From phones to TVs to computers, technology is woven into almost every aspect of modern living. We use it for work; we use it for entertainment; we use it for security.
However, you could be spending a lot more on tech than needed.
Mistake No. 1: Renting Electronics & Equipment
Hopefully everyone is savvy enough to realize that rent-to-own electronics are virtually always a bad deal. In fact, they’re an almost surefire way to end up paying as much as three times whatever you’re buying is worth.
But what about those things you “have” to rent, like your cable or Internet modem? Maybe you don’t realize you don’t have to rent them. You can buy your own.
It’s a secret the cable companies may not want you to know, and you probably don’t know, given that some estimates say more than 90% of customers rent their modems. Comcast would like to keep collecting that $8 a month without you being any the wiser, but you could go buy your own modem for less than $40 and be done with the monthly fees forever.
Mistake No. 2: Buying Services You Don’t Need
Sometimes when we sign up for a cable, Internet or cellphone plan, we simply take what’s offered to us. It’s easier to say “sure” than to consider whether you really need that many movie channels, a sports package and DVR services.
Now is the time to thoroughly examine your monthly bills and see what extra services you pay for but don’t use. For example, your phone plan may come with call waiting, call forwarding and three-way calling. If you never use those, see if there’s a cheaper package available without the added services.
Mistake No. 3: Assuming You’re Stuck With a Particular Provider
This mistake is most common with cellphones. You may think that to get the latest and greatest phone, you need to sign a contract and stick with a particular carrier for two years. In reality, you can buy an unlocked phone and use it on almost any carrier, including low-cost prepaid plans.
Unlocked phones cost more upfront. Because you’re not signing a contract, you’ll have to pay the full retail price. Depending on the phone you want, that could cost a small fortune, but there are also plenty of reasonably priced unlocked phones available.
And remember, even if you pay more for the phone upfront, you’ll save in the long run if you select a low-cost carrier.
Mistake No. 4: Upgrading as Soon as You Can
Speaking of phones, how many of you now have an iPhone 6 or a Samsung Galaxy Note 4?
May I ask why?
If you have lots of money to spend, there may be no reason not to buy the latest and greatest gadgets. On the flip side, if you’re trying to stretch your dollars, there is no reason to buy the latest and greatest gadgets.
Don’t forget that marketers spend a lot of time and money trying to convince you that your TV, computer, phone and whatever else you own is obsolete. They’re in the business of making sales. You should be in the business of protecting your money. Upgrade only when you truly need new technology, and don’t junk perfectly good items simply because something flashier comes along.
Mistake No. 5: Turning up Your Nose at Refurbished Items
When it’s time to upgrade, don’t turn your back on the refurbished rack. Refurbished electronics can be every bit as good as brand-new items. The only difference is they sport a deep discount.
Mistake No. 6: Always Buying the Extended Warranty
Stacy Johnson took a closer look at extended warranties this summer, and you’ll definitely want to read his advice.
The bottom line is that while some items may benefit from a warranty, some times they’re simply a waste of money. It doesn’t matter if it only costs a few bucks; you could be throwing away money if you automatically say yes to every warranty offered, especially if you’re already getting coverage from a manufacturer warranty or from your credit card.
Mistake No. 7: Thinking a Higher Price Means Better Quality
Sometimes we spend our dollars in the wrong place. We may spend an arm and a leg for something pricey when the bargain-basement version does just as good a job.
According to savings site Brad’s Deals, these electronics categories are prime areas where you may be tempted to overspend:
- computers and tablets
Mistake No. 8: Failing to Maximize Your Smartphone
Do you have a smartphone? Then you could probably ditch all sorts of extra expenses and gadgets from your life.
For example, if you have a smartphone, there really may be no reason to pay for these:
- landline service
- long-distance service
- digital camera
Depending on how heavily you use the Internet, you may even be able to use your smartphone as a hot spot in lieu of a separate home connection.
Mistake No. 9: Leaving Everything Plugged in
It might be a pain to unplug your electronics every night, but it could save you hundreds of dollars per year.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, up to 10% of your energy bill could be going to items that are plugged in but turned off or, say, in the case of cellphone chargers, not in use. That’s because cords plugged into an outlet can be pulling power even if the electronic it’s attached to is not on or being used. According to the government, you could be paying $43.46 per year to have a cable box with DVR plugged in 24/7.
The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has a chart of average standby power usage so you can pinpoint what exactly might be the biggest drain in your house.
Mistake No. 10: Buying Without a Discount
Finally, you’re spending way more on tech than you need to if you’re not waiting for sales or using a coupon.
For most of us, many tech items are a luxury, and that means we have the luxury of shopping around for the best deal. Other than impatience, there is little reason to buy an electronics item this instant. Practice delayed gratification and wait to make your next big buy. Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be here shortly, bringing with them deep discounts on lots of tech products.
Technology can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to break your budget. Avoid these 10 mistakes and start saving today.
This post originally appeared on Money Talks News.
More from Money Talks News:
- Smarter Smartphones: How to Get Free Talk, Texts and Data
- Security Expert: Uninstall Your Flashlight App Immediately
- If Your Hotel Tries to Block Your Personal Wi-Fi, Show Them This Article