Modern life is all about technology, and the variety of gadgets, software, and hardware increases at an exponential rate every year. If you love a bit of tech (and who doesn’t!), then you’ll be surrounded by temptation every time you turn on your laptop, tablet or smartphone. You could easily spend a small fortune on tech in a very short space of time, but just because it’s there, or sounds clever, doesn’t mean it’s worth parting with your hard-earned dollars. Take a moment to consider what you will get out of the latest gadget, and don’t let yourself succumb to clever marketing without thinking through all the consequences.
Can you afford it?
This should be one of the first considerations because getting yourself into debt just to have a new toy or game is not a good idea. If you have the cash, then you’re free to spend it as you wish, but at least stop and ask yourself if this particular item will be worthwhile, and if something better comes out in a few months’ time, will you wish you’d waited? Of course, if you are dead set on buying something, you can use your credit card and pay it off over a few months, but you still need to be sure you can afford the repayments and that you won’t be paying exorbitant rates of interest. You can find out more about various credit options that could be worth considering in this article.
Will it serve a purpose?
Serving a purpose can apply not only to functional items but to purely pleasure-related purchases. If you buy yourself a robo-vacuum, then as long as it does what it’s designed to and relieves you of a chore while keeping your floors nice and clean, it’s serving a purpose. Having a collection of robo-vacuums, or one that doesn’t cope with your kind of flooring very well is just a waste, serving no purpose at all. In terms of recreational items, if they entertain you, relax you, provide hours of fun and continue to do so for a long period of time, then they are serving their purpose. Having a stack of expensive video games that you rarely play is, again, a waste. So when determining the purpose of an item you’re tempted to buy, be realistic about what you will get out of it.
Will this technology be superseded very quickly?
Every time you read about the latest tech developments, stop and ask yourself whether they will be worth buying right now. All sorts of gadgets and software have been promoted at the time of their release as being the must-have item, the future of technology and so on. However, not everything takes off or endures. Just consider the mini-disc, or even the old Betamax videos; touted as the best, but wiped out by VHS in a very short space of time. When something new comes out, be objective about the likelihood that it will endure, and see what you can find out from reviews by industry experts. For example, many of the new wave of smart TVs released only a few years ago are now becoming obsolete, as the technology behind streaming and digital advances to the point where the televisions are no longer compatible. You can’t know for sure, of course, but jumping on everything that comes out just because it’s new is bound to result in you having a cupboard full of unusable gadgets.
More software or a whole new system?
New software is being developed every day, and even the latest releases for major platforms like Windows and iOS are constantly being updated. Added to this is the vast number of software packages that perform a specific function that could be lacking in your existing systems. This is particularly true in business, where new programs are added to the basic operating system until the whole thing becomes akin to a Frankenstein’s monster of odd pieces of software effectively all nailed to the system. Not only does this defeat the object of having clever tools to solve particular problems, but it is liable to slow your system down as well. Rather than keep adding to your monstrous conglomeration of software, you might be better off purchasing a whole new system or buying into a cloud service that includes all the functionality you were trying to employ with your odd programs. Making the transfer could be a bit of a headache, but the gains you’ll make in efficiency, speed, and interoperability will make your efforts more than worthwhile.
Don’t hoard your tech
If you do buy something that turns out to be disappointing, don’t discard it. If you can’t return it for a refund or exchange, then sell it straight away. There’s a thriving second-hand market in used tech of all kinds, but you need to be quick and shift your unwanted items before they go out of fashion. You might wonder about the value of hanging on to some items in case they’re worth money in the future, and that could certainly be true in some cases. Rare early games can be worth a fair bit now, so you could argue that it’s a good idea to hoard a few things. That doesn’t mean that every bit of tech is going to be worth a fortune in the future though, so if you want to keep something as an investment, make sure it’s worth hanging on to. The same goes for hardware as well as software. If you want to keep an old VCR to play your video collection on, feel free. Most people would ditch the tapes and download a digital copy, but if you like your VCR, that’s fair enough. Keeping hold of every machine you’ve ever owned is possibly a little excessive though!
The amazing selection of tech that gets advertised every day can make you feel like a kid in a sweet shop, and it takes a bit of self-restraint to resist all the lovely, shiny things out there. Resistance is not futile in this case though, so you can save your money for the best tech at the right time, which will be far more rewarding in the long run.