Consumer Reports: Taming your tech budget

People are spending more time at home these days and there's a good chance you're spending more money on tech like streaming media or music subscriptions, faster internet or even a new router or computer. All that can add up fast.

With the economic uncertainty caused by the virus, many people might be looking for ways to save money. Consumer Reports recommends some ways to help you tame your tech budget.

People spent an average of $640 in 2019 on assorted subscriptions, everything from cloud storage to music services to dating apps

For Jenny Mari-Wyka and her family, it's video streaming services.

"We currently subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+," she said.

These days families, like Jenny's, are looking for new ways to save money.

"Our budget has to change, the same way that everyone's adapting to this new norm," said Mari-Wyka.

Consumer Reports says a good way to start is to get rid of any apps or services you don't use-but you're still paying for. Ditching one or two could save you about $50 a year.

Consumer Reports Editor Chris Raymond took a look at the charges on his own bills and found a few things he could trim.

"I found that I was paying for insurance on a smartphone that was four years old. And I was also paying for a DVR that we no longer use because we just stream the shows we want to see," Raymond said.
Even with the rising cost of streaming services, Consumer Reports says cutting the cord could still save you $700 or more a year depending on what you have now and what you replace it with.

"You can use an antenna to get free network content and then choose a limited streaming service like Sling, that starts at $20 a month," Raymond said.

If you do stick with cable, there's a way to save up to $120 a year. And it's something Jenny and her family already did. -- They bought their own router instead of paying every month to rent it from their cable company.

"We've been saving a great deal. So, I think that's something, you know, we're happy we did," said Mari-Wyka.

Consumer Reports says another way to save if you need more hardware in the house -- consider refurbished. Brands like Apple, Dell and Samsurg all sell refurbished laptops, smartphones, and tablets for a lower price. Just make sure anything you buy is "certified pre-owned" and insist on getting some sort of warranty.

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