The web has become such a routine part of everyday life that we sometimes forget what life was like before it or how we can use online access to increase our own personal efficiency and save money. Here are a few examples:
- Amazon Prime – I’ve become a huge proponent of Amazon Prime where I get free delivery within 2 days for virtually anything I order. Why? Even though it ends up costing me a few bucks a month for the service, I constantly think of something at the spur of the moment or forget to get something when shopping and I can just pop online (even via smartphone) and just hit order. The service has literally saved me hours upon hours of trips to the store and money as well, since Amazon tends to be cheaper or equivalent to routine local stores anyway (without the taxes!).
- Finances – I do virtually all my finances online now. Not only has this saved me time with mailing/stamps and time with writing checks, but I believe having quick web access has prompted me to be more aggressive and proactive with saving and investing. When it’s so quick and easy to set up a new investment account, 529 plan, etc., it sways the equation that much more toward execution from “mulling it over”. Everything from looking up mortgage rates to looking for a payday loan becomes so much easier and more efficient than the old days of newspaper ads and phone calls.
- Never Ask a Question Again – I recall as a kid, every time I had a question, the joke was, my Dad would proclaim, “Let’s Look it Up!” and he’d bust out the dictionary. Well, we don’t keep one in our house any more and anything from whether it’s OK to jumpstart my tractor with my car battery to what the inside of an Egyptian pyramid looks like while reading to my kids, I just bust out YouTube or wikipedia and have info at my fingertips. I constantly have to remind myself and others that the answer to virtually any question is easily available online. Sometimes at work, someone will stop work on a project and say they didn’t know the answer to something or how it works; I just say, “did you google it?”. Granted, sometimes the info you find online isn’t reliable or some sites have an ulterior motive, but for most factual-based queries, you can usually find reputable sites on the first page of your search.