Ten years ago the Internet used to be a luxury that wealthy families could afford, but now most have it.
According to Nielsen, of the 80% of American homes that have a computer, 92% of them have Internet access.
With this access, they also have a powerful tool to save money.
Sure, we have to pay monthly for our Internet service, but my guess is that people who use the Internet wisely save at least as much as they spend for Internet access, if not more.
Have you given thought lately to all of the ways the Internet saves you money?
Here are just a few I came up with:
Ways the Internet Saves You Money
The Internet makes you eligible for many discounts. From automating your student loan payments and saving .25% interest to avoiding fees by getting your bank and other account statements online rather than in paper form, you can save some serious money.
My bank charges $3 per month to send out a monthly statement. Automating it online saves me $36 a year.
When I purchase something online, I always make sure to look for a promo code before paying full price, which has saved me nearly $100 this year alone.
Don’t forget daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social where you can buy a voucher and save 50% or more.
Many Americans have opted out of getting their Sunday newspaper with coupon inserts and instead search for grocery and toiletry coupons online.
The coupons online aren’t just for groceries, though. You can visit a restaurant’s website and often find a coupon or like a restaurant on Facebook to get a free meal when they are having a promotion to grow their Facebook page.
Do It Yourself
You Tube can turn you into an instant repair person.
Need to make a repair to your dishwasher? Check YouTube for instructions. A few months ago my spacebar on my laptop was sticking. A few YouTube videos later, I had fixed the problem and saved myself a computer repair bill. (Just be careful here. Doing it yourself can lead to more expensive repairs if you try to tackle a job that is just too big for you to accomplish.)
[Editor: I've also used You Tube for repair information. In fact I just fixed a window that wouldn't stay open thanks to a You Tube instruction video. This saved us lots of dough by not calling in a repair person.]
Do it yourself is not just limited to repair projects, though. Pinterest is alive and well and shares everything from how to make a fancy birthday cake for your child to how to decorate your home stylishly for less to educational activities for kids, and almost anything else you can think of.
The web is now has a wealth of information (excuse the pun) on how to live frugally. From learning how to make your own almond milk to alerts about clothing sales to alternatives to Microsoft Office, there are thousands of ways to learn how to save money and live frugally.
If you are into reducing, reusing and recycling, the Internet can help you here too.
Have old books that you won’t read again? You can post them on Paperback Swap and get new-to-you books in return. The only thing you pay is the shipping to send out your books to other Paperback Swap patrons.
Want to recycle your electronics? The web can help you with that too. Not only are you safely disposing of your old phones and computers, but you may be able to make some money, too.
Interested in eating organic foods and finding organic coupons? Recyclebank can help you while educating you on how to live a greener life.
Want to save a few cents per gallon on gas? Check out gasbuddy.com to see the station with the lowest price per gallon in your neighborhood.
What about buying a new car or even a small appliance for your home? The Internet makes it easier than ever before to comparison shop and look for the best deal without ever leaving your home.
[Editor: I won't make a big purchase until I've checked out prices and reviews on Amazon.]
Saving Money on Everyday Items
Many stores offer special discounts available only to their online shoppers. Snag these for extra savings, and make sure to shop stores that offer free shipping. (Now you have saved on the price of gas you would have had to spend to get to the store.)
Need a will or a lease as a landlord? The Internet can help you create those documents too and save you hundreds of dollars in legal fees. (You may want to have an attorney look over the documents for any errors, though.)
Want to earn more interest than your brick and mortar bank is willing to pay? Consider online banking, which is also a great way to snag free money when they try to entice new customers to try their service out and offer $50 or $75 in return.
If you need help budgeting your money, there are plenty of services available from Mint.com to Pear Budget and everything in between. You will also find plenty of personal finance blogs that offer advice about budgeting.
The Internet has revolutionized college funding.
Scour the Internet for popular and little-known scholarship sources. Learn how to go to college for free or pick a low-cost option. Learn how one family is paying cash for their daughter to attend college.
The Internet isn’t only good for opportunities to save money; you can also make money via the Internet.
Whether you choose to work as a freelance writer, a virtual assistant, a blogger, or other career choices online, the Internet offers plenty of ways to make a little extra money or even a full-time income, all in the comfort of your own home.
You may not have given it much thought, but the Internet has truly revolutionized our lives, and our wallets.
What are other ways the Internet saves you money?