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Individual Strategies for Managing Overspending Risk
Be wary. Always double check apps/software downloads to confirm if there are any hidden fees and costs. If in doubt, don’t do it.
Explore your options. Research and really consider if you need something before committing to purchase. You might not need it, or there might be a free version (if it is an app, subscription, or digital product).
Updating your ICT equipment. Do not feel pressure to update if your product is meeting your requirements. On average, people update their ICT devices every 5-6 years, but it depends on whether your device is meeting your needs and whether you are happy with it.
ICT equipment. Keeping products up to date is important, but you may not need the latest model. You can often get products made 1-2 years ago at a heavily discounted rate. Consider buying ‘factory refurbished’ products or second hand.
Have a budget. Track your spending and develop a budget. This can be done using traditional notebooks or a simple Excel file.
Debit cards. Use debit cards rather than credit cards. This limits your purchase to the available amount on your cards.
Monitor your accounts. Regularly check your account for any unusual spending. You might overspend by accidentally subscribing to services that you don’t need.
Apps. Remove spending apps from your phone or tablet to reduce temptation. Also, be wary of apps with a free subscription for a limited period, as you are likely to forget to de-register from them. Some apps charge hefty annual or monthly fees, which you pay when your trial period is over. If you are disciplined with setting dates, then use a calendar reminder to let you know the time is up.
Do your research. Compare products and research options to ensure you get the best value for your needs. Make sure you ask questions to help you understand your product needs. Do you really need to upgrade your software? Do you need to improve your internet connection speed? These extra costs may play a role in your overall budget.
Product maintenance. You can extend the life of your device by replacing batteries and deleting apps no longer being used to increase data storage.
Relational Strategies for Managing Overspending Risk
Seek assistance. Ask family members/friends who are more familiar with technology to tell you more about the devices, software, and services they use and can recommend to you. If they have the same devices, software, and services, they will be able to show you how to use them later and provide tips around software to use and download and overspending traps. Friends with a similar cultural background might help you understand how to navigate the market in a way that you can understand it.
Ask questions. When in doubt about something, consult family and friends about the nature of the product, service, or app. It is often a good idea to cultivate safe places where family members and friends can chat about tech issues, such as overspending.
Courses. When joining computer courses for seniors, share your overspending or budgetary challenges with others. Chances are you are not alone, and others may have tips on how they manage it.
Apps. Ask someone you trust to go over your subscribed apps and, with your permission, delete anything that might be costing you too much.
Consider joint purchasing. Some software comes with licences that allow use in 3 or 5 devices. Consider buying these licences with friends.
Strategies to Managing Perceived Overspending Risk
Overspending risks are aligned both with the person’s ICT ability and the person’s confidence to overcome the perceived risk and try to engage with the digital device. There are individual strategies people can do themselves to manage this risk, as well as relational strategies which consider the role of social influence on a person’s ability to try new things and interact with ICT.
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