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How My iPad Made Me Hate Paper and Helped Me Save Over $15,000

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I hate paper! It is everywhere but thanks in part to my iPad I don’t want to use it anywhere, except maybe the bathroom and dining room. So I’m gonna show you a few ways that my iPad has made me hate paper while saving literally thousands of dollars.

Speaker Notes

As a preacher I am a public speaker primarily. I never memorize my sermons but instead preach them from notes I prepare. Soon after I bought my first iPad I began using the iPad instead of paper notes. This one change reduced my monthly shopping bill by about $8. I was going through a ream and half of 24 lb. pond paper from my local Sam’s Club every month. That same 750 sheet package lasts half a year now thanks in part to this one tip.

Using the iPad as speaker notes is pretty easy to do and saves me some money and time. I prepare my messages in Word on my computer, save them to my cloud based backup and sync service (was DropBox but has become SugarSync after a review) and then open them in Documents To Go on my iPad.

You could do this too even if you don’t have an iPad. Android tablets work nicely as would an Amazon Kindle. Just email the word document to your Kindle address and it will open on the Kindle. I have even considered using my rooted Nook, but the iPad has a bigger screen.

Savings: part of the $8/month for the 750 sheet ream of paper at Sam’s Club

Scanning Meeting Documents

When I am handed paper in a meeting, I cringe. My friends and colleagues know I’m a gadget guy so they are not too shocked when I pull out my iPhone, and now my iPad 2, to take a picture of the document for importing into Evernote. I hand them back the paper. The looks on the faces of those distributing documents to me the first time is often funny. They begin with surprise and move into amazement. Then they are bewildered what to do with the paper when I hand it back.

Noteshelf

One thing I miss in Evernote is the ability to mark up the pages. There are other solutions that do this, but I’m so used to using Evernote that I make do. A great app that lets you mark up the images is Noteshelf ($4.99).

It is a shame that more people do not think this way. They could save themselves a lot of time and money if they would just email the documents to the meeting attendees beforehand. That may happen in your circles, but in mine it is still mostly a paper dominated world. When I generate the documents, I often email them, but people forget to bring them and few have an iPad or smart phone at my church. So, paper it is in those rare circumstances, but I sure hate handing it out.

Savings: None to me since they still printed the darn things in the first place

Proofreading Articles

The other night I found a great article on proofreading that suggested the best way to do this is print the blog post and use a ruler or piece of paper to underline the current line you are proofing. The concept is great, but come on! A tech blog suggesting printing?

Here are the steps they suggest for proof reading on paper:

  1. Read it forwards from top to bottom for flow.
  2. Read it backwards from bottom to top for spelling and punctuation.

I decided to try this, but instead of printing it I open it in Preview mode on my iPad. I’ve done this for a while and it has helped me spot a number of errors I might not have otherwise. Just wish I could cetch all of thum.

Proofreading

Proofreading with my IPad

Savings: part of the $8/month for the 750 sheet ream of paper at Sam’s Club

Reading

Instead of buying books, I get them on my Kindle or more often read them in the Kindle app on my iPad. Another app that I use is the Zinio app, which stores all of my magazine subscriptions. It is a sub par app, but until there are more reasonably priced magazine subscriptions on the iPad, it is the least horrible app for this task. On average, books on the Kindle are often 10-50% less than their paper versions.

Savings: 10-50% off of hundreds of books

I also read my Bible and study my Bible for sermons on the iPad using a number of great Bible apps. Some of them are nothing more than simple book reader apps. If that is all you need, just get one of the book reader apps like iBooks or Kindle. But the ones I use are powerful Bible study tools. I never open physical books when studying for my sermons or bible studies anymore.

Laridian PocketBible

Between all the iPad Bible apps, I probably have over 4,000 books. With an average price of these books probably being $35-$45 in print since they are not typical best sellers, that’s upwards of $20,000 of books. But I’ve only paid about $4,000 for them. That doesn’t account for the hundreds I’ve saved in bookshelves to house all of these books.

