Budgeting Your Electronic Gadgets Billings: Part II

What Influences Your Purchase

In my previous article, “Budgeting Your Electronic Gadgets Billings“, 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 on many different topics, it seems like the cost of having electronic gadgets is a paramount concern to readers.

When I go on the internet to look for similar answers from other sources, I find very little info. At the most, I see ads trying to influence the reader into buying more stuff. Or more 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. And I am now writing this blog on my iPad because it is much easier and faster to write with compared to doing the same thing with my laptop.

I get tons of emails about potential political apocalyptic events. I am constantly badgered into buying the next great website performance enhancing product. And every response from me generates a whole new list of online purveyors.

I have no intention of escaping from the outside world of information while I try living a rural life. If economic Armageddon is on the horizon, I will want to know about it. If the latest electronic gadget appears useful, and I think I will need that product, I want to at least have more input.

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. Luxury vehicles or fancy clothes added to the mix.

What I am getting at is this question 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 try to keep pace with your associates or friends and family members?

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 cost me $6,000. I didn’t want to wait in line for early access, so I obtained it 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, flip phones, and Blueberry devices.

When Steve Jobs came along and influenced Apple to introduce the first smart phone, I eventually caught the bug. I was instantly amazed by the fact the display and usable features resembled the ones on my computer. I wanted the iPhone in particular because it was the best choice at the time. Competitors were having all sorts of problems with programming and battery fires.

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 similar or better.

Do you have a better computer than your sister, brother, or 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 card and swing for a 70″ Liquid Crystal fantastic 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 and opt for more bells and whistles when “D-day” comes. You have the best intentions, but fancy marketing and up-sells are taking you in a different direction. 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, it could be a mistake. The internal memory capacity is a huge factor in the pricing of mobile phones. So far, I have used up 46 gigabytes with my iPhone with multiple apps, photos, videos, notes, and internal programming. But with 128 gigabytes  of capacity, it is way more 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. But I could have taken steps to avoid maxing out my storage capacity. I would just download the older information to my laptop or backup flash drive. This lower-capacity phone would have saved me about $400 over the cost of my 128 gigabyte unit.

Since then, I have deleted large amounts of those images and still am using way more memory than what I expected. In comparison, my iPad mini only has a 32 gigabyte capacity of internal data storage. With constant use, I still have 16 gigabytes left. It is not used for videos or camera shots, so the lower capacity works out OK!

Finding Phones And What They Cost

I went online to see what current pricing on 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 high-definition photos and videos. The reviews were horrible. Dented or scratched faces, bad batteries, error messages, and failure- to-keep-working issues were prevalent.

I also saw a Nokia Android 64 gigabyte cellphone for $349 and a Samsung Galaxy 128 gigabyte unit for $884. Both offerings are new and have 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 typically linked immediately to their service program. Your signal service providers also link you with their programs as well as the those of the manufacturer’s.

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 Phone 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 connector 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. But I was close to abandoning the brand a few years ago.

When I had an iPhone 5, it was very problematic. I took it into either a Sprint repair facility or an Apple Store retail outlet many times to have issues dealt with. This meant waiting up to an hour or more to get your name called for service. It gets 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.

I can get a new Xr 64 gigabyte iPhone 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. 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.

As for my iPhone companion, I started out with an LG Tablet for my mobile computer platform because it was offered as a free gift from Sprint. I liked the functionality and it’s capacity to make phone calls with a special add-on program. But, without notice, Sprint linked the unit to their phone service. They began charging me for data usage even though I used it via 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. They took it back and I ended their (long term) service.

Learning from previous mistakes, 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 this 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 very well, I might add.

As I stated in another article, the iPad is my go to blog post writing piece of equipment. I could have done the same thing with my LG Tablet. Even 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.

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 gigabyte 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. An attached heavy-duty belt clip with claws keeps a thief from stealing it off of your person. Simply put, I hate scratches, nicks, and dents on my electronic gadgets.

If you go through your cell phone signal provider, I would advise you to get a full protection insurance plan and stick with it. My Verizon plan provides several options:

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

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.

Yes, good mobile phones are expensive. But with all the things you can do, 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?

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.

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