Why You Shouldn't Buy Tech With Credit

Why You Shouldn't Buy Tech With Credit

Range Govindan
May 31, 2011

Many companies update their tech devices every year or so. Some of them are on rigid schedules, trickling down upgrades to consumers but actually holding back some until the next update the following year so that users will buy them no matter what. What does that mean to the tech enthusiast? How often can or should you update your tech when companies release new products?

Like many people nowadays, we often start lusting after the best and newest tech devices, but just like everyone else, we can't just go around updating our devices every few months. The cost alone would bankrupt us easily because not many people can afford buying a few laptops, tablets, and phones every year. When buying new tech, it makes sense to buy the most performing devices that you can afford so that they last you longer. When we upgraded laptops, we chose the MacBook Pro with the fastest processor to ensure that it would last us at least a few years.

It's also good to have a tech budget, so that you don't impulse buy tech. As a rule, we don't buy tech on credit anymore, opting instead to pay for it with cold hard cash. It saves you a bundle on interest fees and you get a real idea of how much each device costs instead of those handy monthly payments. When you buy on credit, you'd be surprised at how much a laptop costs with credit card interest rates, making that budget laptop and luxury items in a matter of months (or years, depending upon how good you are about paying back).

When it comes to computers, especially desktops, we try to make them last as long as possible. If you've got a PC, it's easy to update them cheaply without spending too much money. A new graphics card, a new hard drive, more RAM, all of these will give an aging PC a bit more life. Since a lot of desktop computer parts are easily interchangeable, you can slowly upgrade yours without breaking the bank. Common sense indicates that every two to four years, you'd be due for some kind of update.

For laptops, just like desktops, we try to make them last as long as possible. Gregory updated his MacBook Pro from 2009 with some new RAM and a solid state drive to get more life out of it. To keep costs down, you could replace the super drive with a kit that will house a new SSD system drive. That would allow you to purchase a 128 GB or 256 GB drive instead of opting for the larger, more expensive SSDs out there.

As for tablets, currently we're trying to put off getting one because we'll be entering a sweet spot in tablet releases this fall. So if you're able to wait a few more months, you'll have quite a few different choices. Love them or hate them, tablets have become the way to easily consult ebooks, especially textbooks for classes and research, in the right form factor, making them necessary for some people.

Depending on which cell phone carrier you deal with, they might have some specific upgrade plans available for you if you are planning on changing your phone with a new one. These buy-back programs are common and they usually give you $50 or $100 off a new phone. They can get really interesting if you sign longer contracts. Just make sure that you inquire about these things before you sign a 2-year contract, because getting out of one is annoying.

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(Image: Flickr user The Tartanpodcast under license from Creative Commons)

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