Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rent V Buy: Tech for the Teen

This post has been written in partnership with Flexirent. As always, I jump at the opportunity to weave my life experiences into partnered posts.

Madeleine's school will be introducing an iPad digital textbook program in 2014. This means that Maddy won't have to carry heavy textbooks to and from school anymore, she won't even need to have them in her locker. She'll be able to carry them all around in the compact format of her iPad.  The cost of the textbooks in digital format is also significantly less (75%!) than buying them new, and works out about as well as buying them 2nd hand I thought (possibly better).

While at first I was a little sceptical,  imagining Maddy snapchatting and instagramming with friends instead of paying attention, the school has met my concerns by blocking social network sites and apps while the teenagers are logged onto the school network. With that concern out of the way, the only issue now is that the 16gb iPad we bought her for Christmas is actually too small for the school's requirements, and it would appear my 12 year old is going to be moving on to her 2nd iPad in as many years before I even get my first! We're thinking a household shuffle is in order, with an upgrade for Maddy and the smaller one can become a whole family item that the babies can play with, and I can use it for blogging as well as recipes.


While I purchased Maddy's iPad last year, a girlfriend of mine rented hers for her tween, a decision that I was fairly dismissive of at the time.

What was the point of renting technology when you could buy it instead?

With the prospect of another expensive purchase on the horizon, suddenly I am seeing the point. Whilst she would be able to simply upgrade her iPad to the one her teen needs next year, I am starting from scratch. With that in mind, I've explored the pro's and cons of renting, and wanted to share for those who will also be looking at significant tech purchases as their children enter high school.

Pro

Smaller manageable payment each month instead of a large upfront outlay. This can be a much more conveniant option than dipping into the emergency fund, or worse, putting it on the credit card.

Pro

iPad got dropped and the screen smashed? Before you kill your child, it can be returned for repairs and Flexirent will dispatch a replacement to you for up to 6 weeks while yours is repaired. Not such a big deal when the device is only a toy, a HUGE deal when its for school or work.

Pro

Teen outgrown the device and refuses to delete Minecraft needs more space for school apps? Or maybe you need a new model to cope with new software and apps. You are not stuck with an outdated device, although it's not an official benefit, Flexirent are very, well, flexible when it comes to renegotiating your needs. My girlfriend was able to return their x2 laptops they no longer needed, get a new iPad, and the new arrangement ended up being very favourable.

Pro

This doesn't apply so much to Miss almost 13, but if I were to bundle an iPad for ME to use at work, the monthly payment would be 100% tax deductible. I love legit tax deduction, so that caught my eye.

Con

At the end of the contract you don't own the device. I struggle a little with this, but I can see that while the kids are going through the interchangeable device years, this is probably actually a pro. There is the option to make an offer for the device if you are not wanting to enter a fresh agreement for a new device.

Con

I don't LOVE the idea of an ongoing monthly payment, even though Flexirent make it fairly convenient. I try to keep my monthly commitments down so that my disposable income is as high as possible.

While I'm sure there are many tween's who are very responsible with their tech, speaking as a mother who has just sold the remains of an iPod touch on eBay for $21 (sold for parts *sigh*), I'm suddenly seeing the benefits of unlimited repairs, the ability to renegotiate and upgrade when needed, and a small monthly payment instead of a large upfront winging its merry way into a cash register.

Flexirent provides technology for personal and business use. With a range of payment options available and a diverse selection of tools and gadgets, Flexirent can find an option to suit your needs.