Road trips can be brutal, but bringing along the right technology can make even the longest of car rides more bearable. I recently put my car technology to the test over a three-day road trip that put 1750 miles on my car and resulted in me spending approximately 24 hours behind the wheel during that time span.
I spent time over the weekend helping my brother set up the electronics in his living room and bedroom after he moved to a new home. Not only had he collected a significant amount of clutter in eight years in his previous home, but the seller had also left behind a mess of technology that we needed to wade through.
The whole situation made me realize de-cluttering your technology inventory isn’t something that needs a home move to necessitate. In Six Steps to Declutter Your Digital Listening Skills, I took a look at what to do to simplify your listening habits. In this, article we’ll talk about how to apply a similar strategy to de-clutter the physical technology you’ve accumulated in your digital life over the years.
Turning your home into a digital oasis doesn’t require you to shell out thousands of dollars upfront, nor does it require Geek Squad installation or hunting down your neighborhood tech whiz. In fact, the easiest way to get started swimming in the waters of home automation is simply dipping your toes into the shallow end and eventually wading into deeper waters.
Here’s a simple approach to finding out if home automation is right for you.
Over the years I’ve made a significant investment in home technology and gadgetry. While I’d like to think those purchases were mindfully made and fiscally conservative, the reality is some of them stand out above the rest, and some were downright regretful.
Below are my three best and worst gadget buying decisions based on a combination of cost and usefulness within my digital life.
I’d hardly call myself a fitness fanatic. In fact, if you saw some of the foods that make up my diet you might think I’m the exact opposite. That being said, I do get my steps in on a daily basis, and with the help of technology, I’m able to funnel that right into my digital life, ensuring that my caloric intake rarely exceeds my caloric output and that my weight stays in check.
To capture my fitness vitals, I previously used an expensive Fitbit Ionic. It played music, monitored heart rate, worked in water, and even made payments. After using the device religiously for over a year, I realized only a few of its features were all that valuable to me: heart rate monitoring, step counting, a moderate level of water resistance, and more than a day’s battery life.
So, when my Fitbit finally went out of warranty and bit the dust, I decided it was time to turn to a more frugal fitness approach.
Those of us who work in software development or project management are likely quite familiar with many of the practices of Agile Software Development, and while those practices (or ceremonies) are quite useful in guiding software development teams towards building sustainable, high quality, user-driven software, the concepts are equally applicable to digital living.
Parallels can be drawn between tens, if not hundreds of different aspects of software development and life in general, but there are three particular areas of agile software development that I’ve found to be the most fruitful when applied to digital living.
Streaming TV is proliferating, traditional cable TV providers now offer streaming-only TV options, and good old fashioned Over the Air (OTA) TV is dead.
No, wait – that’s not right. Over the Air (OTA) TV is thriving.
Despite a seemingly endless supply of streaming content now available via the web, one would think traditional (linear, live, over the air) television is dying a slow death, but in reality, the cord-cutting movement of the last 5 years has reversed that trend.
According to Nielsen, over 16 million homes now receive OTA programming, and that number continues to grow.
So how can you cut the cord, drop your streaming service(s) and get the most out of free television? Check out our quick five-step guide below.
I’m not exactly sure where the subscription model started, but the cable companies of the 1980s seemed the most adept at solidifying the public’s willingness to pay a recurring fee for content as a service. Sure, utility companies had been doing it for years, but those could be considered necessities under the eye of the public sector.
Then, the Netflix addicted, Amazon Prime-fueled millennial generation made the subscription service a staple of American living. You can now subscribe to services that manage your clothing, meals, shaving needs, and much more.
For as long as I can remember, Aldi has been my first choice for groceries. The only knock I had on Aldi – at least in relation to my three major values of cost, control, and convenience – was the convenience aspect. That’s where Walmart Grocery Pickup came into my life (as noted in my previous article on Four Focus Areas for Digital Frugalism). Over the last month, with the exception of one week of Aldi relapse, I consistently turned to Walmart Grocery to satisfy my weekly grocery shopping needs. While I estimated I could save about a buck on my weekly grocery bill by going to Aldi, I found that Walmart better aligned with my value for convenience. By my calculations, that 30-minute time savings more than justified the difference.
So in the battle between cost, convenience, control, Walmart was winning the battle of convenience, Aldi retained the cost crown, with the deciding factor coming down to control. More specifically, this meant the grocery provider I would anoint as my go-to moving forward would hinge on how much control the two gave me over my own life.
At some point in our lives, we throw in the towel and admit defeat. More specifically, we throw our wallet to monolith that is Amazon and admit convenience is more important than cost, privacy, and pretty much everything else in life.
And then I realized, you don’t have to leave your wallet open to enjoy the benefits of Amazon. In essence, you can pocket the $119 that you would normally spend each year on prime and yet still benefit from what Amazon has to offer. Here’s how: