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Upgrading Technology: The Real Costs
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Amanda (She/Her)
Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor
Posted October 20, 2022
Upgrading technology is inevitable in the world that we live in. Operating systems, programs, security settings, and new features are constantly being changed. As we continue to rely on technology day to day, how can we make technology upgrades fit in our budgets? Let’s break down the “do’s and don’ts” and get to the real costs.
The do’s
Sometimes technology upgrades are needed. When your device is too old to support new updates, some of which may be important for security, that is a sign it is time to recycle your device. In other cases, newer technology could have a significant impact to speed or productivity which can lead to money saving in other areas. For either of these reasons, comparison shopping can help make it more affordable. Many technology websites even have comparison tools built right in, it can help you select the features that will be needed or compare brands.

It can also be helpful when purchasing technology to compare price to how often you use the device. Spending more on a device that is being used multiple hours throughout the day, like a phone, versus technology not being used as often, like a digital camera, can make sense in certain situations. The same can be true when comparing price with the excepted life of the piece or technology. In those cases it may be better to spend less money if it is not expected to last as long.
The don’ts
There are some not so financial savvy reasons to buy new technology or ways that can make it more expensive. “FOMO” or the “fear of missing out” is not the best reason to get new gear, especially if it means using buy now, pay later purchasing plans. Even if you have a solid reason to upgrade it can be tempting to get a “best” or “newest” technology with all the fancy features. Evaluate your needs; you may be able to pay less for features that will work for your needs instead of having them all.

It is also a good idea to reflect back on how you paid for your current devices. Did you use financing programs or a credit card? Have they been paid in full? If those items have not been paid in full before you purchase your next device, that can contribute to a continued cycle of debt. There is nothing wrong with buying new technology for whatever reason, but it is always best to save for larger purchases and pay in full when you can.
Sources:
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-the-upgrade-cycle-will-never-end/
https://headstuff.org/topical/science/technology-science/10-reasons-to-upgrade-your-tech-this-year/
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