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As a Google lover, today I will share with you the 6 ways Google has saved me thousands of dollars over the year.
(This post is not sponsored by Google.)
1. Free entertainment
Mr. FAF and I have a Roku Sharp TV. We also have Google Chrome stick and Amazon stick.
However, when it comes to my go-to entertainment, I always turn to YouTube (owned by Google).
I follow quite a few vloggers that focus on different topics such as personal finance, food, and travel.
Before Mr. FAF and Baby FAF came back to DC, I would look forward to catching up with my YouTube videos at dinner every single day.
There is something to soothing, familiar, yet exciting about watching the latest videos from my YouTubers to see what they are up to in their lives and what I we have in common in our everyday lives.
It’s almost the same as following our favorite bloggers. The only difference is that the content on YouTube is a conversation instead of a post.
Some of my favorite YouTubers are Arden Cho (model, singer, actress), Beat The Bush (engineer by day and personal finance coach by night), Strictly Dumpling (food connoisseur), and Wongfu Productions (short films producer).
2. Free tutors
There have been phases in my life when I was just obsessed with different topics such as makeup tutorials, learning foreign languages, mukbang (Korean eating) shows, and landlording.
I had such mysteriously overpowering desires to learn about such topics that I knew I needed an outlet to not feel so restless.
Taking an official cooking or makeup course would cost hundreds of dollars. Coupled with the fees for my other passions, the costs could be in the thousands.
Fortunately, Google came to my rescue by helping me find different coaches on the internet that offer free lessons whether it’s in the form of videos, e-books, blogs, or articles. And the best part is all of them are free.
Below are some of my free tutors recommended by Google:
— Rental property: Brandon Turner and Josh Dorkin from The Bigger Pockets
— Makeup tutorials: Jen from Head To Toe
— Personal Finance: The Budget Girl
— Food: Mikey from Strictly Dumplings
A sink in the kitchen is clogged? No problem. I will look up the solution on Google. There are crickets in the basement? Google will help me find the answer. The soap dish fell off the wall in the bathroom? Google will show me how to fix it.
If I call a professional to come to our house, it would cost me $100 a visit. Instead, I turn to the master source of handyman guides, Google, where I can find a myriad of solutions to my home maintenance problems.
Of course, the solutions are not applicable in many cases since the diagnosis might not be correct. One time our kitchen floor was flooded with water coming from the kitchen sink. I looked up a couple of sources that stated that the problem might be a broken pipe.
I was trying to dismantle the pipe to see how I could fix it. But it was more complex than I thought. Frustrated, I called a handyman who found out that the problem was actually the broken faucet which was of low quality (bought by the previous owner).
Google wasn’t that helpful in that case, but now I know there might be multiple causes for a home maintenance issue.
4. Family Doctor
When our family has health problems, we will go see a doctor since we’re all covered by insurance. However, before the date of the appointment, I would be curious to look up the symptoms to see what the problem might be.
For example, Mr. FAF has been having serious hip pain problems for the past three years. He’s seen multiple doctors, one of whom finally found out what the problem was. During that time, however, we were also searching on the internet using Google to see what the cause might be and how to treat it.
When we have a cold in the family, I’d also look up the symptoms and see what we can do at home to relieve such symptoms (i.e. drinking honey and lemon tea).
5. Marriage counselor
Mr. FAF and I do face problems in our marriage. We’re not a perfect couple in any way.
The tension happened frequently when we were living in two different cities. We were living on a tight budget since Mr. FAF was in grad school, and I was the only one working a full-time job.
Seeing a marriage counselor was expensive and often infeasible since Mr. FAF was not in DC most of the time. I talked to come of my friends about it. But in the moments when I felt stuck, I would turn to Google.
I wanted to see what advice experts offer and whether other people have run into similar problems and what their solutions are. Oftentimes the advice would be offered by experts which always stress the importance of communication and mutual understanding.
It was helpful, but I also needed real life examples of couples who have solved their problems. That serves as an inspiration for some of my posts since I want to tell our stories and document our journey to finding bliss in our marriage.
6. Free blogging resources and tools
In the darkest and most desperate moments of my blogging journey, I saw three main options for myself:
1) Hire an expert solve a technical issue with WordPress or guide me through the whole Pinterest mystery.
2) Try to learn everything by myself.
3) Give up.
Although the third option (giving up) was tempting, it was out of the question since I had waited for 12 years to finally start Frugal Asian Finance. The only direction for me was going forward, not backward or stagnant.
The first option (hiring a pro) was dangling over my head every time I got frustrated. It would be the quickest way to remove the hurdle I was facing. All I needed to do was call up an expert, take out my credit card, and have the problem solved.
I wouldn’t have to spend 10 hours trying to figure out why my free MailChimp account wouldn’t send out notifications about new posts to my subscribers.
An expert would save me a lot of headache, disappointment, and anxiety over my lack of skills with advanced WordPress features and plugins.
I wouldn’t have to wade through a myriad of instructions about how to navigate Pinterest, make pinnable images, and draw traffic to my site. Even linking my Google Analytics account to my blog took me no less than two hours.
There was only one problem: I was blogging on a budget. Up until now, I have spent $222.96 on my blog: $118.08 on a one-year Bluehost plan and $105 for an annual Tailwind subscription. Anything that costs more than that would give me a financial heartache when I look at my blog expenses.
Hiring an expert, though tempting, was not in my plan. When it comes to saving money, I have a surprisingly high level of self-control and discipline.
Sometimes I fail to rein in the temptations. But most of the time, I manage to keep my desires in check. Staying on a budget for my blog is no exception.
I decided to stick with option #2: trying to teach myself about blogging. Instead of buying blog coaching books or courses that would cost hundreds of dollars, I turned to my beloved mentor: Google.
During this self-learning process, I have had the opportunity to network with other like-minded bloggers such as Lily at The Frugal Gene, Cory at Growing Dollars From Cents. and Joe at Retire By 40. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention their help with my blogging endeavor.
But I also believe in the importance of being independent and trying to figure things out by myself before turning to others for help.
I’m sure you’d agree with me that no one would like to constantly offer advice and guidance to someone who only wants to ask questions instead of trying to find information for themselves at the same time.
The power of a Google key word search is astounding. Whenever I face a problem or have a question, I would turn to Google to see what treasure I can find.
Sometimes I can click through 10 pages of recommended pages without finding the answer. Sometimes I can find the answer by clicking on the top ranked article.
I derive a certain level of satisfaction and thrill from trying to find the answer to my own problem. And Google offers me that option free of charge.
There is nothing more rewarding, satisfying, and self-assuring than finding the last piece of a puzzle thanks to Google.
I can’t remember the first time I started using Google. I created my Gmail account in 2010. Since then, there hasn’t been a day when I don’t use Google whether it’s for my email, photos, or a simple key word search.
I like every resource that can add value to my life and to others’. However, as a frugal person, when the resource is offered free of charge, I love it even more.
I’m not sure if any other future search engine and overtake Google in the future just like how Google did Yahoo. Google is also fascinating to me since it can make money at no charge to its frequent user of its most popular product (the search engine).
When a company can make a fortune from its free product, it also shows a valuable lesson to wanna-be entrepreneurs like me: We don’t always have to charge the end users a fee to make a profit. And that’s a model I can see with blogging.