Last week I wrote about the things we spend money on today that we didn’t 20 years ago. This week it’s the opposite.
Paper maps were available at most gas stations and drug stores. They took up a lot of room and you had to buy a new one every so often because they would become outdated. Then in the early 2000’s, GPS devices took over. You still had to pay for updates to the map, but it was so much more powerful and convenient than those paper map. Now those GPS devices are becoming old news and smart phones have taken their place. No extra device to carry around and Google maps updates itself for free. I’m still not sure why new cars still offer a built-in navigation package for the low-low price of $1,500. Um, let’s see, free versus $1,500…
With the rise of the internet goes the fall of the physical newspaper. We actually still get the newspaper delivered to our house. It’s not really for us, it’s more for our dog that loves to fetch the paper from the driveway every morning.
Sorry USPS. Email and online banking have saved me so much in postage and time, it’s ridiculous. I think the only time I use postage anymore is to send greeting cards and pay the IRS. Sure, I probably could just send e-cards and use my bank to pay the IRS, but my parents like getting physical cards in the mail and the IRS scares me. I feel like if I don’t follow their instructions exactly, they’ll find a way to make my life miserable – the IRS, not my parents.
It used to be, the only way you could tell time on the go was to use a wrist watch. But, over the years, people have grown to realize that cell phones also have the time. So, why bother wearing that clunky thing on your wrist (Mrs. Pennypacker and I still do)? Of course now, all the big phone manufacturers are turning back time and pitching us smart watches. It still remains to be seen whether smart watches will gain a significant foothold in our world.
5. Printer Toner
I think the only time I use my printer is when I have to sign a document that doesn’t allow an electronic signature. That I means I have to print out the form, sign it, then scan it back in so I can email it to someone. Kind of pain, but I haven’t bought printer ink in years.
Before texting there were pagers. All the cool kids had them. Your typical pager is a portable device that you carried everywhere with you that could receive phone calls (no, it’s not a cell phone). If someone wanted to get a hold of you, they called your pager number. The pager would display the phone number on a screen. Then you could find a payphone and call that person back. Pagers typically only received numbers. But, if you were creative, you could add a simple text message to the end of your phone number. For example, 911 would mean “call me back right away!”. 07734 would be “hello” if you looked at the numbers upside down.
It’s all about streaming music now. And, if you’re willing to sit through ads, you can listen to any song you want for free. Want more than just the audio? Hop on YouTube and you can watch all the music videos you want for free.
8. Stock broker
You really don’t need to pay anyone a commission anymore for buying or selling equities. Most brokerage companies make it real easy to trade stocks yourself on the internet. Plus, all the research is available online to make your own educated decisions and it’s all free or very cheap. Sure, if you’re a day-trader, the brokerage houses might charge you $10 per trade. But, if you’re an average Joe like me, you’re buying commission-free index funds and holding on to them for twenty-plus years. No need for that stock broker, just tap your phone a couple times!
There are a ton of other things that could be added to this list. Can you think of anything else?