Buy new or repair? Solutions to broken stuff articleWe’ve all been in this situation. We have grown fond of our four-year-old laptop, our slowly dilapidating washer-dryer, or our ancient fridge when, out of the blue, our beloved appliance finally bites the dust. Now, in some cases the machinery has breathed its last and is forever gone, but more often than not, the possibility of repairing these appliances is real. Regardless, the buy new or repair question can be complex. By exploring warranty options, basic costs of buying versus repair, or even seeing how outdated the product is, you can best decide whether to repair your stuff or scrap it for a new purchase.

Obviously the number one concern is analyzing the cost benefits. In the case of electronics, it is almost always more practical to replace your faulty device with a new one because repair costs are not always cheap. Cost to fix computers alone may range from inexpensive virus cleanup to costly hardware corruption.

It’s not always as straightforward as picking which will cost more and which will cost less. Instead, many experts suggest you follow the fifty percent rule, which states that if repairs cost over fifty percent of what it would cost to buy the product new, go ahead and invest in the newer product. Just make sure to get repair estimates, and research your options to save money.

If you are looking to repair an item, always contact a customer service representative to see if the damage is covered under warranty. If the item is around a year old, or even if the item was purchased with a famed credit card group, you could still receive free repairs or a new item under your warranty. While many experts suggest that buying the extended warranties are often not worth it, it never hurts to check on a warranty before paying to repair equipment. Some companies will offer an “out of warranty” repair rate, though this is often more than half of the cost to buy a new product, which if going by the fifty percent rule, is not the best idea.

Also, if you are forced to buy new, you might be able to recoup some funds by placing your broken item on eBay. Some buyers may ask if they can purchase the working parts of your device, while others may hope to repair the product themselves. Just make sure to be transparent about the item’s current state and fully explain the age or damage on what you are selling.

The decision to repair or to buy new is always a tough one, and never really has a definite one-answer-fits-all solution. But if you take the time to follow these steps and fully research the prices of products as well as explore the benefits to the different products themselves, this decision will be much easier and could save you from making the more expensive choice.