Needs vs Wants

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The rupee is crashing, inflation is rising higher than it has ever before, and a nationwide food crisis is around the corner. Now might not be the best time to upgrade your tech.

Then again, now might be the best time. The cost of tech has doubled pretty much marketwide and chances are, things are going to become scarcer and even more expensive in the weeks and months to come. It might just be better to upgrade now than wait and see your money shrink and see prices climb even higher with inflation.

 But upgrading tech is never easy, and even before this economic and political crisis, Sri Lankans have had to learn how to manage their purchases to get the best value for money. This need is greater now than ever before because every rupee counts.

 To master this skill, it’s important to obtain the power to identify needs against your wants. It may just be the most crucial skill you would have to exercise to navigate the economic hardships to come.

 When it comes to tech, identifying needs and wants and navigating through the various specifications can be extra difficult, especially with tech manufacturers continuing to make things difficult with complicated standards and specifications and marketing smoke and mirrors. But that doesn’t make it impossible.

 Here are some basic guidelines you can follow in order to navigate your needs and wants while finding the best tech for your requirements. It will take some additional research from your end since each person’s use case is unique, but this is a great place to get started.

 New vs pre-loved

 With cheaper deals, it can be tempting to go for an older piece of tech that has already been used. Someone might want to sell out their used stuff when upgrading just as you do. While going for pre-loved items can get you some great bargains, exercise caution with a few things in mind.

 If you’re buying used, you’re probably not going to get any warranty for your purchase, meaning you have to be extra careful your purchase isn’t defective or damaged. Buying online and having it delivered to you probably isn’t a risk you can afford to take.

 Also, while users can get you a better bargain, not every used purchase is a good idea. For example, a used monitor might be a viable option, but getting a used computer might not. Be wise in making your judgement. 

When buying new, you’ll have to deal with the heftier price tag. You might want to skimp out and buy from a cheaper or lesser-known brand. If you’re buying new, you might as well get something reliable so better stick to known brands that have great after-sales support. 

Overspecced? 

When making a purchase, you might be tempted to get the shiniest, most marketed products on the shelves. The temptation is real, I know.

But some options that may be in the market can be overkill, and although you do get an edge in performance, it’s limited and not worth the money you’re going to shell out for it. 

Things like DDR 5 RAM or PCIe 5 are a new generation of tech that is going to change the game in the market today. The same goes for some motherboards that are highly sought after in the market today. But it’s terribly overpriced and scarce. Even if you source them, DDR 4 is just more stable, and finding drivers won’t be as difficult. Better going for what’s more prevalent in the market today than going for the ‘cutting edge’ stuff, since it’ll take a while for developers to optimise hardware and software to support them.

Do you really need that? 

It’s really easy to fall for the dazzling lights of RGB, or the spanking new bleeding edge processors, or that liquid cooling system, but before you decide to buy in, think hard and question if you need it?

Needs and wants are tough to judge sometimes, and rightfully so. You want your purchase to have the best performance to help you make the most of your purchase for longer. But think of the finer details as well. How big of a performance difference does that processor make? Do you have a special reason to purchase that brand new flagship smartphone besides how cool it is? Do you really need 4K gaming capability when you only have a 1080p or 1440p TV or monitor? 

Think hard. And exercise wisdom in your purchases. Although this rough period will be one of the toughest we will face, this too shall pass, and we will have a better tomorrow. Invest in that before your tech, and use your tech to bring that tomorrow a little faster today.

By Shanuka Kadupitiyage