These days, it’s impossible to live without our electronic gadgetry. Our lives depend on phones and computers, while TVs remain the centrepiece of most people’s living rooms.
But household tech doesn’t come cheap – it’s easy to spend hundreds, if not thousands per year on electrical appliances. However, there are several ways to trim your expenditure, if you know how.
Keep reading to learn 10 expert tips for spending less on tech!
#1 – Don’t buy the latest model
This one’s a little obvious. New models are always expensive, and as soon as the latest models arrive, the older models become cheaper. Just how much cheaper depends on the electronic appliance and the brand. For example, iPhone and Samsung release a new generation of smartphone every year. So for every year a generation has been out, it loses value.
iPhone models tend to lose 44% of their value after the first year and 62% after two years, while other brands include Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel lose even more value. In other words, last year’s model of smartphone could cost you half as much as this year’s model.
Not only will buying last year’s model save you money, it has other perks: Any initial bugs and glitches will be ironed out by the next release and there will be more accessories available.
#2 – Time your purchase right
You can also save money by buying at the right time of the year. For instance, January and the lead up to Christmas (Black Friday and Cyber Monday can have good deals – but these aren’t always as good as off-calendar sales throughout the year).
Certain electronic appliances can also be cheaper at certain times of the year. PCs and laptops tend to be discounted in February to coincide with the school year starting. Phones meanwhile tend to be discounted a month before the latest model is released (February for Samsung and September for iPhone).
#3 – Hunt online for coupons
Many electronic retailers offer coupons throughout the year which give buyers discounts of up to 20% on products. (You can find these on various coupon sites..) Joining retailer mailing lists is another great way of being alerted of any special coupons. Keep in mind that promo codes found on these coupons may only last a couple weeks and may only be eligible for certain products, so make sure you always read the small print.
#4 – Try generic brands
Agreeing to be less brand conscious can also save you money on technology. Lesser known brands tend to have lower pricing, and it’s not always at the expense of quality. This can be particularly the case with accessories like headphones and speakers, and there are many generic brands that sell high quality sound devices. For piece of mind, always read reviews so that you know exactly which generic brands are worth buying – and which are better off avoiding.
#5 – Buy the display model
Most stores will sell ‘display models’ at a discount – these items tend to be discounted because they’re technically ‘used’. Display TVs for instance may have been running 12 hours per day, while a display laptop may have been roughly handled by the public.
The discount for display models is usually between 10 to 20%. If the item is still in very good or pristine condition, this is a great way to save a few dollars.
#6 – Shop second-hand
Second-hand electronics are always cheaper – but you do have to be very cautious of the condition. A three-year-old laptop that has been heavily used is likely to run a lot slower than a new laptop. There could even be parts that are damaged or close to failing, needing you to buy a replacement only a few months later.
When buying second hand, it’s important that you trust the seller. Buying from used electronics retailers tends to be the safest option, as they tend to sell appliances in better condition. Plus, you’ll usually be able to get a refund if the item fails within a certain period. Always check out the reviews of sellers to see if they are credible.
If you’re buying from an independent seller online then it pays to be a lot more careful. Always make sure that information on the condition is included in the listing, and check that the photos are of the actual item for sale. Buying through a site like Gumtree can allow you to inspect the condition before you buy.
#7 – Skip the extended warranty
Many electronics retailers will offer a free warranty on all electronic items, which lasts a few months to a year. If you’re given the option to extend your warranty, in most cases, it’s best to say no. Warranties cover repairs on your electronic item – but they may only cover certain repairs included in the small print.
Even if your item breaks and you are able to use your warranty to get “free” repairs, it may turn out that you have paid more in warranty fees than what you may have spent out of your own pocket. Only opt for the extended warranty if you have a track record of breaking electronics (such as constantly dropping and damaging your phone).
#8 – Shop around for finance/contracts
Buying on finance can feel more affordable up front, but you can end up spending a lot more in the long run. Always shop around for interest rates on finance schemes. You should also shop around for phone contracts. Most people don’t realise that phone contracts often contain interest – while paying off the service charge and the cost of the phone, you could also be paying hidden APR.
Buying a phone with cash and then opting for a SIM only deal can work out cheaper in the long run. It’s easy to shop around online for the best SIM only deals, and these are ideal if you’ve already got a phone that you like, but want to change service provider.
#9 – Sell/reuse your old electronics
Too many of us cling onto our old electronics and let them gather dust. While you won’t get a LOT of money for old technology (unless it’s got a vintage appeal such as an old games console, old speakers or an old camera), most old electronics can be sold or reused to earn a little extra money. There are plenty of places online to sell old electronics – some of these buyers may even accept broken items as these can be stripped for parts.
You can also save money by reusing old items. If you’re a parent, it makes sense to give your old phone to your child for them to use as their first phone.
#10 – Weigh up your wants and your needs
When buying anything on a tight budget, it’s always important to weigh up what you want and what you need. Too many of us splash out on tech upgrades that aren’t necessary – such as replacing a 42-inch TV with a 50-inch TV.
Unless you have the money to freely spend, try not to replace electronic appliances unless they’re broken or seriously outdated. While this can be hard to resist if you’re the type of person that loves to have the latest tech, we can’t always have it all, so use common sense when spending dollars and cents!
Lastly, you should also prioritise necessities. A phone is a necessity for most of us and a laptop could be necessity if you need it for school or work. A tablet or a portable speaker isn’t a necessity and for most people, they ought to be treated as a luxury.