BUDGETING YOUR ELECTRONIC GADGETS BILLINGS: PART II

What Influences Your Purchase

In my previous article, “Budgeting Your Electronic Gadgets Billing Should: Part I“, I basically talked about the cost of dealing with the utility providers. It has been my most popular blog for some reason. Even though I write about many different topics, it seems like the cost of having electronic gadgets and the systems that make them work is of paramount concern for most readers.

When I go on the internet to look for similar input from other sources, I find very little info. At the least, I see ads trying to influence the reader into buying more stuff or services.

What is it that you want? I would like everyone who comments to tell me what their particular issues are or what they are looking for in a particular product. If my readers just tell me it is a fantastic blog or simply that I am providing hard to find knowledge about something, I can’t expand on helping with what ails them.

Are you an impulse buyer? Do you look for the cheapest product or service without regards to quality or functionality? Why is there so little information on this subject.

The Yuppie Millennials Complex

Even though I (we) live in the country now, the city slicker influence still pervades our lives in many areas. We are constantly on the internet or watching satellite TV. We turn our lights on and off with Alexa and wireless switching devices. As far as this particular blog is concerned, I am now writing it on my iPad because it is much easier and faster to create dialogue with compared to the laborious task of tapping the keys on my laptop.

Because of my internet exploits, I get tons of annoying emails about potential political apocalyptic events. The marketing junkies constantly badger me into buying the next great website performance enhancing product. Every response I give in return generates a whole new list of online purveyors and the beat goes on. I just can’t seem to push the ‘Report Spam’ button fast enough.

In spite of those complaints, I have no intention of escaping from the outside world of information while I try living a peaceful retired life. If economic Armageddon is on the horizon, I will want to keep up with the latest data on the subject. If the newest tablet style device has more bells and whistles than what I have now, then I want to research that device online and see if it is a better fit.

I am a baby boomer born a year after World War II ended. From as early as I can remember, I have always wanted the latest yuppie gadgets. If it wasn’t a sports car, it was SCUBA diving gear or a Hobie Cat sailing rig. When Citizen Band radios were hot, I had to have the best one.

What I am getting at is that there are questions I want to ask. What are you? Are you a baby boomer, a yuppie at heart, or one of the newly minted and so-called “Millennials”? Do you think for yourself or do you follow the crowd. Do you own what you really want, or are you more interested in keeping up with your associates, friends, or family members and getting what they have instead?

How Do You Decide On What Gadgets To Buy?

I originally embraced the upcoming cell phone technology when it was first just a concept. My first vehicle-mounted cell phone ‘system’ cost me $6,000. Since I didn’t want to wait in line for early access to the brand new technology of mobile communication, I obtained the cumbersome vehicle mounted product 3 months before the inaugural service was initiated in Los Angeles back in the 70’s. Since then it evolved into heavy hand-held units, faulty flip phones, and Blueberry devices.

When Steve Jobs came along and spearheaded the first Apple smart phone, I eventually caught the bug and was instantly amazed by the display and usable features that resembled the onscreen performance of my laptop computer. I liked the iPhone in particular over copycat brands because it was the best choice at the time. The problem with competitors at the time was that their devices were having all sorts of problems with programming and destructive fires inside the battery compartment of said units.

As far as computers were concerned, I found myself competing with my wife’s parents or our son, Eric. If they had a certain type of computer, I had to have a better one. If Eric had a certain model of iPhone, I at least wanted one that was similar or better.

As for your situation, I wonder if you have similar issues. Do you have a better computer than your sister, brother, son or daughter? Is your smart phone competitive with your associates at work? Does it really matter?

If your laptop or PC does all you want it to, are you happy with it or do you want more? Does the latest Black Friday event at Wal Mart cause you to pull out your credit card and swing for a fantastic 70″ Liquid Crystal TV? If so, you are hooked.

Forget about budgeting if you only “dream” about cutting costs and saving money. I find my research shows that most people go beyond their original budget planning options and opt for more glitter when “D-day” arrives. You have the best intentions for keeping expenditures in line with your budget, but fancy marketing techniques and clever up-sells are often taking you in a different direction than the one you had originally planned to go on. Not good!

