Posted: Contributor | August 11, 2014

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Do You Really Need a New Phone? Here's How 'New Tech Debt' Is Costing You a Fortune

New Cell Phone

When you're trying to get out of debt, you need to find savings wherever you can. Sometimes, this means redefining how you think about what you really "need" in your life. Sure, that new iPhone looks pretty cool, but do you really "need" it right now? Could cutting down on your tech budget be a good way to save money and get out of debt?

How Technology Gets Us Into Debt

Tech companies are great at making their products look cool and affordable. An offer of "$0 for a new phone!" might have you running to the store to sign up, but remember that, as with most offers, these types of offers always come with hidden costs. Cell phone contracts are notorious for costing people a fortune, and worst of all, you could end up locked into a costly deal that you can't get out of for years to come.

Other tech products can be similarly dangerous. Electronics companies make it easy for you to buy their products by allowing you to make payments in installments or even apply for in-house financing offers. These deals might look appealing, but when you're working on getting out of debt, you should always be careful about spending money you don't have.

Financing offers can be particularly dangerous, and could even hurt your credit score if you're not careful. If you sign up for a financing deal, you're essentially opening up a new line of credit, and if you open up too many sources of credit or fail to make your payments on time, you could end up deeper in debt than when you started.

The Advantages of Doing Things the Old-Fashioned Way

While it may sometimes feel like staying on top of the latest technology trends is the only way to get by in our modern society, sometimes it pays to do things the old-fashioned way. Getting a new cell phone or gadget often means that you'll have to learn a new operating system or upgrade other devices and software to make them compatible with your new gadget. Often you can save a lot of time and money by simply sticking with the technology you have and learning to use it really well. And since technology changes so quickly these days, sometimes it can pay to wait until trends come and go so you don't end up spending a fortune on a new product that will become obsolete three months down the road.

Ways to Keep Your Spirits Up While You're on a Tight Budget

Sticking to a tight budget doesn't mean that you have to deprive yourself of all the pleasures life has to offer, however. Most budgeting experts recommend that you set a small portion of your budget aside every month for "fun money." You can use this money for things like going to the movies or going out for a meal. Or, if technology is more your thing, you can use your fun money to invest in a small tech upgrade every month. You could even save it up over several months so you can afford to buy that new gadget you've been eyeing without having to use credit.

With technology moving so fast these days, it's important to keep some perspective on what really matters. Ask yourself if that new gadget will really help you live your life and do your job better, or if you just want it because it's new and exciting. You don't have to live like a dinosaur to avoid "new tech debt;" you simply have to be more aware of what some products really cost and which ones you really need.

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Written by Contributor

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