Savings: I’ve paid thousands for a digital library that would have cost me literally tens of thousands in print and hundreds to store on bookshelves – estimated $15,000

Thanks to apps like Instapaper, I never print web articles either. It is hard for me to imagine that people do this, but they do. A person finds a great article but they don’t want to read it at that moment on their computer. So they print the article wasting sometimes 3-10 pages of paper that they will just throw away after they are done. I hit my read later bookmarklet in Chrome and it is saved to my list of articles. I can read it on my iPad formatted nicely for reading or just go back to it from any browser through the service’s web page.

Savings: Part of the $8/month saved for 750 sheet pack of paper we got each month at Sam’s Club

Click on the bookmarklet and it saves it to Instapaper notifying you with a popup

This reminds me of newspapers. I don’t buy them and the only reason we have a subscription to the Sunday paper in our house is the coupons. My wife saves $20-$60 on our grocery bill by clipping coupons. Sure there are a few apps that help in this area, but not enough to replace the paper. Thanks to the iPad and Internet we don’t get a paper Monday through Saturday. We never even look at the Sunday paper except to get the coupons. Instead I use Newsrack synced with Google Reader.

Below is the video review of the app. Please forgive the video quality since it is the first video review we ever did.

Savings: $15/month for local newspaper subscription minus what we do pay for Sunday only delivery

Personal Information Management

The Palm was one of the first popular electronic PIM tools. For me my iPad and iPhone do the trick. I don’t have a paper calendar, to do list or address book anywhere. I am careful to back them up in multiple locations on more than one computer. I use Google and the built-in apps in iOS. Since making this transition a long time ago, thanks to a Palm Treo, I cringe when people give me calendars as gifts. They make good re-gifts for my less tech savvy friends, however. This doesn’t save trees or money since I never re-gift in place of a birthday or Christmas present, but it does build some good will as people like gift for no reason. I always tell them why I’m giving it to them. Seems pretty cheap to do otherwise.

Savings: Some paper day planners cost from $10 to $100

Maps v. GPS

Back in the old days people had these large sheets of paper that had pictures of the road systems in a given location. They were really hard to fold and wore out over time. They were stagnant and didn’t update themselves. You needed someone to look at it for you and tell you when to turn or you had to stop every so often to look at it if you couldn’t remember how to get from location A to location B. They were called Maps!

That will sound as antiquated to our grandkids as hearing someone describe telegraph or pony express sounds to us. That’s because GPS integrated into smart phones and tablets is now the best way to learn how to get from location A to location B. I use Navigon and sometimes the Maps app on my iPad 2. It is so much easier than carrying silly old maps that go stale once there is any new construction.

Savings: $1.99 for a gas station map to $20 for big road atlas

Total Savings for the Average Person

If collect a lot of expensive digital books like I do you might save $15-$20K too! Few people have that extensive a library for their profession. However, taking all of the other savings together and you might save yourself hundreds. I added up my savings (using 2 reams a year instead of 10, saving on a yearly day planner, 2-3 gas station maps and one good road atlas, no more daily paper) and it amounted to $320 without books. If you throw in the savings of 10 $15 books that yo you get for only $10 through the Kindle app and you have around $370. That means a $620 iPad 2 with 3G so you can use the GPS only cost you $250. Would you pay $250 for a 3G 15GB iPad 2?

Kevin loves notebooks, tablets, gadgets and photography. He grew up with computers starting out on a Vic 20 and Commodore 64. The first computer he owned himself was an 8086 Compaq Deskpro. His foray into tablet computing began when he bought a Samsung Q1 Ultra. The smartphone market opened up for him with his Palm Treo 600.

26 Comments

  1. DNel

    05/04/2011 at 9:25 pm

    If you are looking at saving money (as well as going paperless) than you should look into selling your iPad, iMac, iPhone and contracts, and purchase a tablet PC which can do everything you want(and listed) in a single powerful computer. I’ve been doing it for years before the iPad even came out. For the phone get a Sprint phone so that you can tether and link to you tablet PC for gps/3G/4G (or get a handheld gps – which is much more accurate) and pay a lot less than AT&T or Verizon. The tablet PC will give you all that you want without the pain of moving files from device to device. You also get an active digitizer as well as touch (OneNote and Evernote work better on a PC and even better still on a tablet PC than a mobile device/pad).

