Sometimes fixing a dying laptop, cracked screen, busted motherboard, or blinky game console is almost as pricey as buying a new one. When that happens, you have a pretty tough decision to make: Do you stick with what you’ve been using and love, or get something shiny and new? Here’s what you should consider before making the choice.

It might seem like new tech is always preferable to repairing older gear, but that’s only true if every upgrade is a good one. When we talked about how to make this decision when it comes to cars, we noted there’s a lot more to the picture there, and there’s more here too. Let’s tease out some of the things you should think about—depending on your situation, spending some cash to get new might be better than repairing what you have, and in other cases you might be better off fixing what you have.

See If Buying New Is Actually an Upgrade

Remember, not everything “new” is an “upgrade.” It might seem like you’re getting something better by nature, since presumably you’ll get a new, unused item instead of repairing your used gear, but if the thing you’re buying new doesn’t suit you as well as what you have already, it’s not an upgrade. For example, the current-gen Moto X is a great phone, but if you, like many people, preferred the smaller, thinner version compared to the newer, bigger one, you might be unhappy with the upgrade. Sure, it’s technically better, spec-wise, but we all know that whether you enjoy using something comes down to more than specs.

On the other hand, the money you’d spend repairing your old device could go towards getting you something new. Maybe instead of repairing a cracked screen, you can spend a little more and get a newer phone with a better camera, or instead of replacing your laptop’s motherboard you can afford the latest model with more storage and memory than the one you had. Think about that before you make the decision to repair your old device or buy a replacement. If you’re going to spend your money buying new instead of repairing what you use and love, you should make sure you’re actually getting something that’s better for you than what you have.

Try to Offset the Cost by Selling the Broken Tech

One thing to keep in mind when you’re comparing the cost of repairing broken tech to the cost of buying new is how much you’d make if you sold the broken item. Remember, people pay good money for broken tech on eBay and other places, so you can easily offset the cost of an upgrade by selling the broken item. That means if it would cost you $500 to repair your broken laptop, and a few hundred more could buy you a new, similar laptop, think about how you could soften the blow once you sold the broken one for parts, or how much more you could get for your money after you sell it.

That’s just an example, and there’s no guarantee that your broken tech will sell for enough to make a difference, but do some research. Keep in mind some people might want your broken model for its working screen, battery, or other parts they can use to repair their own. The money you might make on your broken one may soften the cost of the whole affair. Just make sure to properly erase your phone or computer before you sell it.


Stay tuned to 1Africa for Part 2 tomorrow.


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