Everyone wants the latest and greatest when it comes to electronics, but keeping up with frequent technological updates on products could have you broke in a year’s time if you’re not careful.
Instead of shelling out your life’s savings to keep up with the changes, consider following some of these suggestions to stay up on tech trends and keep your budget in the green.
1. Sell your old devices to help fund the new ones
Especially if your old iPhone, television or PlayStation is in good condition, you should be able to sell your device (sometimes directly back to the provider, depending on what the device is, although selling it yourself privately could get you more of a profit) and use the money to put towards investing in the newer model. Here’s a guide from Consumer Reports with three good options for selling back your old phones and gadgets, and of course the old standbys of Craigslist and eBay will probably work, too.
2. Negotiate for a better price
As with most consumer products, electronics are usually negotiable, especially during times of year when suppliers are desperate to move items to make room for new things (like at the end of the holiday season, for example, or at the beginning of spring). When it comes to haggling, keep in mind that while it never hurts to try asking for a discount no matter where you’re making your purchase, you might be more likely to get what you ask for when you shoot for an independent or regional store, rather than a big chain.
3. Go for the ugly packaging
If a package looks like it’s been opened or the label has been ripped off — but everything inside seems totally fine and the product actually still works — ask the manager for a discount for taking the battered and bruised packaging off his hands. You should be able to get at least 10 or 15% off right away.
4. Buy it online
Heading to the store to pick out your very own new tech goody might seem like more fun, but by ordering it online you can search around for added coupons that could save you a ton. Check out places like Slickdeals.net, Bargain Jack, techbargains.com and RetailMeNot.com to get your search started.
5. Do your research
One of the easiest ways to avoid overspending on tech goodies is to do your research on when new versions of products are coming out so that you don’t end up buying something that you’ll only want to turn around and replace with the newer option a couple months down the road. Most big-name products tend to have releases around the same time every year anyway (like new iPhone models in September, for example), so get to know those schedules and you’ll never be left with the older version right before something newfangled becomes available.
6. Only buy the more expensive options when it’s really necessary
While it’s true that upgrades are likely to have more bells and whistles that you’ll want when it comes to big products, for other, smaller tech products, sometimes the cheaper options can be just as useful. Take cables, for example. You could dish out hundreds for expensive, long-range cables that promise all kinds of things, but in most cases a generic, high-speed cable that you’ll find for a couple bucks at the store will work just fine. Be sure to check online for reviews of the product before buying it, and stay away from dollar store or flimsy looking options and you should be fine.
7. Avoid the warranty
Whether or not you decide to purchase the additional warranty on an item will be up to you (and might just be determined by how careful you are with your tech toys), but in most cases it simply doesn’t pay. Check out this piece for more on why.