These days, everybody loves to show off their flashy electronic gadgets. From smartphones to tablets, it seems that going back to school has never been so high-tech. However, before you shell out for a new tablet, you may want to ask yourself if it will be money well-spent.
Examine your study habits
Tablets can be great for students on the go. If you want to make the most of your downtime and cram some studying in on the bus or train, a tablet can help you wring every last drop out of the day. However, if you’d rather sit down at the kitchen table with a textbook and a pencil, a tablet could be little more than an expensive distraction. Before you hand over your hard-earned cash, make sure that buying a tablet will actually benefit your studies – if it won’t, it might be a mistake.
Crunch the numbers
Making the most of your money has never been so important, especially in today’s uncertain economy. Before you make any rash decisions, create a budget and examine your finances. Sure, it’s tempting to borrow a little extra when you’re applying for student loans to cover the cost of some new gadgets, but don’t forget that you’ll have to pay that loan back eventually, and with interest. As difficult a decision as it might seem, if you can get by without a tablet, you probably should. However, some electronics stores and hardware manufacturers offer student discounts or payment plans, which might offset the cost a little. Additionally, some companies offer refurbished versions of their tablets that can save you 10 to 25 percent of the final price. Be sure you can really afford a tablet before you commit to anything. After all, you don’t want to have to eat ramen noodles for six months just to be able to buy one, do you?
Look at what you have
For some students, a tablet computer is the ideal back-to-school investment. However, if you already have a laptop and a smartphone, shelling out on a tablet computer may not be the wisest way to spend your money. If the only reason you want one is for the sake of owning one, you should probably reconsider, especially if you already have the means to get online when you’re out and about. On the other hand, if your laptop died last semester and you’re still making do with an ancient cellphone, investing in a tablet might be a great idea.