    Looking for the better solution, look at a Fugitsu T730 or comparable
    http://store.shopfujitsu.com/fpc/Ecommerce/buildseriesbean.do?series=T730

    I only wish all gottabemobile reviewers would own a tablet PC (not just a pad of some sort). You guys use to, and it provided a perspective on a balanced mobile solution instead of the pandering to Apple that it has become. Apple does make nice products, but not necessarily the best.

    • Xavier Lanier

      05/04/2011 at 11:02 pm

      A lot of us still do have Tablet PCs. Mine is collecting dust since I’ve barely used it since I picked up the iPad. The Fujitsu T730 and other Windows tablets are good machines, but things have changed quite a bit in the past year.
      Others, including Warner are using iPads much more than Tablet PCs as well. Sumocat is still all Tablet PC and I encourage you to follow his articles.

      • DNel

        05/04/2011 at 11:48 pm

        I do follow Sumocat’s articles (though they are few and far between, and I’m still waiting on his inkshows – yes “INK”). I also follow Rob Bushway’s site because he doesn’t fall all over himself promoting Apple products (see his April 22 post on RobBushway.com). Yes, I’ve read Warner’s posts too as he is the last of the original Gottabemobile crowd. His change from tablet PC to iMac/iPad has been a very sad path from mobile “computing” to mobile “consuming” especially since he doesn’t really seem totally satisfied that the iPad is the way to go, but has invested so much into the device to go back to the tried and true tablet PC form. Warner don’t fall into the iPad bunny hole, please…So many of Warner’s posts on the iPad have been accepting subpar use-models that he compares to the tablet PC which did everything he wanted except battery life (which is improving).Yes, things have changed and gottabemobile has changed from promoting one of the best computing concepts (tablet PC with active digitizers) to the current pad/tab limited use solutions and mobile phones. Funny thing is that iPad users (Warner included) push for the iPad to change into being more tablet PC in function. Yes, I know that iDevices are a part of many peoples mobile day, but I hoped that gottabemobile wouldn’t devote so many posts to Apple’s iPad (and mobile phones too) and continue to focus on improving the Tablet PC and pushing for a true Apple tablet PC (as opposed to the pad). I hope to see just as many posts on Window-8 when it comes out and its impact on tablet computing (inking) as there were posts on iPad/iPad2 devices when they came out (that’s like 10 posts per day for a solid 2 weeks)

        • Jason Dunn

          05/05/2011 at 1:29 am

          I’m a 14 year Windows Phone MVP and a big fan of Microsoft, but the hard truth is that they have nothing that can compete with the iPad or any of the new Honeycomb 3.0 Android tablets. Windows 8 will have to shed some serious “weight” to be nimble on ARM processors and be small enough to be affordable on Flash memory devices. And let’s not forget about the whole UI aspect – Windows UI on a small screen = disaster (Samsung Q1 Ultra anyone?)

          I desperately want Microsoft to be competitive in this space, but they simply aren’t yet – unless of course you’re interested in thick, heavy tablets with poor battery life, even worse performance, high price, and all the headaches of a regular desktop (patches, anti-virus software, etc.).

        • Anonymous

          05/05/2011 at 2:42 pm

          DNel,

          I’m really happy to see the comments flowing here on Kevin’s post. It’s a good discussion to have and always will be, if for no other reason than it might make Microsoft realize what could have been, and might be again. I followed up on Kevin’s article with this one that speaks to some of those concerns.

          http://www.gottabemobile.com/2011/05/05/kevin-saves-the-dough-by-going-paperless-im-not-so-lucky/

          While I agree and have said many times that Inking on an iPad is not what it is on a Tablet PC, and that the iPad isn’t a perfect device, I’ve got to say that Tablet PCs in their current state certainly aren’t either. Let’s face it, in mobile computing there are compromises on any platform and with any device, no matter how much you or I may champion them. To look at that reality any other way is naive.

