In April 2010, Apple’s iPad debuted. Depending on the exact model you purchased, it set you back around $500.
In March 2011, the iPad 2 was announced. Within hours, I saw people posting their nearly-new iPads on Craigslist and eBay. With all the competition out there, the prices dipped as low as $100 a pop.
I know one of the people who sold his first generation iPad during that rush. The iPad he sold was in extremely good shape, as he kept it in a case the entire time he used it.
Simply by waiting 11 months or so, a person could have saved 75% of the sticker price on an iPad.
Most of the time, waiting several months on buying a new product, particularly a tech product, will save you a significant portion of the list price.
I’ve witnessed the same thing with computer games, where a new game will come out in April and cost $59, but then be available on sale for $10 that December.
I’ve witnessed it with televisions, with DVD players, and with countless other pieces of technology.
I’ve particularly witnessed it with cell phones, where a cutting edge phone drops in price as much as 80% within a year. It still does everything it did a year earlier, of course, but the price is drastically cheaper.
Of course, there’s one other big reason to not be an early adopter besides the price: you don’t have to worry about the technical hiccups.
Whenever a new piece of software debuts, it almost always has some significant bugs under the hood. I’ve seen operating systems completely crash or fail to update on the day of release. I’ve seen video games be almost nonfunctional at first until a bug fix is released. I’ve seen DVD players with firmware that makes it impossible to watch many types of discs, which is of course fixed but only a few months after release.
If you wait, you not only get the full features of the item that you would have got on the release date, you get them at a lower price and without all of the early release bugs and problems.
Even better, you give yourself plenty of time to evaluate the product and figure out if you actually want it. The hype machine can often convince people that they want a product, only to leave them realizing later that they barely use it. Waiting gives you the time to get past the hype and figure out if the item is actually useful for you.
Don’t be an early adopter. It costs you money and time in a lot of different ways.
This post is part of a yearlong series called “365 Ways to Live Cheap (Revisited),” in which I’m revisiting the entries from my book “365 Ways to Live Cheap,” which is available at Amazon and at bookstores everywhere. Images courtesy of Brittany Lynne Photography, the proprietor of which is my “photography intern” for this project.