Smart Phones

I think a large number of people buy smart phones based on price. Since cheaper phones lack the sophisticated features of the higher end units, that choice could be a big mistake. The internal memory capacity is a huge factor in the pricing of mobile phones. So far, I have used up 46 gigabytes on my iPhone with multiple apps, photos, videos, notes, and internal programming. But with 128 gigabytes of capacity, it has way more data storage than I ever expect to use.

If I had to do it all over again, I probably would have  opted for a 64 gigabyte unit. With my former job, it was necessary to take a large number of job-site photos and document scans. I was afraid of eating up a lot of memory doing that. But I could have taken steps to avoid maxing out my storage capacity. That meant taking the time to simply download the older information to my laptop or backup flash drive. The lower-capacity phone would have saved me about $400 over the cost of my $800 128 gigabyte unit.

Since then, I have deleted large amounts of images and data storage robbing info, but I am still using way more memory than what I expected. In comparison, my iPad mini only has 32 gigabytes of capacity in its internal data storage bank. With constant use, I still have 16 gigabytes left. It is not used for videos or camera shots, and I download manuscript material onto my laptop on a regular basis, so the lower capacity works out OK for me!

Finding Phones And What They Cost

I went online to see what current pricing on used smart phones was like. On Amazon, I saw a refurbished iPhone 6 for $138. It had 16 gigabytes of storage. That is peanuts in this day of gigabyte crunching high-definition photos, videos, and gaming products. As for the reviews on the seller’s offerings, they were horrible. Complaints were rampant about dented or scratched faces, bad batteries, constant error messages, and failure-to-keep-working issues on said devices.

I also saw a Nokia Android 64 gigabyte cellphone for $349 and a Samsung Galaxy 128 gigabyte unit for $884. Both items were new and had fairly good reviews. The problem is that if you buy from an independent supplier, you may not get good service. If the unit does cost more when purchased from the manufacturer, you are still linked immediately to their guarantees and ongoing service program. Your network providers also link you with their programs as well as the those of the manufacturer’s product you choose.

If you determine your buying decisions via the reviews that you read, automatically bypass the 5 star ratings. Most of them are fake. Concentrate on the reviews which have issues with the product, even if they are minor.

My Smartphone Experience

One of my earlier cellphones was an Erickson unit which had the standard battery charge connector. For some reason the female part of the connector dislodged inside the phone and could not be repaired. I have disliked that sort of charging interface ever since. The iPhone I have now uses the updated Apple plugin connector. It is way more reliable and can be plugged in both ways.

My iPhone may not have all the features of newer Apple products or other smart phone providers, but it does everything I want it to do. And it has been the most reliable phone I have ever used. If I had to buy another phone, it would probably be another iPhone. With that said, I was close to abandoning the brand a few years ago.

When I had an iPhone 5, it was very problematic. Fortunately, I had an insurance package that covered repairs. Every time it malfunctioned, I took it into either a designated Sprint facility or an Apple Store retail outlet to have the multiplicity of issues dealt with. This meant waiting up to an hour or more to get your name called for service. That got old very fast and the problems were not always solved.

I took one more chance with the iPhone 6 Plus with 128 gigabytes and have had no problems at all. My wife has the same phone, but she has 2 issues: the battery seems to fade early and I have had to do a master reset on her phone several times because it tends to lock up. Otherwise, it has worked as well.

If I want to upgrade, I can get a new 64 gigabyte iPhone 12 for $749 or upgrade to 128 gigabytes for $799. The later price is the same amount that I paid through the Verizon plan for my 6 Plus phone. But I can’t shell out that much cash all at once now.

I would rather add a new phone to my Verizon plan and trade my current one in. That exchange would give me a rebate allowance for my current phone of $200, but I expect that figure to drop the longer I wait. I could sell it independently, but I don’t want a buyer coming back at me complaining about some defect that he or she may have caused themselves.

