Breaking the stigma of affordable technology

Though no longer the case for many things these days, when it comes to the price of something, we seem to be stuck on the idea that bigger is better—especially when it comes to technology. Even though it’s been phased out in many other areas, we just can’t seem to get away from the notion that if we pay more for our TVs, computers and smart watches, they’re going to be higher in quality. There are even scientific studies that have shown we think this way, sometimes even when the product is actually inferior. And while it could be argued that it’s an interesting piece of information about the way our brains work, it’s definitely time we did ourselves a favor and let this behavior fall by the wayside.

Generic brands vs. brand names

We’re all familiar with the concept of store brands. Nearly everything from bubble bath to mayonnaise has a generic counterpart. And basically all you have to do to see if the product is right for you is to compare the ingredients. But despite how easy this makes things when we’re buying drugstore items, there’s a good chance this is one of the reasons why we’re more wary when it comes to technology. As nice as it would be, these things don’t come with anything equivalent to an ingredient list (unless you want to count the schematic, which … good luck to you). But this doesn’t mean we’re totally helpless. We live in an age where we have the ability to answer any (realistic) question a person can ask almost instantly, provided the connection is good. So take a second and look it up. Things like product information, reviews and comparative pricing are all invaluable searches a consumer should take advantage of. You might find an inexpensive brand you’ve never heard of was started by people who left a well-known company, or that an item costing half the price of another actually performs twice as well. You’d be amazed how often these situations arise, and you’d never know unless you check.

Don’t break the bank

Of course, it’s not always demand for a name that keeps certain brands pricier than others. Success for a company does enable greater funding for research and development. But this still doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to get something that works great. Aside from a familiar logo, another thing that keeps people shelling out higher and higher sums of money for electronics is the fact that they feel they need to have the latest and greatest of everything. Yet this is just another example of why it’s so important to do your research. Take the latest innovations in televisions, for example. Sure, the advancements made in resolution are pretty amazing, but television, movies and games are still working on catching up with the last upgrade. This means you would be spending a hefty chunk of change on features that you couldn’t enjoy until a few years from now. Especially when you consider the whole planned obsolescence deal, you might want to consider buying an older model for a fraction of the price. This way, you can still have that comfortable brand you trust (and, in this case, the exact same picture) while still being able to afford those student loan payments.

So the bottom line is that it’s important to be an informed consumer. Even if you’re in a hurry, taking five minutes to do a quick search will probably turn up plenty of helpful information. And, seeing as the most expensive option is very rarely the best option, you’ll always be happy that you did!