Cut costs on Amazon, Apple, Google with family plans, bundles and more

It’s easy to overspend on consumer technology or make a purchase that won’t last long. For example, you don’t need to pay for Microsoft Office and you shouldn’t waste money on cheap chargers. Tap or click on five ways to waste money on tech.

Then there are all the subscriptions you pay for and don’t use. Streaming services are a major culprit; there isn’t much time in a day and you can’t watch everything. Tap or click for my guide to watching your shows for free instead.

You probably don’t know that you can share various accounts with your family and friends, or at the very least get a nice discount. It’s not your fault. Tech companies don’t promote this money-saving secret you can thank me for later.

Let’s start with Amazon

If you don’t have an Amazon Prime membership, you might not realize it’s so much more than just free shipping. Tap or click here for my favorite perks. I suggest getting a 30-day free trial to make sure it’s worth it because it’s not cheap.

An Amazon Prime subscription costs $14.99 per month or $139.99 per year. You can split this cost with a friend or family member and enjoy all the benefits.

Amazon Household allows two adults to share Prime benefits and digital content like e-books. Each person has their own account, so you maintain some privacy. Keep in mind that you will have access to each other’s payment methods. Only share your account with someone you trust.

You can also add up to four teens (ages 13-17) to the plan for free. Each teen will have their own Amazon login, and an adult must approve all purchases on the plan.

Visit amazon.com/myh/manage to create or manage your household.

While we’re talking about Amazon, the tech giant knows a lot about you. Prepare to be shocked. Here’s how to see it all.

Apple makes the bundle cheaper

Apple One bundles Apple services together at a lower monthly price than you would pay for each service alone. These savings can be worth it if multiple family members use iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple TV, Apple Music, and iCloud.

• The Apple One Individual plan costs $14.95 per month and includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and 50 GB of Apple iCloud+ storage.

• The family plan is $19.95 per month. It includes all the same services and 200 GB of storage.

• The Premier plan costs $29.95 per month and adds News+ and Fitness+, with 2TB of storage.

That’s where the cost savings come in: the Family and Premier plans can be shared with up to five other people using Family Sharing as long as they live in the same country. That’s right, you don’t have to live in the same household.

To set up Family Sharing on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:

• Go to Settings.

• Faucet your name.

• Faucet Family Sharing then press Configure your family.

• Follow the on-screen instructions to set up your family and invite family members.

Tap or click here for instructions on setting up iCloud+ on all your devices.

If you are a Google family

Like Apple, Google offers expanded family plans with storage five people can share. Group members won’t be able to see each other’s files, but they share storage space and can see how much space each other is using. All members must live in the same country as the family administrator.

Google accounts include 15 GB of storage for free. Here’s what it costs to upgrade to Google One to increase capacity:

• The basic plan costs $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year for 100 GB of storage. You also have access to support from Google experts.

• The Standard plan costs $2.99 ​​per month or $29.99 per year for 200 GB of storage. This tier earns you 3% on purchases made on the Google Store.

• The Premium plan costs $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year for 2TB of storage and 10% discount on purchases from the Google Store.

Standard and Premium plans can be shared. To set up Family Sharing, go to families.google.com/families. Sign in with your Google account and follow the onscreen instructions to add members.

Is your Google account locked? Are you sure? Tap or click for a quick and easy security check you should do every few months.

Also think about your phone bill

Most cell phone providers give you a nice discount for the most lines you have within a single plan.

You can also take advantage of offers if only one person on the plan qualifies. With T-Mobile’s affordable 55+ plans, for example, only one person needs to be 55 or older. Full disclosure: T-Mobile is a sponsor of my national radio show.

The same goes for military and first responder discounts. Verizon works the same way. You only need one person on the plan to qualify, and members don’t have to live under the same roof.

Here are five ways to save money on your phone bill and maybe even get free service.

Simple ways to spread costs

Now that you know what you can share, what are the best ways to manage subscription fee sharing? The last thing you want to do is hunt someone every month for a few bucks. Here are some options:

Let an app do the work: Apps like Splitwise help you easily track and pay shared expenses. This option is ideal when you plan to split several invoices.

Switch off: It’s not possible to switch payment methods every month, but maybe you and the person you’re separating from can disconnect every year. You pay for one year of a particular service and then another pays for a year.

Eliminate payment: For services that only cost a few dollars a month when shared, consider reimbursing your friend (or asking for that money) in a six-month or one-year lump sum. It’s easier than remembering to send more than $6 a month.

Keep your technological know-how

My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today”. It’s a solid thirty minutes of tech news, tips, and callers with tech questions like you from across the country. Look for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, click the link below for a recent episode.

PODCAST CHOICE: Update your iPhone, travel hack, self-destructing email

Listen to the latest technical conference in 30 minutes. It’s time to update your iPhone, Apple Watch and Mac. Plus, if you’re running your own business, Cameo is a smart idea: use celebrities for marketing. And your flights will never be the same once you use digital baggage tags. I’ve got the inside scoop on this life-changing travel hack — and which airline uses it.

Check out my “Kim Komando Today” podcast on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotifyor your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando”.

Discover all the latest technologies on the Kim Komando show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For his daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit his website at Komando.com.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.

Lance B. Holton