Are you spending too much on tech? It’s easy to accumulate big monthly bills for phone, television, and internet, or to spend too much on devices and upgrades. Cutting back on tech expenses will free up more of your working capital for your larger financial goals and more important aspects of life. Here are some quick tips to save big on tech.

Image via Flickr by Got Credit

Add it all up

The best way to get a feel for how tech is fitting into your budget is to write everything down. If your phone bill, internet, and television expenses are bundled together, estimate how much you’re spending on each service separately. Include any payments you’re making on your phone, tablet, laptop, camera, car audio, or home theater system. If you’re not making payments, consider what you spent last year on devices and calculate an average monthly cost.

Look at your tech budget is through the filter of your priorities and values. For instance, if you don’t love television, it doesn’t make sense to have a $3,000 set and a $150 monthly cable bill. However, if you use your camera in your business, it’s important that you have the quality you need. Consider which items are truly important to you and which ones you’re willing to downgrade.

Sell Some Stuff

There’s no faster way to reduce your overall tech expense than to sell some of your gadgets and buy lower-end versions of what you need. The single best way to sell your goods is through your own personal network, using social media. People will pay more if they trust you. But there are loads of other options that are much better than a pawn shop. Try Amazon, eBay, or Facebook Marketplace as well as some specific sites for electronics.

Buy Refurbished

One of the best ways to pick up a new laptop, tablet, or phone is to buy refurbished. Refurbished products go through rigorous testing and painstaking inspections to make sure they meet brand standards, but they cost significantly less than the same model off the rack. Be sure to buy directly from the manufacturer or through a marketplace that lets you read reviews of the seller. Groupon, Amazon, and eBay are all good places to pick up refurbished electronics, if you do your research and read reviews first.

Buy Last Year’s Model

Unless there’s a valid reason you really need a particular new feature, consider buying last year’s model. It’s still just as amazing as it was when it came out a year ago — the only thing that’s changed is that something newer has come along. Sure, it’s fun to play with the latest phone or tablet, but in your day-to-day use, you mostly won’t notice whether you have the latest version of everything or not.

Reduce Your Phone Bill

Are you paying for unlimited data on your phone? Many people do because they’re worried about going over their data limit and incurring charges and fees. If you have Wi-Fi at home and work, and if you can resist the urge to stream video on your phone, you can probably get by easily with just a few gigs of data each month and save a lot of money. The solution is to get a prepaid SIM card. With a prepaid card, you can’t rack up overage charges. If you get close to your data limit, you can add more data anytime, without penalties.

Find Your Favorite Shows For Free

Many people are giving up cable or satellite television bills altogether and watching movies and shows through Hulu, Amazon Prime, or Netflix. If you have favorite network shows you’re not willing to give up, see if they’re available through the networks’ website. You might have to wait a day for the latest episodes, but you’ll save a bundle.

Tech spending for many people has gone through the roof in recent years, especially if you consider both monthly bills and spending on devices. Taking control of these expenses will help you refocus your financial energy into more important long-term goals.