Saving money in a digital world


(StatePoint) We’ve all heard those time-tested ways to save money — dine out less, sign up for rewards programs or switch off the lights when you leave the room. But in today’s digital world, there are some great ways to save that you may not have thought about.

From swapping wireless carriers to installing smart home devices to shopping electronically, here are several new ideas to save cash on your digital lifestyle.

Make Your Discount Work for You

Today, around 50 million people take advantage of discounts from their employer or affiliated organization to save on talk, text and data plans. These deals are often so great that consumers never think to comparison shop to see if they could save more by switching. In fact, approximately 30 percent of wireless customers with discounts say they stay put because of their deals.

Take another look at what’s out there — you might just be surprised at what’s new. For example, T-Mobile recently announced it will match or beat eligible wireless discounts from other major carriers when you switch to their Magenta plan, which is packed with benefits like unlimited talk, text and data, a Netflix subscription, and mobile hotspot. T-Mobile’s Magenta plan also has taxes and fees included, so you’ll also save money each month there. The company promises that once you switch, it will match or beat the discount: up to $15 for one line or up to $30 for two or more lines. Plus, T-Mobile typically has special offers on phones for those switching carriers. Learn more at

Make Your Home Smarter

You used to save money by simply turning down your thermostat in winter and up in summer. Now you can make your home (and wallet) smart by using a smart thermostat, such as those from Nest, Ecobee, Honeywell or other home automation companies. These smart devices help you wring more savings from your thermostat than traditional temperature management. Some models come with sensors to place around your home to more finely tune your temperature, adapt to your routines, and allow you to control them from your phone, PC or tablet. You can even change settings while on-the-go, so you don’t waste energy when your routine changes without warning.

Shop Better Electronically

First there were physical coupons. Then came online coupons. Now there are couponing apps and web browser extensions to make it even easier to save.

For instance, Ebates empowers you to earn as much as 40 percent cash back when shopping at over 2,500 stores — including Kohl’s, Sephora, Old Navy, Walmart, Amazon, Gap and others — without having to keep track of points or fill out forms. When shopping through the mobile app or via a plug-in through your web browser, you automatically save. Stores pay Ebates a commission for sending you their way, and that money gets shared with you. Just don’t shop so much that you buy things you don’t need!