Tech manufacturers can get insidious with their updates. They'll release an updated version of tech that you use daily, every year. While for some this might be necessary, for most of us it can just drain our dwindling finances, which is why you should always buy tech for the long run. Here's how you can do it :
1. Cell Phones
By far, cell phones and smart phones are the tech device that get replaced the most often. If you have an iPhone, Apple releases a new phone almost every year. In order to make yours last longer, try getting yours with the most onboard memory (currently, that would be an iPhone 4S 64GB), and not buying a simple spec update (i.e. if you have an iPhone 4, wait until the iPhone 5 is released). This will extend the life of your technology. In the worst case scenario, you could always try to sell your phone second-hand. First try social networking, then move onto eBay and Craigslist and you'll likely find someone who'll take your old tech off your hands.
Just like cell phones, tablets get updated quickly. It seems like the iPad 2 was only just released and tech sites were already talking about the iPad 3. No matter which tablet you have, you'll probably extend the life of yours by getting a 3G version. Having access to the Internet anywhere makes a big difference on a device like this.
3. Music Players
While manufacturers would like to make you believe that you need to update your mp3 players every year as well, you don't. Our iPod Classic 160G dates from '08 and until an mp3 player with more storage is released, we won't update it since it works fine.
4. Laptop Computers
Cell phones and tablets are harder to upgrade, which is why you can usually make your laptop last 3 to 5 years, depending on how you use it. The trick is to buy yours when it's a new model. We're expecting a major redesign of the MacBook Pro this year, so if you purchase one this year, you'll be able to make it last for a while, with some tech updates (more RAM, bigger hard drive, adding a SSD). The Asus W7M we have dates from '08 and we upgraded to a MacBook Pro 17 in January 2011.
5. Desktop Computers Desktops are very easy to keep for a long time. Our current PC desktop, which we use everyday, dates from 2006 and is just starting to show signs of slowing down. While we recommend updating a desktop with new tech as much as you can, we haven't updated ours in any way. PC desktops allow you to change and upgrade parts, like video cards, hard drives, RAM, and other bits, which will make them last a long time.
MORE SMART TECH BUYING ON APARTMENT THERAPY:
• Tips on How to Extend Your Desktop's Life
• Tips for Staying on Budget with Tech
• Spend on This, Skimp on This
• When Should You Buy New Tech
(Images: Flickr member Ninja Monkey licensed for use under Creative Commons, Flickr member Renatomitra licensed for use under Creative Commons, Flickr member Everyplace licensed for use under Creative Commons and Flickr member Ramseymohsen licensed for use under Creative Commons)