Rahul247rocks, a member of the LockerGnome community, asks: “What’s your worst tech buy ever?“
If you’re a geek, and you have money in your pocket, you are probably itching to spend it on something that lights up or makes noise. Let’s face it, we’re a community of gadget lovers, and nothing makes us happier than getting our hands on the latest and greatest gadget. Unfortunately, time and time again we find ourselves burned by a gadget that sounds great on paper, but doesn’t end up being as impressive as it was made out to be. Here are five tips for avoiding a regrettable tech buy.
Buy for the Long-Term
When you’re considering your purchase, think in the long-term. Sure, that shiny new phone would make you happy today, but isn’t a new model expected next month? Consider where the market is headed and how plausible it is that something better will come along in the next few weeks. Consider what you’ll be doing with this particular product ten months down the line. Research what it does, and how well it does it. Is the company dependable? Does it support its products, even if its fails to reach sales goals?
Don’t Be an Early Adopter
Let me be frank: I’m an early adopter. I love buying the latest and greatest gadgets first, and telling everyone I know about how they work and why they should or shouldn’t get them. This is part of the appeal of tech blogging, and being a tech pundit means having to give up a chunk of your paycheck from time to time to take advantage of the latest technologies. Unfortunately, it also means I have more than my share of unused tech laying around my home, gathering dust and doing little to help my savings goals. Reselling these products is possible, but only to my advantage if the gadget turned out to be a good buy.
Wait a few months after something comes out and pay close attention to what early adopters are saying about the gear. Let these individuals be your human shields that take the brunt of the hit on the pocketbook and let you know whether or not something is a good buy, or a regrettable one. If you want further evidence of this point, just ask anyone who bought an iPhone the day it first came out. Within three months, the price had dropped by hundreds of dollars. The next iteration of the device was priced at a third of the original model, and featured better wireless connectivity options. That isn’t to say the first iPhone was bad, but early adopters didn’t get the most bang for their buck on that deal.
Pay Close Attention to Reviews
Tech reviewers typically try their hardest to be fair and balanced when informing their audience about a particular product. As a general rule of thumb, every review includes both the positive and negative aspects about a product. Unfortunately, giving an impression of a piece of technology is as much about the perception of the reviewer as a movie review would be. If someone generally really likes the product they write about, it can be easy for them to overlook or otherwise wash over the negative aspects of a particular product. This is why it’s so important to read multiple reviews from trusted sources and take customer reviews for what they’re worth. People generally don’t go out of their way to praise a product, but they will say as many negative things as they can when they’re faced with buyer’s remorse themselves.
Set a Limit on Price and Frequency of Your Tech Buys
You can usually arrange with your bank to have a certain amount automatically moved from one account to another on a weekly or monthly basis. This is a great way to grow your savings account in addition to setting a hard budget on your buying habits. For example, setting a $50 transfer every week or month will limit your purchasing to $50 during that period. If you want something very expensive outside of that, you have to wait. By giving yourself a limitation, and not pooling all the money with your normal expenses, you can avoid the buyer’s remorse that comes with overspending. You’ll also feel a lot better about that tech buy knowing that you saved for a period of time for it, and that appreciation will continue for some time to come.
If you have any inclination that you’re uncertain about whether or not you should get something, wait until you don’t. Seeing something that looks good, and being unsure about whether or not you should get it is a very good indication that you’re not entirely committed to the purchase. Every tech pundit in the country might be praising the next big thing, and it might be pretty cool, but that very thing could be what they look back on and regret praising the most months later. Just ask anyone who went public with their 100% belief that HD DVD players were the best possible choice. Within months, you couldn’t find one for sale anywhere.
Rushing to the store and getting the latest and greatest gadget is a great way to fall into the marketing trap and end up with something you’ll regret getting. This may not happen in every instance, but if it didn’t happen at all, you wouldn’t be reading this article in the first place.