When smartphones, computers, e-book readers, cameras, game consoles and other electronics and related accessories inevitably break down, many consumers purchase new ones because they believe that replacements are easier and cheaper than repairs. It’s not surprising that people have this belief. Low-cost brand and off-brand disposable products regularly flood the market and make buying a popular trend even though many of these products are made with poor quality materials. Additionally, some companies use marketing strategies to convince shoppers that repairs cost more than replacements to push them to buy new products more often.
Of course, sometimes the repair bill can cost more than the replacement: The type, model and age of a product, outdated software and feature upgradability influence the repair bill. That said, consumers benefit the most money-wise when they attempt repairs first in the majority of situations. Consider these five financial benefits:
Cheaper Upfront Bill
Inflation, brand, demand, popularity and a wide range of other factors lead companies to add hefty price tags to most new release consumer electronics. Yet a lot of these electronics actually contain inexpensive parts that are easy to order and replace. In many cases, you can repair your electronics for a fraction of the price that you would pay for an entirely new item. For example, smartphone owners can find screen repair kits that cost less than even hiring someone else to perform the repairs. If you do eventually need professional help, you can also usually find a repair person who’s affordable. Exceptions do again exist: Cheap audio headsets purchased at a dollar or similar store, for example, typically cost more to fix than replace.
Time for Saving
By repairing older electronics, you do more than save money on the upfront bill. When many people buy a new product, they spend a lot of time searching for a replacement. Some consumers spend hours or days comparing product features, reviews and prices in stores and online and trying to find the best deals. They also lose a lot time after the purchase learning how to use the new product. Whether you perform the repair work yourself or hire a professional, repairs waste less time. You can then use the extra time to focus on money acquisition tasks like work and side hobbies or searching for coupons and refunds on products that you actually need to replace or purchased recently.
Costly Loss Prevention
Some people don’t waste time researching replacement products. They rush to make a purchase without doing any research and learn afterward that a newer model or brand isn’t as great as their old item. Far too often, they believe that they just need to get used to something new and try to tough it out. After a while, they realize it’s not going to work out, but the return period has passed. They’re then stuck wasting time and money performing the research they should have done from the start and buying a product that matches their needs and preferences. When you repair existing electronics, you save any money you might have lost by rushing to purchase.
Moneymaking Resale Opportunities
No matter what you might have heard, older electronics that still work aren’t worthless. You can make money off of your repaired tech when you’re ready to eventually buy something new. You simply need to find the right buyer. For example, you might find through yard sale, trade or bartering groups on social media or classified ads and dedicated electronic sales websites someone who agrees to your asking price because they can’t afford to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for new equipment. Plenty of repair shop owners buy old electronics for parts or to resell. Manufacturers, recyclers and retailers also often offer buyback cash or discounts toward new products.
Valuable Collectible Investment
Lastly, some electronics repaired with original parts and later replaced can make you money if you store them somewhere safe. Vintage personal computers and game consoles, for example, are highly collectible. In 2015, a woman gave away a vintage Apple I computer that she didn’t realize was worth several hundred thousand dollars. If a collectible computer still works, it’s worth top dollar. The value of these items depends on a variety of factors, including the condition of the item, number of units originally sold, number of working units still available for resale, the equipment’s position in the original production line and buying trends when you’re ready to sell.
As you can see, you typically risk losing far more money than you gain when you buy new electronics instead of repairing old ones. If you must buy a replacement, consider buying a gently-used product first that offers an included or low-cost warranty. That way, you have time to save money for those high-cost new product purchases that you want or need to make down the line.