Americans spend the equivalent of 17 percent of their monthly rent or mortgage payment on technology, according to the American Institute of CPAs. That figure goes up for people who download songs, apps and other products. If your budget is tanking every time a new gadget comes out, you’re not alone. But it could be time to reevaluate your purchases.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go on a gadget strike. There are plenty of tech gadgets that don’t break the bank and give you the functionality you’re looking for. It also doesn’t hurt that these gadgets will give you plenty of street cred with your friends. Here are five tech gadgets you didn’t know you could afford.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Just because the latest, cutting-edge smartphones aren’t cheap doesn’t mean you need to settle for less. The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge features a 5.5-inch Quad HD Super Amoled screen and is water- and dust-resistant. While the full retail price is $799.99, you can get it for less. Opt into a payment plan for 24 months at roughly $30 a month from T-Mobile instead of forking over your entire paycheck.
AMPware Rechargeable Smartphone Case
Although the AMPware case was inspired by dead batteries during Hurricane Katrina, it’s useful when your phone is dead between classes. Pick up the AMPware case for under $80, and keep your phone charged at all times. The concept is an old-school, crank-style generator that is packaged into the modern sophistication of a smartphone case. Crank the handle for about 10 minutes and power up your phone for two hours of regular use.
Divoom Voombox Outdoor
Kick off your next dance party or impromptu jam session with the ultra portable Voombox. With a list price hovering under $80, the Voombox is a compact, wireless Bluetooth device that’s durable enough to use outside. With 12 hours of battery life, you can set this up as a speaker at your next party and let it go through the night. The device is also water-resistant, making it less likely to fry if someone spills their drink or it gets pushed into the pool.
Xiaomi Mi Band Pulse
Wearable tech is all the rage, but it comes at a steep price for monitoring your heart rate and number of steps walked on the Fitbit and Apple Watch. Fortunately, there are other wearable fitness options, like the Xiaomi Mi Band Pulse, which retails for around $20. Track your steps, heart rate and pulse to get motivated to get back in shape. Xiaomi Mi Band also tracks your distance and estimates the calories and grams of fat you burned.
iPad Mini 2
Apple does not have the reputation of being inexpensive or affordable. However, you can pick up an iPad Mini 2 for under $270 and enjoy all the bells and whistles you want from an Apple product. Choose between 16GB and 32GB of space in either silver or space gray. Load it up with your favorite apps, listen to iTunes, watch shows online via Netflix and take photos around campus to create a slideshow.