How to learn computer skills cheaply

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people-learning-computer-skillsPlenty of middle aged people are computer experts. My husband is in his mid fifties but he’s an SEO consultant with one of the best respected Search Engine Optimisation agencies in the country. And I’m no slouch either.

But there’s no getting away from it – if you’re over forty you have a decent chance of being fluent in computers, from 50 onwards the likelihood reduces as you age.

So how can you get to grips with one of the most exciting innovations the human race has ever dreamed up and claim your place in the online world with confidence and flair? And can you do it without spending a fortune?

Here are some low cost ideas for shedding your computer L-Plates

  • Find a cheap computer course at your local Further Education establishment, school, uni or independent college. If you’re on a low income or benefits you might even qualify for free training. The European Computer Driving License is a good start for absolute beginners and teaches you the rock-bottom basics
  • Check out what’s happening in your local community centre – they often run free beginners courses
  • Find a freelance computer training bod and pay them to teach you
  • If you learn best by studying print, buy one on Amazon Marketplace where they sell new and second hand books. The ‘Dummies Guides’ series is very good – just make sure you buy a recent edition not a ten year old guide
  • Ask around family and friends to see if anyone has a spare teenager who could do with some extra cash
  • If you’re working, see if your employer will fund a course for you. Computer literacy boosts your skills and you’ll be a more valuable once you’re fluent, whatever you do for a living

5 core things to learn first

There’s an infinite amount of stuff to learn. But it’s best to stick to the basics at first, learning how to:

  1. Turn the machine on and off and understand the keyboard
  2. Open programmes and get / read / reply to emails
  3. Recognise spam and delete it safely, protect yourself against viruses and malicious software
  4. Explore the internet via Google
  5. Use the basics of Microsoft Word ( for typing documents) and Excel (for making spreadsheets)

Once you can do all that, you can move on to fun things like:

  • Skyping to get ridiculously cheap phone calls
  • Using Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for exciting social interaction without all the faff
  • Building your own website using free tools designed for novices
  • Starting your own blog to make your opinions heard
  • Shopping on Ebay for crazy bargains and stuff you can’t buy locally
  • Using discount codes to track down brilliant special offers
  • Playing computer games with people all over the planet
  • Watching films and videos online
  • Downloading your own unique music collection

What computer do you need to buy?

Unless you discover you’re a gaming fiend, download loads of movies or save masses of videos sent to you by email, you won’t need an all-singing, all-dancing machine with the maximum amount of power and memory. Go for something basic.

Because laptops use as little as 10% of the energy eaten up by desktop computers, they’re a good way to save cash on energy. And they take up less space.

Why not have a look at our site for a choice of computer discount codes?

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About Author

I’m Kate Goldstone. I live just outside Brighton, high up on the South Downs, with my husband Tony and our three cats. I’m dedicated to saving money, spending less, buying wisely, cutting waste, re-using, recycling, re-purposing and generating cash from the stuff I no longer want.

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