In honor of the new iPhone release, I want to offer some tips on saving up for that new gadget you (or family members) just have to have. From cell phones to tablets, the first rule of the game is patience.
Typically, a new gadget isn’t a need, it’s a want. Like any ‘want’, you’re going to have to figure out the best way for you to afford it without compromising or worse, blowing your regular budget.
Of course for some, an upgrade may be based on necessity. More and more, people are giving up their landlines and using smartphones exclusively. Or, you may be a student and a computer is required for classwork. If it’s part of your daily life and your device is starting to lag or zap out on you, take that as a sign that it’s time to start saving.
First, treat it like the investment that it is. For big money, every day use purchases, you need to do your homework.
Start with your current provider. Verizon, AT&T and Sprint all offer phone trade ins. You can trade in your older model and get the newer one for a reduced rate. This alone could save you several hundred dollars. However, this could require you to wait a few months before you are eligible for that upgrade. Again, patience and planning are your friend.
But if waiting is not your thing, then shop around to get an idea of how much you need. Set a time frame and then do the math. If the purchase is $400 and you want to have it in two months, that’s $50 a week. What are you willing to give up to accommodate for that $50 a week? http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/electronics-computers/index.htm
For some quick cost savings, look at your plate. If you eat out for lunch more than once a week or have a weekly family dinner at a restaurant, you could reasonably save that money by packing a sandwich or substituting a night out with oven pizza and a trip to the RedBox. http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/cheap-and-healthy-brown-bag-lunch-ideas-for-grownups?page=2
Other than just saving a bit each paycheck, did you know you can make money off your old devices? When a much-anticipated new phone, tablet or gaming system is released, retailers like Best Buy will often make an offer to buy back your old device if it’s in decent condition.
Again, shop around for the best deal. In addition to traditional box retailers, there are some good online options for selling your phone or tablet. Sites like Gazelle https://www.gazelle.com or USell are trustworthy and very easy to use. I sold an iPhone on here and made $100, which was used to pay for my new phone.
One piece of advice, before you sell your device, make sure to restore it to the factory settings. This can easily be done on any phone or tablet through the settings function and will protect any personal or financial information you have tied to your phone, who knows your company might offer some financial assistance.
New gadgets are a lot of fun, but only if you can make them work within your budget. It’s better to be chatting on an older phone than going into debt over the latest and greatest. Especially when you consider a new iPhone is already being invented and will be unveiled next year.
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little one, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens.