Keeping up with the times is expensive business, but there are cheaper ways to make sure your kids are equipped with the gadgets they crave.
When it comes to kids and gadgets, it’s easy for parents to feel they’re going round in circles. No sooner have you bought them a Wii, than there’s a new Xbox on the market they can’t live without!
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed and worried about money and peer pressure, don’t panic. In an age where having the latest laptop or mobile phone has become really important to young people, there are many canny ways to keep your kids happy, without resorting to the credit card.
Find out who’s giving stuff away for free
For every household looking to buy a new flat screen TV, stereo or computer, there’s often another wishing they could get rid of their old one.
Online sites that help people give away unwanted goods have been flourishing in recent years. Try logging on to freecycle to find out what’s happening in your area. Not only will you save yourself a fortune, recycling used goods is much better for the environment.
Get the family swapping
At a time when household budgets are tight, many sites have popped up to help people make the most of what they already own.
Swapping is a fantastic way of getting rid of items you no longer use, while meeting your kids’ requests for more goodies!
Online sites offer swaps on everything from phones and video games to laptops. Specially designed swapping sites for young people can help your kids take ownership of the situation and encourage them to consider the material value of goods.
Check out refurbished technology
There are many ways to buy discounted technology, particularly items which have been ‘refurbished’ or ‘reconditioned’.
Such products, ranging from computers to televisions, are available from high street electronic stores or can be tracked down on the internet.
Often, these might be products another customer has bought, used and returned, or an older model the shop wants to replace with the latest version.
The key to buying a refurbished product you’re happy with is to know what you want.
Go online and research the item you’re interested in, and then find retailers to match.
Often refurbished goods come with a shorter warranty than new products, so make sure you’re happy with the terms and conditions of sale.
Look for cheaper brands
Do they really have to have an iPhone? Often other manufacturers release imitation or similar products which are much cheaper, but do the same job and look just as cool.
Find out exactly why they want a particular model and see if you can get an alternative that has the same functions.
Sell your old gadgets
You can make money (and free up space!) by selling your old gadgets you no longer need at sites like Gadgets4Everyone. If you've got an old phone knocking around you can also recycle them for cash at sites like mobilephoneXchange - some smartphones can earn you hundreds of pounds, so it's worth checking out.