New technology is fun to have. From the newest cell phone or computer to a television with the latest gadgets, they are all neat to have. But new technology is also almost always expensive to buy. In addition, nothing seems to depreciate like technology, except for maybe a new automobile.
When it comes to saving money, getting out of debt, and building wealth, buying new technology can be a major obstacle. I am a technology geek at heart and love all the new things that seem to come out each year. I understand the feeling that many people have to buy the latest and greatest. However, I am also very thrifty at heart.
Purchasing new technology items in almost every case for consumer items is a waste of money. The only circumstance I can think of is if buying something will do a better job at something to save money in the long run. This may be the case for something such as a business. If a new technologically advanced machine will do a better job or produce more, it makes sense. For the rest of us, daily luxury items and toys do not fall into this category.
Buying the newest cell phone, for example, is not going to earn us extra money. Spending a thousand dollars on one may get a person more memory or take better photos, but it won’t do much more. One of the keys to putting more money away is limiting the purchase of things that depreciate in value. Almost all technology depreciates and it goes down in value like a freight train typically.
How Can You Save on New Technology?
The best way to save your money on new technology items is by not buying them. I know it can be challenging but resist the urge. I completely understand wanting that newest thing that is so cool and impressive. The truth is that thing you buy maybe half the value in a year or two and outdated. Why spend hard earned money on something that will go from cool and impressive to dull and no longer remarkable in just a few years? There are better ways to spend money that are exciting like investing the money and seeing it grow. This to me seems much more sensational than a cell phone that takes better photos than the previous one.
Cell phones are a great example of wasting money on technology. I always wonder how someone could be so irresponsible to spend as much as a thousand dollars on a phone. If someone wants a cell phone with internet, texting, and the capability to take photos or video, most of the previous models do this very well and they can be as much as half the price or more of a new one. Just buying technology items a few years old opposed to the newest thing can save a lot of money.
What Are Some Ways to Save on Technology?
Buy Technology Behind
I have used the practice of always being a little behind to get the newest thing. It may not be the most advanced technology, but it is the newest to me. For example, my television recently finally gave out and was not repairable. The model I purchased as a replacement was a few years old and several hundred dollars cheaper than the newest version. My old TV was HD quality. I was able to purchase a 4k one for about the same price I paid for the HD one several years ago. The newest one with even better resolution and features will drop in price by the time I need a replacement again and I will purchase it. The result is an upgrade in technology.
Now I know what some people may be thinking. Technology that is too old will have issues. This can be true. No matter what cell phone makers say, a really old cell phone will have problems. I don’t believe for a minute that they keep the software up to date so older technology functions properly. The reality I believe is at some point it goes downhill and continuous problems will occur. This is how they sell cell phones. Thus, encouraging people to buy new ones.
Computers are another issue. Buying one that is too old can be a problem. Support for versions of software does end. I have an old computer that currently has this issue with YouTube TV. The operating system on the computer can no longer receive updates due to old hardware. The browser version is not able to get updates due to this. The version required to watch television on the computer is not able to be used, thus it is outdated.
There is a time period to save on technology items and still have them useable. As little as even a year or two makes a big difference in price and is most often safe. This is not the case with all things. Some older technology can also be relevant. It is just important to do a little research before making a purchase.
Be Patient and Wait Some Time
Save money on things built with new technology by being patient and waiting. This always seems to happen. You might see that new television with the best color and picture you ever thought would even be possible. The next year it is selling for half the price it was the previous year. Anytime I see something with the latest and greatest I just sit back and wait. If it is something I need, I pick it up at the reduced cost.
Cell phones are a big one for being patient. I do not ever upgrade until it just has too many issues to function any longer unless they are giving them away for free with service. Even with this which not many cell service providers do any longer, I rarely get the newest one. Getting an older model and paying cash is the way to go. The great thing is, at least with my provider, I do not have to renew any type of contract. This is worth the wait for me. I personally do not like a contract for cellular service. They always try to sell me on the newest thing that can be had for a discount and a renewed contract. No thanks.
When something stops working rather than racing out to buy the newest model, consider repairing it. This can extend the life of that television or cell phone. Make sure to first evaluate the costs involved with a repair. If a repair is much less than a replacement, then make the fix.
Professional repair technicians can be expensive, but they can also be affordable compared to a new purchase. With a lot of things, I am a big supporter of trying to fix an item myself. It will almost always save me money. I may even take a small gamble once in a while if I am not too sure I will be able to fix something. If a replacement part to solve a problem may cost for example $10 and extend the life of something a few years, I will try to fix it myself.
You would be surprised by the repair information available on the internet if you are not already aware. There is a wealth of information available to refurbish things with YouTube being one of my favorite teachers.
Buy Used or Refurbished
When someone has used something for a while the price is most often dropped due to the appeal of it no longer being new. Buying used items can save quite a bit of money. With some electronic technology it can be a gamble buying used, but depending on the price it may be an option. Also, with many items, you can research the reliability of them. Consumer Reports is a great resource for just about anything. Even better are product reviews on YouTube. There is a review for just about anything you can think of.
One example I have for being careful is for buying an AV receiver. There are certain models that run cooler than others. Ones that run hot tend to overheat and shutdown. An older used receiver has the possibility of having issues with overheating. It is best to stick with a model that is known not to have issues.
Refurbished items can be bought at a good discount. These may be items that were possibly returned because someone did not like or want it. It could also be something that was not working and then parts were replaced to get it up to working condition. The great thing about buying refurbished is it can sometimes even come with a warranty. It may not be as long of one as buying something new, but it does provide some protection.
With online shopping places like Amazon and eBay, buying used or refurbished things has become a much better buying experience. Amazon has great return policies for many of its things. eBay also is getting better at being in favor of the buyer with many sellers offering a window for returning things.
I would caution against purchasing something used from a site like Craig’s List or a Garage Sale. Great deals can be found at these places, but it is important to know that there is more of a gamble.
Auctions or Estate Sales can also be a good place to purchase things. I have attended a number of them over the years. They are not just for buying antiques. Many auctions and estate sales will sell household items, such as televisions and stereo equipment. There is somewhat of a gamble with these as well, but if the price is right it can be a good deal. A few resources I use to find local estate sales and auctions are estatesales.net and auctionzip.com. Local sales are easy to find. If you have never been to an auction or estate sale, I highly recommend it. There are some good deals many times.
Sell the Old One or Trade It
I still recommend not buying the newest technology. However, to save some money with something a little older, sell the old thing or trade it in before making a new purchase. Some retailers will offer money for a trade-in. This can be an option if it is available. But selling, for example a cell phone on eBay, will more than likely result in more money.
Sell the old stuff before buying the new (or at least the new to you). This will reduce the cost of a purchase. This is even the case very often with broken or damaged goods. Cell phones, televisions, and computers can all be sold for just parts online. People will often buy them to repair something they already have. Just do a search online for parts on various items that are quickly technologically outdated and you will see there can be a big market. If selling part only things online is something you decide to do, just make certain the description clearly states this.
Saving Money on Technology is Easy
Saving money on technology really is simple. It is more of a choice to just decide to do so and follow some simple guidelines. For someone trying to get out of debt and save money, buying the latest and greatest technology is a terrible decision due to the fast depreciation on most things. Why pay more for something then you need to in any situation?
As consumers, we all like to buy things. It could be things we need or things to make us happy and enjoy life. But do we really need all of it? The answer is probably not. Life will not end with buying an older version of something. However, life can be enjoyed much more with being debt free.