Most of us need – and want – tech in our lives. It helps us to be more productive, stay in touch with friends and family, get from point A to point B, and allows us to expand our minds. Yet, while there’s much to love about our devices, there’s no getting around the fact that they can cost us a pretty penny. Once we’ve factored in the cost of the device, the software, wifi, repairs, and so on, we see that our tech is anything but cheap.
But it’s possible that it doesn’t have to be quite as expensive as we think. Below, we take a look at a few ways that you can keep the costs of your tech to a minimum.
What Do You Need?
First thing’s first: what do you actually need? Many people are attracted to the name of the manufacturer, or five-star reviews, or just an awesome design. No problem there, necessarily, unless it’s out of sync with your budget. When it comes to tech, it’s best to focus, first, on what you actually need. As in, what are you trying to achieve with this item of technology? If you’re just looking to browse the web and stream videos, then a new Apple Macbook won’t be necessary. If you need to edit videos and run high-power programs, then it would be appropriate.
Don’t Buy the First Day
It’s easy to get excited when there’s a new piece of tech released, be it a laptop, smartphone, tablet, or whatever else. The tech companies spend a lot of money to raise the hype for their products, to the point where, in some cases, launch day is a huge event. But it’s always worth remembering that if you buy on the first day that the product is released, then you’re going to pay for it. This is when the cost will be at its highest. If you have a little patience and wait beyond the first day, you’ll find that there are many better deals available. Plus, you often need to queue up to get the most hyped products on the first day, and you could surely live without that.
It’s also worth considering whether you need to buy any new tech at all. There will be many second-hand options available at a fraction of the price. If you can’t live with a couple of scratches, then take a look at refurbished products. These look and feel brand new but typically cost 40% less than new products. You’ll find that you’ve got an essentially new product — which no one will be able to tell isn’t new — while keeping your bank balance in healthy condition. This is an especially good option when it comes to those pieces of kit that always cost a lot of money, but which you need.
Buy at the Right Time
Patience is the key to so many things in life, including when it comes to buying your technology. We’ve already mentioned that you should avoid buying products on the first day, and there are also specific times of the year that can be considered the best time to buy. There are normally good deals to be had around Black Friday, after Christmas, and in the Spring. If you’re not in any immediate rush to own the product, then simply wait until one of these periods to arrive and see if the item is available. You might just find that you can get the tech for a steal of a price.
It’s not just the hardware that costs a lot. The software that you use for entertainment, creative projects, and especially your business operations can all cost a lot too. While there might be some instances where you have to spend the cash, it’s worth looking to see if there’s a free, open-source option instead. There usually is. This software will be just as good as the more heavily marketed software, but it won’t cost you a penny.
As well as the software, you’ll also want to keep on your subscriptions. Part of what makes technology so fun is that it allows us to do so much. We can watch videos, listen to music, play games, and just about everything else. But of course, there’s a cost to pay for the premium versions. If you have Netflix, Spotify, Hulu, HBO and the other popular paid subscription services on your laptop, then you’ll be looking at a pretty hefty monthly bill. Try to limit to just what you really need and get rid of the rest. You really don’t need two different film and television streaming services unless it’s your main passion.
The Internet and Data
It’s easy to forget that by themselves, smartphones and laptops and so on aren’t that effective. They only become special once they’re connected to the internet. And as we all know, the internet can be quite expensive. While there are good deals to be had on home internet (since there’s a lot of competition), mobile data costs can be quite high. Before agreeing to an expensive contract, it’s worthwhile thinking about how much data and minutes you actually need. You could be stuck with a long-term bill that you don’t make the most of. One of the best ways to spend your money wisely is to use a service like SMARTY mobile, which gives you money back for the data that you don’t use. You can save further by double-checking the rules for international travel for your data plan — people are still getting caught out by expensive roaming charges.
Sell Your Old Goods
Most people, when they buy a new piece of tech, but the item that it’s replacing in a drawer, and never think about it again. What good is it there? It’ll only be gathering dust. Instead, you can list your items for sale, and make up some of the money that you’ve spent on the new goods. Some products hold their value really well. If you’ve got an iPhone 7 in your drawers somewhere, for instance, then you could have a couple of hundred pounds in your bank account pretty quickly.
Research Before Buying
You can save money on your tech by conducting thorough research beforehand to check that it really is the best option for you. Sometimes, we buy an item, only to find that it’s not for us, and then we need to buy something else to replace it. A little bit of research can prevent this problem. Also, it’s best that you avoid looking only at what’s cheapest. It’ll be cheap for a reason. It’s much to spend more money on a product that’ll last you five years, rather than buy a cheap product that you’ll need to replace in six months. While there are deals to be had, there are some items that are cheap for a reason. You get what you pay for!
Finally, if you really want to reduce the amount that you’re spending on your tech, then get off the upgrade treadmill. There will be times when you have to get a new product, but if you’re getting one out of habit every time the latest model comes out, then it’s likely that you’re spending too much. It’s worth upgrading every three models, not every one, since the differences between two products are mostly minimal.
With the above tips, you can reduce your tech costs without compromising the effectiveness of the tech in your life.