How to Avoid Overspending When Buying New Gadgets
Generally speaking, electronic gadgets have become more affordable for the average consumer in the past five years. Still, many consumers end up overpaying for everyday electronic gadgets. The issue is partially fueled by marketing messages that have been personalized to directly appeal to the consumer. Electronics manufacturers are also highly adept at using social networks to create trends that drive consumer behavior.
Another reason many consumers overspend on electronic gadgets is that they simply do not know how to choose the right product. Not everyone is, understandably, tech oriented. It can sometimes be very difficult to understand the specifications listed for various gadgets in order to make a sound purchase. Also, many consumers are still unaware that there are budget versions of certain gadgets that offer similar functionality and performance as big-name brands.
Here are several quick tips for avoiding overspending when buying a new gadget:
Do Not Sort Products by Brand Name
It’s normal to immediately search for the gadget needed by famous brand names. If looking for a new music player, people will quickly look for Apple iPod and related products. Some famous brands do carry truly unique products worth buying. But this is not always the case. You don’t have to buy an iPod if you don’t want to. There are plenty of other alternatives, some in the low-cost range, to choose from. Therefore, do not limit your options by looking only for well-known brand names.
Understand Recommended Specs
Knowing what specs you need for the gadget you want can help you avoid overpaying for a product, and also end up with the right product. Say, you want to buy a laptop. You can buy an expensive laptop that is trending on Amazon, or you can spend some time researching laptop specs. Once you understand the technical terms, you will be a better position to make a sound purchasing decision. You can purchase the laptop that best suits your needs, requirements and ultimately the budget as well. It’s not hard to learn what gadget specs mean. There are countless articles, tutorials and blog posts online that break down technical terms for regular consumers.
One of the simplest rules of purchasing a product when there are many choices available is to compare prices between the items. Thanks to the internet, this process has become even simpler. Yet, not many people do this. Consumers compare prices only within a certain site. For example, if you are looking for DSLR cameras on Amazon, you will only compare prices only among the products Amazon automatically suggests. This is important. But it’s even more important to compare prices among different shopping websites. There could be a deal out there you are missing on.
Research Budget Alternatives
Many consumers are still unaware that there are budget alternatives to many of the branded consumer electronics available today. Even some brands offer budget options to cash-strapped consumers. There’s a misconception that budget products naturally translate to low-quality products. This is a misleading comparison. The price on modern consumer electronics is not a reflection of quality. Manufacturers take many things into account when setting the price for gadgets, including brand, model, size, and rarity. Quality is not strongly correlated with retail price. So, just because something is cheap, that doesn’t mean the product is actually bad. In most cases, the brand name can add extra cost to a price.
Consumers can easily look up budget alternatives to gadgets with a simple Google search. There are entire sites dedicated to listing and reviewing budget products. It’s highly recommended to browse through these sites when shopping on a budget.
Before making the final purchasing decision, savvy consumers must read reviews for gadgets, both professional and customer. Professional reviews are excellent for understanding a gadget inside out before purchasing. Many professional reviewers also take time to test marketing claims. Regular consumer reviews are useful for learning about additional aspects such as the manufacturer’s customer service. Detailed reviews list pros and cons, which will be helpful when deciding whether the product actually offers good value for money. Reviews are also great for learning about whether the product actually works as the marketing messages claim.
Read Gadget Listicle Roundups
For quick browsing of good products, it’s recommended to go through online lists where the best or top number of products is listed. If you are looking for a drone, lets’ consider, you can search online for lists of good drones within a specified price range. If you are not sure where to begin your search, roundups or listicles are a good place to start. Such content do not take long to read, and will give you a good idea of all the items and features available for what you need. Consumers can better educate themselves so they know how to choose a product that offers best value for the money.
Ask Friends for Recommendations
It’s always wise to ask friends about how much they paid for similar gadgets. It’s possible that a friend overpaid as well, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Better yet, you can get more input by asking on relevant forums. Other consumers and maybe even experts will be able to provide you with a desirable cost estimate for the features you need in any gadget. This is a good safeguard against overspending or ending up with a bad product.
Don’t Fall for Marketing Gimmicks
When buying any electronic gadget, do be very cautious regarding all sorts of marketing claims the sellers make. As mentioned above, read professional reviews to find out if these various claims have any merit. Sometimes sellers charge hundreds of dollars more for small gadget gimmicks. It’s very easy to fall for these. Therefore, as recommended, read reviews, do research, ask around and educate yourself to not be misled.
Learn to spend your money smartly when buying electronic gadgets. Understand that price does not always indicate the overall quality of the product. Do your research and look for budget alternatives when you are being a frugal shopper.
About the Author
Eduardo Bridges is a small business owner with a software engineering background. He conducts research on consumer buying habits and regularly writes about buying budget electronic gadgets.