If you have ever waited on line to buy the latest version of a smartphone or paid big bucks for an enormous flat screen TV that made your friends turn green with envy, you know how much fun it can be to buy the latest and greatest electronic gadgets. In addition to the thrill of the purchase, it can be nice to have technology that comes equipped with the coolest new features.
At the same time, you might wonder when it is best to splurge and when you should keep your current technology a bit longer and save your money. After all, that amazing new phone will be upgraded in about a year and the TV will probably come down in price, so should you buy or should you wait?
Learn the key terms and details prior to purchasing
When your parents bought a new phone, they pretty much had to choose between rotary and touch tone. Nowadays, most electronics come equipped with an alphabet full of terms and features that may help determine which models are best. In order to make sure you are spending your hard-earned money wisely, educate yourself on these different terms and details. A good example of this is a mobile platform that includes 4G LTE features. Mobile platforms like Qualcomm Snapdragon are ultra fast to charge, and feature long battery life and super fast speeds, all thanks to 4G LTE technology. 4G LTE networks are so quick that, when you are using a mobile device with this type of mobile platform, it will act as fast as a home PC that is connected to a wireless broadband network. If you use your mobile devices a lot for work or personal use, investing in something with 4G LTE is definitely a good idea.
Remember that prices typically drop on innovative new technology
Have you ever shelled out big bucks for the latest and greatest version of something, only to see the price drop dramatically over the next year? This frustrating experience happens quite often for certain types of tech, including top of the line TVs. Before dropping a cool thousand or two on the latest high end TV, remember what you are really using your TV for — to show you images that look great, to entertain you and to look nice in your living room. In most cases, a nice 32-inch HD TV like this Samsung for less than 300 clams will probably do the trick over a 75-inch 4K curved screen that costs several month’s worth of rent. If you are tempted to take the plunge anyway on a super fancy TV, check out Statista’s graph showing how the prices have dramatically dropped on 4K TVs between 2012 and 2017. While you could have expected to pay over $8K for a 55-59 inch model six years ago, the same TV is currently available for around $640. That is an enormous price drop, and it is not limited to just TVs. Prior to making that super pricey purchase, take some time to research how the prices have come down over the years and ask yourself if it’s really worth it to you to pay that much now, or if you can wait a year or two to save some big bucks.
Take an honest look at your usage
Yes, buying the newest version of a tech gadget can be thrilling. But as Mint suggests, you may be using it less often than you think. Before plunking down the money for the latest version of your smartphone, monitor your usage and see if it’s something you really use all of the time, or if you use your laptop more often. The same approach can be used for any type of tech purchase; you might be surprised to learn that you don’t really watch that much TV, or that you really prefer your PC to your laptop. Once you realize what you actually use, you can plan your splurges more carefully. To make smartphone purchases more budget-friendly, you might inquire if your carrier offers automatic upgrades after a certain amount of time.
Shopping is fun — so is saving money
At the end of the day, it’s important to determine if that shiny new gadget is worth more to you than having more money in the bank. If you determine that the tech is something you require for your work and you use it all the time, by all means splurge on it. But if you can wait a bit longer and take care of what you have, you may be pleasantly surprised to see your coveted tech item dropping dramatically in price.