          I’m sorry you’re saddened by my move to the iPad, but I honestly believe, and I think the current market bears this out, that Apple has changed what we all know about Tablets forever. Will we ever see Inking on iPads or Xooms in the future? I think eventually, but not for some time to come. Will Windows 8 bring that to a Tablet of this current size ranges and battery life expectations of what we now have on the market? I hope so, but to be honest, I’m not holding my breath.

          Taking a brief trip down memory lane here, let’s remember that crazy “developers, developers, developers” chanting of Steve Ballmer. Developers helped make Microsoft continue its large and presumed unshakeable market share for quite some. But even when most software was getting written for the Windows platform, remember that we all screamed to see more developers (including those who worked on Microsoft Office!) take up the pen and “think in ink.” That never happened in the numbers that would make it work, and indeed Microsoft cut off any momentum that might have been gained when it reorganized and moved things towards touch in the ill fated UMPC days. To butcher a maxim, the writing was on the wall and certainly not on the digitizer.

          Fast forward to today, and there’s not doubt that any momentum from developers is for both iOS and Android. I think all we can hope for is that the developers who do “think in ink” will continue pushing out their efforts there. I’ll continue to praise and deride the developers who push the ink envelope as I see fit.

          Yep, I’ve moved from mobile computing to mobile consuming, if I accept your definitions of both. I don’t actually accept those definitions completely though. I get a lot of mobile computing done on the iPad. I don’t think that is a “bunny hole.” I think the iPad is indeed a paradigm shift that is still largely undefined, regardless of how it has disrupted so much, and taken what at the moment seems like an insurmountable lead in market share. How that all shakes out is still largely yet to be determined and as we’ve seen from the others who try to get into the game that it isn’t necessarily an easy game to play.

          As for GBM and my coverage. Well, all I can say is this. As you can see from the post I referenced earlier, I still do use Tablet PCs. There’s nothing new or old about that. But, in order to follow where the market is going I’ve moved on to the iPad, not exclusively mind you, but I’ve moved on. I did so initially as part of my obligations here. But I have to say, I’ve enjoyed the benefits of doing so tremendously.

          I’m not criticizing you or anyone personally when I say this. So, please don’t take it that way. But Microsoft failed us all big time here. I’m one of the few that hopes their retrenching will actually lead to something better down the road. I have my doubts, but I have my hopes. At the moment, Microsoft is a non player in my view. That could change and I hope it does. Even in its heyday, Tablet PCs forced compromises on the user. iPads and others force compromises today. The way I see it, I prefer to take my compromises from a platform that at least has momentum from one that is dormant.

      • DNel

        05/04/2011 at 11:55 pm

        Oh, I also read with interest your articles on digital photography. I find them informative as photography is also an interest of mine. Those posts are few and far between as well, but understandable. I have no intention of stopping reading gottabemobile but I’m not totally pleased with the direction it took after being acquired by Notebooks.com

        • Xavier Lanier

          05/05/2011 at 7:03 am

          Thanks for your feedback. We can’t please everyone with every post, but we’ll do our best. FYI- Hugo is back blogging about (mostly) Tablet PCs, he usually posts on Friday, so be sure to check back.

    • resume writing

      05/05/2011 at 11:49 am

      thanks a lot for the comment!

  2. SecondtoNone

    05/05/2011 at 1:33 am

    Hmm. Quit the voracious reader: 4,000 books in what? 2 years? That’s churning through 5.5 books a day (even on Sunday!). Or perhaps the slick interface seduced you into buying $3500 worth of books that won’t get read. That plus the price of the ipad and you may have found yourself a couple of grand lighter than if you’d stuck to hardbacks and the flipside of envelops. I’ve discovered this antiquated thing called a library which allows me to download books– a whole range of just released, old, new, hard to find, easy to place books– right to my computer/tablet/phone for free. Imagine the savings.

