Your device is two or more years old and the itch to upgrade has set in. Should you upgrade? Let’s review a checklist to help save you money and disappointment.
The upgrade itch is one that’s hard to fight even when you are being served well by your current gear and may not even have enough cash to comfortably stretch for your new gear. Marketing is very strong and with the recent advent of smartphones and how quickly they advanced leaving older models feel sluggish and missing ‘key features’. So how can you properly assess if you need that new gadget or if it will barely impact your life?
Know your needs
I have been there, reading about some new fancy cell phone, computer part or accessory thinking “wow these features mean it will be awesome and make life so much easier”. Then having purchased it I find myself barely using it or not in the ways that I had imagined in my head. It’s ok, we all have been there and the marketers are really to blame. They are just too good at their jobs, because that reaction is exactly what they are paid to get us to do. Buy new stuff based on this wow factor.
So how does one avoid this? Know your needs and take an objective look at just how often that new feature would be used. I am most guilty in this regards with computer parts but this applies to anything. You need to review your current device and see how well it’s performing for you. If you use it without any major issues and it’s generally problem free you want to stop immediately and question everything a lot more, that’s a big red flag that you probably don’t need the upgrade.
What about the new features? Well most of the time they are just gimmicks to give the new model a few new tricks to make the old one look out dated. Let’s look at an example. I have an iPhone 5S, this does not include the ability for NFC and Apple Pay, but boy does that sound cool. No need to carry cash or a credit card?! That would be awesome!
However, in my area that is more rural I can’t recall any shops that actually support Apple Pay. And then there is the possibility that because it’s a new tech that the kiosk may still not even work properly. So guess what? I or anyone else in my area would still need to carry a credit card or cash to ensure they could pay. Upgrading for that would be foolish at this point until the technology improves. I don’t have the funds to help push that cause further and so it’s best that I wouldn’t upgrade my phone for that feature alone. So this neat feature is not a reason for me to upgrade or consider it.
But what about device specific features that don’t hinge on an infrastructure? Again you will want to see if working with what you have is really that bad. Does your laptop or PC really get bogged down when you use it? Assess what you use it for and see if it’s worth the upgrade. If you only browse the web and buy things online, chances are you don’t need to upgrade unless you are running Windows XP or Vista.
The other cases are where you find yourself doing enough work on your computer that it can’t actually keep up. Use task manager to monitor your computers resources to decide if it’s mostly under load all the time and if so, then consider the upgrade. Even so, only do it if you really need to. If you find your PC is bogged down because you wanted to try out something new and aren’t sure if it’s fun or not then upgrading may leave you with more than what you need if you later change your mind.
This leads to my next point. If you are unsure of if you would really benefit from an upgrade find a way to try it out.
Test it in person
If you really want to know if an upgrade is worth it, the best thing to do is to try it out and the longer the better. If you have a friend who has a device ask them if you can try it to see if it’s what you really want. With devices becoming very personal they may not let you try it for long or let you borrow it but any exposure can help curb the upgrade itch or cement it so you know it’s what you need. If you have a really good friend they may even create a user account for you to test their device as a user or even let you install some software/games to see how well it runs on their device compared to yours.
If you can’t find a friend who has what you need see if you can find the product in store that is available to demo. If not the particular product, try to find something with similar specifications to get a feel for how it will work. Unfortunately it will really limit they types of tests you can do on it but for a general sense of it’s speed and capabilities it should do just fine.
Finally you want to assess it’s value. Both in how much it will impact your life and how much it will cost to obtain it. If something will have a true meaningful change that will help provide value worth the cost then it isn’t an issue to upgrade.
We all work for a living and their is a wage associated with each hour we put in. The final thing you want to do is assess how much value the new device provides and if it’s worth the number of hours it would take to earn enough to purchase it.
Sure a 4K TV is nice, but if you have a solid reliable newer 1080p(or 720p) TV then odds are you won’t gain much value at all from upgrading especially with the slim amount of content available for it. So would working for weeks to afford it really be worth it? TV’s don’t have very good resale so you will take a huge loss from your first purchase as well and not get much to help defer the new purchase. This should be a case where you avoid the upgrade, unless your old TV dies and the extra price for 4K is trivial to something that meets all your current needs.
Lastly you will want to sit it out a bit. Chances are you may find your new device on sale sparking the thought of upgrade. It will be on sale again, so wait it out. Answer these questions slowly over the course of a week or better yet a month to see if it still will be as life changing as you currently think. Waiting is the best way to defeat the fear of missing out and to control the urge to buy now. So wait it out a bit, and if you still have the need watch the sales and I bet you will find it at a discount sooner than you think. (Trust me, I watch sales to look for patterns of when things do get discounted).
Wrapping it up
So, if you get the upgrade itch, you want to:
- Get to know your needs
- Test the product or similar item
- Assess the value it provides for what it will cost you
- Wait it out and slowly review these items to ensure you do not impulse buy
As long as you slow down and review each of these items you should find yourself making smarter upgrade decisions saving you money and disappointment. One of the keys is being that you slow down and answer all of these questions honestly.
I hope this article helps you save some hard earned money and properly assess when you need to upgrade. If you think this would help someone be sure to share it!