In this day and age, barely a second thought is given to spending $500+ on a mobile phone. Most of us would baulk at the idea of carrying around $500 cash in our pockets, but when it comes to technological devices we are constantly carrying around the equivalent – an expensive smart phone in our back pocket, a mobile tablet on the bed, a GPS device in the car.
What exactly is the hidden cost of our technology addiction?
- Smart phone plans – The outright cost of a mobile phone is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the overall cost. In recent times, an increasing number of people are turning to phone plans where the outright cost may in fact be $0. The cost of the phone is then added (or factored in) to the monthly payments on what is often a 24 month contract – with the result being you actually pay more for the phone by the time your contract ends.
- Phone insurance – Most plan providers offer pay by the month insurance on phones, however many insurance policies have considerable exclusions and most have a fairly substantial excess. While an insurance policy will give you peace of mind if your phone is damaged, lost or stolen, it is simply another cost to add to the list.
- Laptops – Whether they are for work or leisure, laptops are quickly overtaking desktops as the computer of choice. The price of a laptop varies greatly depending on the brand and various features.
- Mobile tablets – It is becoming increasingly common for people to own a tablet alongside a smart phone and/or laptop – even though there is a considerable overlap in terms of technology. With iPads costing almost as much as a basic laptop in some cases, consideration must be given as to whether or not the device is necessary.
- Vehicle GPS devices – Pulling over and consulting a street directory is simply too much trouble for the modern Australian. GPS devices are commonplace across a wide variety of vehicles, from passenger cars to commercial fleets. At a couple of hundred dollars each, they cost quite a bit more than your average street directory.
- Internet and home phone bundles – On top of paying for data usage and calls on our mobile phones, many of us also have landline and home internet fees. In a lot of cases, providers now combine these fees to give consumers a ‘better deal’. This being said, for unlimited data and calls you can expect to pay upwards of $60 a month.
- Pay TV – With free to air TV often delivering more advertisements than actual programs, a lot of people are turning to providers such as Foxtel. With packages starting from $50 it may sound relatively affordable, but on top of everything else you may begin to notice that the bills are adding up!
So how many of the above can you put a tick next to? If you are struggling to pay the rent, put a deposit on a house or pay your car registration, it may pay to look at what you spend on technology. In many cases, you might be paying for more than you actually need – in fact, you might technically be paying for the same function or service twice.
If you are looking to save, it is always important to separate your needs from you wants – when it comes to technology there’s no exception!