These days, it makes sense for your kids to have access to some sort of electronic device, whether it’s a phone for staying in touch, or a tablet or laptop for school lessons and homework. But buying all these devices can be expensive, especially if you have more than one child, and in today’s economic climate, getting locked into credit agreements and loans is a real worry.
But there are some other options to explore …
If you know it’s inevitable, plan!
As with anything money-related, you need to plan ahead. Marc Joubert, a registered financial planner says: “Saving a little every month can help enormously when trying to purchase larger items, like electronics. Start saving today, even if it is a small amount monthly.”
This may seem like a longer-term approach, but it is the ideal one as looking ahead can save you a lot of money and stress.
Need it now? Rent it – to own it
If you’re a parent needing a tablet or laptop sooner rather than later, rent-to-own might be a better option.
Rent-to-own is a rental agreement, so you are not “locked in”, rather you have the flexibility to cancel at any time. Rob Katzen, CEO of the Teljoy Group and RTO specialist, outlines other benefits of the RTO model: “Delivery and installation are included in the monthly rental as well as a comprehensive maintenance programme and risk cover, and perhaps most importantly, a single monthly fee that does not automatically increase with interest rates.” If you’re in the market for new digital devices now, RTO would be the way to go.
Pre-owned and still in the box
If a scuff or scratch isn’t an issue, the classifieds/second-hand pages are a treasure trove to look through when looking for devices for your children. You can log onto multiple sites, or page through the personal advert section in the local newspaper and find a large selection of devices and tech. These items will be a fraction of the cost of a new one, and if you have cash in hand you can often negotiate a lower asking price.
So you can ideally bide your time and save, go for the rental option with the aim of eventually owning, or just use some set-aside cash and go pre-owned. All of these avoid the black hole of debt, and will put smiles on some young faces.
this article was first published in All4Women on 5 April 2016