Technology has come a long way in recent years, making our lives easier and expanding our horizons. Nevertheless, equipment manufacturers aggressively promote their latest item. The latest item isn’t always the product you really need, however and rash purchases can result in you paying for features that you just don’t need. Below are some steps to help distinguish between what you want and what you need. By following this advice, you can get the biggest bang for your buck and realize the true potential of technology products in your life.
List Necessary Features
Your first step should be to create an inventory of all of the tasks that you perform in a week. For example, you might write: catch up with friends, balance my personal accounts, keep track of bills, read news, send work emails, among others. Much as a shopping list helps us to think of the long term, this list ensures that buying decisions reflect actual needs. You should then decide how much you are prepared to spend on a new piece of technology. This should not simply be the retail price of the latest gadget. Rather, it should be an amount which you can reasonably justify. Now calculate 70% – this will be your hardware budget.
Select Your Product
Armed with this list and budget you are ready to begin browsing items. You can critically assess the products in the market against the needs that you have in your task inventory. Do not be tempted to overspend just in order to get the latest model – the goal here is utility, not street-cred. Perhaps you settle on a small laptop rather than a tablet; it might even be a second hand item. Your final choice of hardware should satisfy the needs listed in your task inventory and no more.
Stretch Your Budget
The next step is truly satisfying. Go back to the original task inventory. You still have 30% left over! This is your ‘software and other’ budget which you can use this segment of your budget to purchase additional items that can help complete those tasks on your task inventory. Suppose you spend a lot of time each week sending emails. You might then consider purchasing email templates. Perhaps you wish to cut down typing time or maybe you want to spend less time logging onto various online accounts. Software exists which can help you to achieve both of these aims. By assigning your budget according to task rather than taste you will find that you maximize your overall technology budget and derive the greatest possible benefit from every dollar spent.
Improve your Life
The purpose of any technology product should be to increase productivity – any given task can be completed more quickly through the application of appropriate technology. By following the steps given above you can avoid the allure of the new product with glitzy features and pay for only those features that you will actually use. You will find that you get greater benefit from your technology devices and save money in the process.
Do you have any tips for making wise technology purchases? Share them, please!