Global spending on consumer technology devices surpassed $1 trillion, according to the Consumers Electronics Association, with the average customer spending an estimated $325.25 on digital content and technology in 2018.
Downloads, subscriptions, and streaming service numbers are on the rise while the hunt is constant for mobile internet deals or internet connection improvements.
In addition, the annual Consumer Electronics Show has become a highly anticipated event each year, as consumers eagerly await the new technological releases from industry giants. However, a flipside of consumers adopting technology into their daily lives is that new tech comes with a hefty pricetag.
If you are like millions of other consumers and wish to be tech savvy on a budget, there are several ways you can get around the high costs of the world’s latest technological innovations.
Explore the Merits of Vendor Financing & Personal Credit
Many electronic and technology providers offer lease terms and contracts in order to appeal to a larger demographic. This is seen as a way to improve access for people of all budgetary means.
However, while this can be a handy way to avoid spending too much of your income at once, you should take the time to view and understand the terms of any contracts. Some include a high-interest rate which when translated over time, equates to you paying much more than the original sticker price.
Alternatively, you can access personal or consumer financing (think credit cards or small personal loans).
The key is to compare the interest rate and choose the one with the lowest cost. Keep in mind your credit history will impact the choice of personal financing available to you, and of course, the rates offered.
If you opt for the use of a credit card, go for one with promotions such as zero percent charged balance transfers or on purchases. In the US, credit card rates averaged around 15.5 percent in 2018 while some other countries such as India, interest rates can average as high as 41 percent.
Choosing this option gives you a head start on repayment without the finance charges.
Try Hardware as a Service or Software as a Service
Trying out hardware or software as a service model are two great options for small businesses or entrepreneurs who are just getting off the ground and working with a very strict budget.
Suitable for processors, security systems or hardware, service providers offer the use of the tech for a preset monthly fee (suitable to the premise on which cellphone contracts operate).
This means you avoid paying any upfront cost while allowing you to access the latest technology. It is also set for a specified period similar to a lease, which allows you the option to upgrade, renew or withdraw when it comes time for renewal.
Opting For Alternative Models
The great thing about the constant innovation in the technology industry is that improved models (and budget-friendly models) are always being developed and released.
The reality is that for a lot of the technology out there, you are paying a hefty premium for the brand.
However, once you identify the standout features in the technology that you covet, you can then shop around for a lower priced one with only one difference: a different brand.
One glance at the mobile phone industry, and you will notice multiple brands all with their own versions of the latest released smartphones and boasting almost identical security features or processors.
For software or even wi-fi provision, shopping around can shave hundreds off your bill. A little known trick is that providers are most than happy to construct a deal for a customer that may have spotted a better one elsewhere.
Competition is fierce; use it as leverage and your wallet will thank you.
Overall, it is about assessing each option against your personal financial situation currently and in the future.
There is more to consider that the upfront price or discounts. Sometimes paying less now can end up costing you more in the long run. However, there is merit to this option for some.
Take the time, do your research and measure up the full cost against your finances and you will be sure to find the best option for you.