The Compatibility With Other Devices

A cell phone has become your most viable contact with the outside world. It is an all-in-one mini computer that is easily transportable to any place you go. With Telephone, Camera, Internet Access, Music, Calculator, Flashlight, Online Entertainment, you have it all.

If you choose and pay for a cost-effective and limited-feature phone, don’t get mad at your choice if it lacks functions you really wanted. With online information on the capabilities of each product you are interested in, and viable reviews at hand, you can make an intelligent choice that suits your needs or ultimate desires and budget the cost accordingly.

As for my choice of an iPhone companion, I started out with an LG Tablet for my mobile computer platform because it was offered as a free ‘valued customer’ gift from Sprint. I liked the functionality and it’s capacity to make phone calls with a special add-on program. However, without notice, Sprint linked the unit to their phone service and began charging me for data usage even though I had a separate internet provider system in my home. When they also wanted to turnaround and charge me purchase money for this same unit, I threatened legal action. After hassling with them, an operational manager contacted me and agreed to take it back. Not long after that incident, I cancelled their service. That was unfortunate for them because I had been a reliable customer for quite some time.

Learning from that previous mistake, I bought an iPad Mini at an Apple Store for $350 and made sure it had no links to any cell phone provider. The nice thing about the new choice was that I could sync it with my iPhone. All telephone addresses entered on one device immediately appear on the other one. Other features coordinate just as well. I couldn’t do that with my LG Tablet even though I happened to like it very well, I might add.

As I stated in another article, the iPad is my go to blog post writing piece of equipment, but I could have done the same thing with my LG Tablet. Laptop computers are cumbersome in comparison. I make full use of its capabilities in coordination with my iPhone. I can type 5 times as fast and the spell check and alternate-word suggestion features are my constant allies in the pursuit of professional looking articles for my blogs.

The Bottom Line

If money is tight, get on a payment plan if you have to. Just get the phone you really want. If you take a lot of pictures or videos, 64 gigabytes should be your minimum.

Also, protect your phone with a case. I use an OtterBox Defender unit for both of our phones. You can’t turn your phone in as a trade for a new one if yours is damaged. I have dropped my phone from high points and had no cracked glass or internal malfunctions as a result of those mishaps. An attached heavy-duty belt clip with claws keeps a thief from stealing it off of your person when you are out and about. Simply put, I hate scratches, nicks, and dents on my electronic gadgets, and the protective case helps me achieve that mandate.

If you go through your cell phone signal provider, I would advise you to consider getting a full protection insurance plan. In the past, I have used said protection plans to replace or repair phones many times. Without them would have caused me enormous sums of cash. My Verizon plan provides several options:

  • Protection from theft, loss, damage
  • Rebuild my existing phone for $45
  • Provide a new phone for $145

However, if your phone is no longer being made, than a rebuilt phone is your only option, so place that factor into the equation and make your decision accordingly.

Yes, good mobile phones are expensive. But with all the things you can do with top of the line products, a quality unit is your best choice. If the purchase of a couple of cheap phones causes you grief in the long run, what could you now buy if you had not wasted money and made the right choice in the first place?

ALSO SEE:  Budgeting Your Electronic Gadgets Billings: Part I; Budgeting Your Electronic Gadgets Billings: Part III; Budgeting Your Electronic Gadgets Billings: Part IV

PS: If this article was of benefit to you or you have your own experiences to add, please leave a constructive comment where provided. Thanks.

 

I am requesting that my readers click on the links provided and download a sample read of each book and give a review on Amazon. You will have free access to the first four chapters of each book. My hope is that you will like the story lines enough to obtain either an eBook version or a paperback copy that you can put on your bookshelf as a masterpiece when you are done. FATE STALKS A HERO I: RESURGENCE, FATE STALKS A HERO II:THE FIJI FULCRUM, and THE SAGA OF HERACLES PENOIT. I will be giving excerpts on these works in upcoming blogs to familiarize you the reader with exciting details about the contents of each one. Thank you!

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