Gadgets may offer a brief reprieve to consumers' recession-wary wallets. "Good Morning America" technology contributor Becky Worley has five tech items that could save your family's greenbacks. Get information on decreasing your landline's cost and learn how your old cell phone could reap bucks for you.
Saving on Your Phone Plan
Cost: $49 for a router
Savings: $360 or $350 a year
Savings with Hotspot calling: $600 a year
T-Mobile @Home lets you keep your old home landline number, but ditch the $40-a-month phone bill you currently pay to your phone company. Using your DSL or cable Internet access, you plug a router in and then plug any touch tone phone into the router. You get unlimited local and long distance calling, and caller ID, in addition to keeping your old home phone number.
The router costs $49, and factoring in the $10 a month you pay for the service, the savings in one year would be $350.
For another $10 a month, you can hook your whole family's cell phones into T-Mobile's Hotspot Internet calling. It allows your connection to go over the Internet calling service when you are in the middle of a call as you walk into your home. Here's where you save money because you won't be using your cell phone minutes when you're on Internet calling.
For example, say you drop 1,000 minutes a month off your family plan. With this home hotspot calling, the grand total in savings comes to $600 per year with T-Mobile @Home plus hotspot calling.
Money for Your Used Cell Phone
Savings: $30 a year
Flipswap.com allows you to send in your old cell phone or used electronic gadget at no cost to you. In return, the service sends you money back, depending on the quality and the demand of the phone you sent.
The service often refurbishes your used gadget and sells your old cell phones to South America or other under-developed areas. What can't be re-used Flipswap salvages for scrap and for the parts of precious metals that are inside the device that are often valuable.
The average payout from the site is $30.
Saving With a Home Soda Machine
Savings: $200 a year
It is an incredibly fun and helpful thing to have around the house. All you have to do is snap a one-liter bottle of tap water into the machine. Then you hear three noises and what you end up with is carbonated soda.
Kids love it, for obvious reasons, and it's just a lot easier to use this than schlepping around heavy bottles and cans. This is the first time "GMA" has seen an affordable, easy-to-use home soda machine.
It also comes with its own syrups. Even if it doesn't taste exactly like Coke or Pepsi, it delivers just two-thirds the amount of sugar. It's cheaper, it's healthier and it's eco-friendly, because you're not using bottles or cans.
Buying a home soda machine for $79 could save families, who buy one to two six-packs of soda each week, up to $200 annually. Click here
Shipping Price Comparisons
Savings: $55 a year
If you're shipping a package, go to Shipgooder.com and enter your zip code, and then enter the zip code for the package's destination and the weight of the package. The site then spits out every option available to you, including the post office.
It also goes into all the subtleties of two-day delivery, one-day, and all the price differentials of the various sites and locations.
Saving on Airfare
Savings: $227 per trip
Yapta.com tracks the price of online tickets. If you bought a ticket for $500 and the airline reduces the fare, Yapta sends you an e-mail letting you know about the fare change. It's totally free.
Then you go to the airline, point out the price drop, and they'll refund you that money. That's the policy at most airlines. All you have to do is send your itinerary to Yapta.com.
According to Yapta.com, the average amount they save for each consumer is $227 per trip.