Look around and you will see that electronic gadgets are everywhere. In a developed country like Canada and the United States, almost everyone has a phone and almost every family has a computer or a laptop. Thanks to the advancing technology, electronic gadgets are getting faster and cheaper. New gadgets are coming out all the time and the next upgrade seems to be always around the corner. 20 years ago it was unheard of to change your phone every 6 months or buying a TV because the screen is “too small.” This is probably the reason behind people being more materialistic and desire to upgrade their electronic gadgets every year. To these people, having the greatest and the latest means they are hip and cool. Is this really necessary? I strongly believe the answer is NO!
The truth is, if you're replacing electronic gadgets every 6 months or less, you’re simply wasting your hard earned money. It shocks me that so many people are doing this today. No wonder so many people can't manage to save any money for retirement!
Here are 3 frugal and simple ways to save money on electronic gadgets:
1. Buy refurbished
Buying refurbished is a good way to save some hard earned money. Most of the refurbished items are usually store display items or returned items that are barely used. To make refurbished items even more appealing, most of the vendors give you a full warranty period on these refurbished gadgets. For example, refurbished Apple products are basically brand new. I purchased all my Apple products refurbished - the MacBook Pro over 6 years ago and the iMac about half a year ago. They both looked brand new when I took them out from the brown Apple refurbished product boxes. Some people claimed that the brown refurbished boxes are ugly but that is just non-sense. Aren't you recycling the boxes anyway? Isn't it more important to save more than 20%? I was extremely happy to get an Apple product at a reduced price and still have the full warranty.
2. Buy used
If you don’t need the greatest and latest, buying used will typically save you anywhere from 5 - 30% compared to buying new. This is especially true for electronic gadgets that doesn't get updated all that often and the “older” technology is just as good as the new ones. A good example is pro-consumer/professional DSLR cameras. I purchased the Canon 5D camera over 4 years ago for $975. Back then you could get a brand new 5D camera for about $1600. Recently Canon came out with the 5DIII and all of the sudden the top of the line 5DII camera became out of date. Due to my various side businesses, I needed a DSLR with more megapixel and video functions, so I decided to upgrade my 5D to a 5DII. After a long and extended search, I was lucky enough to find a used 5DII for $1000. The camera looked and felt like brand new with very low shutter counts. If I were to purchase the 5DIII brand new it would cost over $3000; if I were to purchase a 5DII brand new it would cost over $2000. I saved a lot of money by buying used. Best of all, I increased my photography rate by about 10% and my photography clients continued to pay me. I was able to recoup the new camera cost very quickly.
Buying used electronic gadgets is great. Not only is the purchase price lower than buying brand new, the gadgets also hold up their value extremely well because the deprecation already took place.
3. Ask yourself, do you really need it?
The best way to save on electronics is asking yourself if you really need it. Do you really need that 45” flat screen TV? Do you really need to upgrade your smartphone? Do you really need to upgrade that laptop you just purchased a year ago? I remember the old days where electronics would last you a LONG time. People didn't upgrade their TV’s every couple of years. People used to only upgrade their TV’s when their TV’s break down and couldn't be repaired at all. People also didn't upgrade their phones and computers because a new one just came out. People typically only upgraded or replaced them when the existing electronics stopped working. This practice meant more money in your pocket for other usages such as investing.
Are you guilty of upgrading your electronic gadgets more often than necessary?