    An ipad is a fun toy and can even help with productivity in the right circumstance, but a money saver? Tell it to those who would inherit the earth. Having started the article by declaring onself to be a preacher I expected a little more earnest truthfulness.

    • Kevin Purcell

      05/05/2011 at 3:26 pm

      In reality these books are parts of a theological library collection (or numerous collections) that quite frankly I don’t read each of these individually. As a pastor I have a number of sets of commentaries that are 66 books in one collection. They make up for about half of this collection. So while I do literally have over 4000 books available to me on the iPad (in a cloud stored location) I have not read very many of them word for word. I read parts of many of them as I study one passage in the bible for a Sunday sermon.

      • SecondtoNone

        05/05/2011 at 8:50 pm

        I can see how having a large theological library at your fingertips is a great asset– and I apologize if my first post was rather harsh. As the owner of a tablet pc, a laptop, a desktop, and a smart phone I realize that while my paycheck may whisper “lower middle class” from an economic standpoint, my possessions shout “upperclass elitist.” I do a fair amount of traveling and I’m frequently reminded of this. All of this is to say I think we should be careful about exclaiming the financial virtues of things like ipads. It’s a bit like saying how much money one saved by taking their precious pooch “Fluffy” out of individual therapy and placing her in group dog counseling. While your library has a far more practical purpose, it still leaves open the concept of “need” vs “nice to have.”

  3. Dale Strauss

    05/05/2011 at 2:27 am

    I am so glad to see DNel express what many of us have been feeling for the longest time. For many, many people, the iPad is “enough” and serves the real valuable function of browsing, email, media, etc…BUT…I am so sad for the folks who keep trying to drive that square peg in a round hole. I myself have gone back and forth between iPad, Android, and my HP 2740p, and with the exception of battery life and weight, the HP runs circles around the “slate tablets.”

    I got tired of all the iPad compromises – always turning myself inside out getting files onto and off of the iPad; compromises between Word and all of the editing choices out there; no change tracking; difficulty in browsing network share; NO INKING (even the BEST note taking apps, like Note Taker HD, make you have to think about what and where you are writing, unlike an active digitizer in OneNote that is truly pen on paper quality); and there are times when you really just have to have a keyboard. When you need Word or Excel, that’s what you need. I would kill for an iPad size/endurance tablet that could do everything my HP can, but for now why torture yourself with these compromises.

    Trust me, I do get it – for so many people the iPad is the perfect “Post-PC” and will serve them well (sales figures already prove that), but it is NOT what Gottabemobile is or should be about.

    • Anonymous

      05/05/2011 at 3:07 pm

      Dale,

      Thanks for your comments on this. I’m going to push back here a bit on your statement, “but it is NOT what Gottabemobile is or should be about.”

      Going back to when the site was founded I thought Rob and Dennis chose the appropriate name by choosing GottaBeMobile.com. While we covered Tablet PCs and all came from those roots, we all knew then that things were going to change when it came to mobile computing. Rob and Dennis’ foresight in picking that name should be admired as much now as it was then.

      Set aside the part of any discussion on this topic that says we have to pay attention to market realities if want to attract the revenue necessary to keep us in business. That is indeed true, but it is not my point here.

      If we’re not about covering the devices, services, gadgets, accessories, Apps, personalities that change mobile computing, then I don’t know what we should be about. As I said in an earlier comment in this thread, as much as I agree, and say, that the current crop of Tablets don’t offer what a Tablet PC offers in terms of functionality, I’d rather be covering what I consider a platform with momentum than one, that at the moment, is dormant and waiting for what Microsoft will show us down the road.

      If you take the long view (as Rob and Dennis did in naming the site) I think you have to argue that no matter how you feel about the iPad or IOS or Android or HP’s still yet to be delivered webOS, or whatever that Apple has changed the game. Microsoft and everyone else are left to play catch up, and in Microsoft’s case it is it’s own damn fault.

