The economy is bad and the stock market is hitting all-time lows. If there was any time to be a little more frugal, this would be it. Thankfully, Google Tools can easily substitute the other expensive software programs you might normally think of first.
Here are the Google Tools, and those they substitute, that can help you keep some cash in your pocket. Some tools will save you more than others, anywhere from dollars ($) to hundreds ($$$).
1. Google Docs ($$$)
Without a doubt anyone is aware of how much Microsoft manages to charge us for using programs like Word and Excel. Even if you are a student, the license is still absurdly expensive. It is no wonder open-source software like Open Office, and online solutions like Google Docs. The overwhelming benefits of using Google for document creation and management are the fact that:
- They are available everywhere and anywhere
- You can easily share documents with others (collaboration!)
When using Google Docs itâ€™s nice you donâ€™t have to give up on document organization. You can create folders to satisfy your inner control freak.
2. Google Mail ($)
Its hard to believe anyone is not completely hooked on Gmail yet, but there are some more reasons to use it and save money. Some ways to use Gmail and save money on postage, gas, and time:
- Email a family picture (or just one of yourself in a Santa-suit) instead of Christmas cards (itâ€™s cheaper and greener).
- Email letters instead of sending them by mail.
- Scan and email documents that need to be signed, instead of mailing them.
3. Google Talk ($$$)
Quick conversations can be conducted just as easily using Google Talk instead of calling. Whether long distance or local, you can cut back the pressure on your minute usage on your mobile or landline. This strategy can really add up, and save anywhere from pennies to hundreds of dollars a year.
4. Google Calendar ($)
Instead of buying a $10-$50 (paper) calendar every single year, save your wallet and decrease clutter by using Google Calendar. There are so many different ways of personalizing GCal to make it extremely functional, there is no reason to use paper these days.
5. Google Sites ($$)
A new discovery of mine: Google Sites.
According to Google, you can use Google Sites to create pages for:
- Plan club meetings and activities
- Share info on a secure company intranet
- Collaborate on a team project
- Stay connected with family members
You can create pages and Wikis, and also control who can edit or add to your website. For people who donâ€™t have elaborate needs for a website, this can save anywhere from $15-$100 a year in domain registry and hosting fees.
6. Google Sketchup ($$$)
Angela has blogged about Google Sketchup a while back. It is yet another free piece of software that allows you to draw 3D models. It looks pretty elaborate and useful. I havenâ€™t used it myself yet, but now I definitely plan to try it.
Have you used any of these tools? If so, do you use it because you love them, or do you use them because they are free? A little bit of both perhaps?