Apple made a big splash this month when it announced a bunch of shiny new upgrades to its product line, including an improved Macbook Pro and an entirely redesigned version of its iOS 7 operating system for the iPhone and iPad. It seems like every day there’s some new must-have piece of technology coming to market that we can’t live without. And while I love my iPad and my super fast laptop, I find that trying to keep up with the latest upgrades isn’t just tiring, it’s also super expensive. If you’re tired of paying big bucks for upgrades, follow these six steps to help tame your gadget-related spending:
1. Do you really need it
Some upgrades will make your life easier, and others could just drain your savings. Ask yourself whether or not you really need that new shiny new smartphone/tablet/laptop, or if you can make do with your old one until it actually stops working.
2. Don’t buy into hype
Don’t get lured into buying an expensive brand just because everyone else has it. Do your research, and find out if there might be something cheaper that meets your needs.
3. Expensive doesn’t mean better quality
Save money by buying generic cables and chargers. Why pay $40 for a brand name cord when you can find something that works just as well for under $20?
4. Get money from your employer
A lot of companies want their staff to be wired up at home, and some organizations may even give you free money to buy a computer. Check to see if this is part of your benefits plan.
5. Sell or trade in your old one
Instead of letting your old laptop gather dust in a corner, try selling it first. Lifehacker has this great guide to selling old technology online. You could also trade in your old computers and gadgets, which is a great way to bring the cost of your new gadget down.
6. Get it free
There are plenty of sites offering freeware, that is, software that is 100 percent free for use by anyone who downloads it. Before you pay for a specific program or app, see if you can find it for free first.
Money expert Caroline Cakebread has been writing for Chatelaine.com since 2006. She is a recovering academic and the mother of two small kids. She lives in Toronto where she writes and reads about all things financial. Follow Caroline at Twitter.com/ccakebread.