Technological progress has a tendency to make things obsolete over time. People, on the other hand, tend to resist when it comes to giving up their things. I’m as guilty as the next guy; I like my stuff and I still have a lot of things I no longer use. I have my reasons, but if I’m brutally honest with myself, I know I could do without them.
So, since we’re all here in the interest of saving money, I’m going to offer a list of things that the average person could probably do without buying these days, and might want to consider selling if he or she already has them. I’m sure some readers will disagree with some of my choices, and that’s as it should be. Please note that the title of the article reads, “May Not”. That said, here’s the list:
I’m a book lover, so this was a tough one for me. I always loved the way that nice set of 32 red, black and gold volumes looked on my shelves. My kids used them for homework and we answered countless questions with them, once upon a time. It was hard to give them up, but only for sentimental reasons. (Well, that and the fact that I paid so much for them.) The point is, with a literal world of free information available on the internet, complete with full color pictures, audio and video, encyclopedias are no longer a necessity. Besides, it’s much easier to search for information with a browser.
Other General Reference Books
I have a big, beautiful, leather bound dictionary that I haven’t opened in years. I also have a thesaurus that’s collecting dust in my desk drawer. Not only can I get everything in both of those books online, the software I’m using to write this article provides both of those at a click. With the possible exception of business-specific publications, reference books have become obsolete. By the way, most of those business-specific ones come in an online version now, too.
A Fax Machine
Email attachments are much easier to handle than faxes, and can be stored as digital copies until needed for printing. If and when they do need to be printed, you’ll usually get better quality than a fax provides. A signed and scanned email attachment is often more legible than a fax and preferred for many legal purposes. If you don’t have a scanner, the same places that fax documents for you can scan them into an email-compatible format for less. If the document has several pages, the price difference can be surprising.
My left wrist hasn’t had a tan line in several years. Everything my watch used to do, my cell phone does, plus much more and with a lot more flexibility. This was true even when I had a “dumb” phone. A watch may still be a nice status symbol or a fashion accessory, but if you carry a cell phone, it’s no longer a necessity.
The best reason to own a wall calendar these days is for the artwork. I have one above my desk that I received as a gift, but it’s there for decoration. Keeping track of dates is easily done with a cell phone or computer and you can even set notifications to remind you of important events. You can also share your calendar over the internet or a local network, to manage multiple schedules.
I’m an audiophile, too, so this is another item that I’ve had trouble giving up. Nevertheless, vinyl isn’t coming back, neither are 8-track and cassette tapes, and like it or not, it’s time to stop buying music CDs. Digital music files are cheaper and don’t scratch or break. Not only that, you can buy individual songs instead of albums and save even more money. They also don’t take up any physical space in your home. Your MP3 player, computer or USB drive can be connected to your car or a home audio amp and you’ll still get great sound. If you have a wireless network in your home, you can share the music with multiple devices.
File Storage DVDs
Just like music CDs, DVDs for data storage are easily damaged and take up too much space. Flash drives and memory cards are much easier to store and don’t depend on mechanical devices to read and write data. Data transfers are usually faster, too.
A Land Line Phone
I know that some readers are getting ready to argue that their “wired” phone will operate when the power goes out. That’s true of most, but not all modern telephones. On the other hand, if your cell phone battery gets low, you can plug it into the car charger and use it, too. So, if you’re concerned about power loss, or you need a business line, you might want to keep paying the phone company. Otherwise, it’s probably a bill you can do without.
Expensive Computer Software
There is a wealth of free and inexpensive software available today that’s designed to do everything the commercial applications do. I’m not saying they’ll all perform as advertised, but it’s worth taking a look. Not only that, but thanks to cloud technology, you can use some commercial software online inexpensively, with nothing to download. One example for graphics is Adobe’s Photoshop Express. Need business software? Check out cloud-based soutions like JCurve. Most of these apps offer monthly or annual rates that are less expensive than buying the software.
There are probably dozens more things that could be listed here, but these are the ones that, in my humble opinion, the average person can let go of.
(Photo courtesy of cwillbounds)