Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Economics of New Tech

My cell phone is dying.  Well, it might not be dying, but it is having a whole lot of trouble keeping up with the demands of being a smartphone these days.  To be fair, it is a few years old and the apps I want to use are designed for something with a little more oomph.  Add to that that the last major iOS "upgrade" on my iPod touch slowed its functionality to a crawl, and I am really wanting a new internet/game/various app device that  doesn't make me wait 2 minutes to open up a browser.  I'm thinking of getting the Galaxy SII X.  Yes I know the SIII is out, but some of its features seem a little over the top for my needs and I'm not a "need the latest device because it is the latest device" kinda girl.  So the SII X is good enough for me.

But here is my problem.  I am currently on a prepaid plan and pay 20$ a month, and I barely use the services that I am paying for with that.  In order to upgrade my phone, I have two options.  I can buy the phone outright  (about 600$ worth)  OR I can get a "free phone" on a 3 yr 50$ a month contract.  hmmmm... lets do that math shall we?

600$ for a new phone, no fees or contracts.

30$ a month MORE than I pay now for services I don't need for the next 3 years.

30$ x 36 months = 1080$

Yup  my "free" phone would cost me over 1000$ by the time I was done my contract.  Never mind the fees that would come up if I wanted to cancel or upgrade before then....  Yeah, I know I could always buy out the phone for the 600$, but I still will have been paying that extra 30$ a month that won't be counted towards the cost of the phone because it is actually for the "services" that I wouldn't use. So I may as well just pay the lump sum up front.

However, 600$ is still a big chunk of cash, and we have had lots of big expenses lately.  I think I will have to wait until Christmas to be able to justify this.  Or my next Birthday.  Or both.  I may have to combine both.

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