirking responsibilities around the house. So marathon calls need to take place while we are able to still wash the dog, deal with the dishwasher, be at the keyboard to research what's being discussed, dive head first into the washing machine to get out that last sock, etc. If this sounds like your life, consider picking out a bluetooth that fits your budget.
A cordless phone with a headset jack.
Not only can we not be tethered to a wall when we have calls to make, but for many of the reasons listed above we also can't be holding the phone between our ear and shoulder for hours at a time either. These are relatively affordable if you shop carefully.
An old fashioned wired headset.
Again, I'll refer back to the reasons listed in the bluetooth section for why we use one of these around the house. This is our shopping hack to only pay a larger amount of money for one head set, since we only need the bluetooth for the cell phone. The cool thing about these is that they can also be used with your computer when necessary. But if you need to be doing other things while on the regular phone, these are a seriously affordable way to go. I just put the cordless handset in my apron pocket and use a binder clip to keep the wire in check if I'm doing something like assembly cooking or housework where it will get in the way or get caught. As with the other items on this list, wired headsets are super affordable.
These are the pieces of “beyond the basics” equipment we use to bring multi-tasking and money saving together for a successful hybrid system at our house. Bear in mind, we spend a staggering number of hours each week on not only the internet, but phone as well. If you don't, then this list can probably be shortened for you. But while it's been slightly more quiet for the past couple of weeks, it's truly nothing me to personally spend more than twenty hours a week on the phone. No joke. I've even been known to triple fist it so to speak with a call via instant messenger to someone overseas, have a call on the cordless that intersects with that one, and have to take a cell call to let the repair guy know where to turn. Starting to see why we value our communications system so much? In the end, do what works for you and your budget, obviously. But if my life sounds like yours and you could use some sort of logistical and financial relief, I invite you to consider incorporating some of these items and strategies into your own personal survival repertoire.