Having been confined to our homes for close to two years, all of us have been made extremely aware of the shortcomings in our households. Perhaps due to extra usage during your time spent at home (who didn’t try out fancy recipes during lockdown?) or simply by nearing the end of their lifespan, many of our electronics items probably need to be replaced fairly soon. Be it kitchen appliances (like microwaves, gas cookers, blenders, rice cookers), household appliances (like televisions, irons, refrigerators) or even personal appliances (like mobile phones, laptops), the chances that you have a long list of electronics on your To-Buy list are pretty high. However, considering the current economic conditions, it is also one of the worst times to plan to buy electronic items; this can be for one or more reasons, such as:
- Reduction in your personal income and/or increase in personal expenses, leaving you with less disposable income
- Exchange rates remain on the higher end of the spectrum, meaning the prices of goods are higher by default; when you factor in the sky-high increases in taxes, tariffs etc., most goods are exorbitantly expensive nowadays
- Severe import restrictions means there is a shortage of electronics items on the market, thereby inflating the already-higher-than-usual prices of goods
That being said, certain critical electronic items do need to be replaced sooner than later. Here are some ways that you can finance these essential purchases during these hard times.
1. Prioritise and Save Up
The best way to make large purchases these days is to plan it well in advance. While sudden breakdowns cannot be prevented, if you are aware of one or more electronic items that need to be replaced, it’s best to make a list sorted by which devices are most important and urgent. Once you have done this, allocate around 1-2 items per purchase and set aside money from your monthly income over as many months as you need. The upside of this method is that you are firmly only using money that you already have, without going into debt. The downside is that buying items this way will take time, and does not take into account sudden breakdowns which need immediate replacement.
2. Wait for Seasonal Sales
The end of the year is one of the best times to buy consumer goods due to the sheer number and extent of seasonal sales. Most electronics shops will surely offer weekly discount schemes, both in-store and online if you wish to avoid the hordes of shoppers. Since Christmas is still a few weeks away, you still have time to tighten your belts and save up some cash by then. Furthermore, there would even be end-of-season sales in early January which might still be worth looking into. The downside of waiting for seasonal sales is that this is usually the busiest time of the year and you would need to fight off many other buyers to get the items you want. The social aspects of the end of the year also tend to eat into our expenses heavily as well.
3. Use Credit Cards
While credit cards pose a risk of insurmountable debt, they also come with great benefits. Especially during festival seasons, credit card companies partner with many brands and shops to offer amazing discounts. In addition to lower prices, you can also take advantage of instalment schemes made possible using your credit card where you can decide the payment term and split your purchase into equal monthly payments for the duration of this period. A Rs. 150,000 worth purchase will have you paying around just over six thousand rupees for two years. There are two types of instalment schemes you can opt for:
Interest Free Instalments
Certain credit cards have tied up with shops to offer interest-free instalment schemes which means the credit card company does not charge any fee to split the cost of the purchase over several months.
Paid Instalment Schemes
If your credit card does not have an interest-free instalment scheme with the shop you are planning to buy your electronics from, you can make the purchase and convert it to a paid instalment scheme, which would cost around 10-12% more.
4. Get a Cash Advance Today
If you are faced with a sudden breakdown of one or more of your most important electronic items (like your phone, laptop or refrigerator), you cannot wait around for seasonal offers or begin applying for credit cards if you don’t have one. The widespread availability of fast, short term loans online provided by money lenders like OnCredit.lk has made it very convenient for customers to borrow money during an emergency. Not only is minimal documentation required, but you can have the money in your hand in less than 24 hours (sometimes in as little as 30 minutes from your loan approval. These overnight cash advances can be paid off over the course of a few months, making it a very short-term debt unlike 2 year long instalment plans or personal loans.