      Let’s put it this way. Whatever Microsoft comes out with at Windows 8 time, I will bet you dollars to donuts that it will be as much influenced by whatever Apple has done with the iPad and Google is doing with Android, as it was by what Microsoft did with Tablet PCs. I’ll go further with that. If it isn’t then Microsoft doesn’t have a change of competing.

      As to naming one thing that hasn’t been available for years on a Tablet PC? You’re correct on most fronts, as I think all of us who blog here continually point out time and time again. But the two you mention, form factor and price I do think are important factors. Remember price points for Tablet PCs demonstrated Microsoft’s thinking that they were business/enterprise class or targeted at the education sector more than consumers.

      • Dale Strauss

        05/05/2011 at 10:40 pm

        Warner

        Thanks for the thoughtful reply, and I admit I was a bit over the top about the site name. Sometimes the frustration level with the failure of Tablet PC to catch on is only equaled by the frustration level of “why can’t my iPad do that.” Every time I feel the “new” tablet market ushered in by the iPad panders to the lowest common denominator…then I play with Garageband or see the videos of some fo the cool medical software and I just gape in wonder at what the device could be.

        Software is everything at this point, and perhaps DataViz and Quickoffice will break out of their Palmcentric genes and deliver a truly compatible version of Word and Excel that will take our breath away…it is a market just begging for a home run because we all know that Microsoft and Apple aren’t going to deliver that level of performance. This one thing alone would seal the deal for the iPad in the enterprise.

        I too love the iPad form factor and battery life. In addition, I think it is a near perfect solution to work from “apps” as opposed to “applications” as they are always so much better focused, precise, and to the point. Its just that like most old dogs, I’m not ready to compromise so much to save 2 lbs and gain 6 hours of battery life.

        “I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now!” (apologies to Freddie Mercury)

        • Anonymous

          05/06/2011 at 1:39 am

          Freddie Mercury would be proud.

  4. Anonymous

    05/05/2011 at 5:46 am

    This past week the TLC network premiered a new series called Extreme Couponing. It has drawn a great deal of controversy across the internet. one smart source for coupon is “Printapons” check it out

  5. Anonymous

    05/05/2011 at 5:50 am

    Tablet PCs are too expensive, have poor battery life and are too heavy. Tablet PCs still maintain the lead in software selection, but tablets are quickly catching up. Windows has been around much longer than iOS and Android. In less than 2 years tablets with ARM processors have already outsold all Tablet PCs ever sold. Even Microsoft, Intel, HP, Dell, Toshiba, Fujitsu and Lenovo have seen the writing on the wall.

    • Dale Strauss

      05/05/2011 at 1:32 pm

      But you CAN’T see the writing on the screen, and that is the issue! Numbers don’t lie, and the iPad craze has swept the field (I refuse to call it a tablet craze because: (1) there is no tablet market – competitors are just as lame as our beloved Tablet PC’s; (2) they are slates – sorry) .That does not eliminate the fact that they can’t use inking like OneNote (sorry King Jobs, stylus does not equal fail), nor can they run MS Office (and all the work-arounds are just that – lame substitutes).

  6. Anonymous

    05/05/2011 at 10:03 am

    Hate Paper maybe not so exaggerated, but iPad really make people used to read book through e-device, but not on paper!
    “Helped Me Save Over $15,000″, so much, awesome, maybe this is also one of the reason to buy an iPad and so many purchase it!
    Read this reasons of buying an iPad: http://www.theipadfan.com/5-reasons-buy-ipad-2/

  7. Rapalot13

    05/31/2011 at 1:39 am

    “Windows UI on a small screen = disaster (Samsung Q1 Ultra anyone?)”

    That’s not true. I’m using that device, it is simply the best mobile computing device. UMPC’s are far better than tablets that are nothing but big smartphones (without the phone), umpc’s are real full pc’s. There is not comparison. Using windows on a touchscreen device requires resistive touchscreen, windows is not designed for capacitive. Windows seven’s got great features for that type of touchscreen.

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