This is the age of the electronic gadget, and there are abundant opportunities out there to purchase electronics of all shapes, sizes, and functions. The selection out there is downright tempting, but your budget only goes so far, especially since you have to reserve money for those annoying things like food and shelter.
Here’s how you can save money on that next electronic device purchase, and yet not have to just settle for second best.
Saving Money on Electronic Gadgets
You can get an awesome new device without going broke!
What’s It For?
Before you make that purchase, ask yourself what need is the device filling. For instance, say you have a desktop computer at home, but you want something you can go mobile with, particularly for social media and music. Do you really need a laptop for this, or wouldn’t a tablet make more sense? They are surprisingly inexpensive yet powerful, according to this tablet buying guide.
Now if you’re looking for a phone but also want to do a lot of texting and Facebook updates, wouldn’t it make sense to just get a better model of smart phone rather buying both a phone and a tablet? So, for starters, ascertain the purpose of the purchase.
Some people are understandably reluctant to buy something that’s been previously used, but it’s fair to say that most of that negativity is probably as a result of horror stories involving used cars. When it comes to electronics, manufacturers take the item in question, recondition and repair it, clean it up, and send it out again at a reduced price.
Most manufacturers offer a reasonable warranty as well as an exchange policy within a certain timeframe. Furthermore, purchasing a refurbished device from the manufacturers means it will be reconditioned with the correct brand name parts in-house, as opposed to a third party, which may simply use whatever spare parts work and are cost-effective.
When was the last time someone looked at your laptop and said “Hey, nice machine! What shape was the original box in?” Probably never, unless you associate with some really strange people. The point is, once you have your machine, the packaging never enters into the picture, and no one knows where it came from.
You can get a decent open box special, a product that’s never been used but the outer container suffered some sort of damage. You can fetch a 10 to 15 percent discount if you’re lucky. Warning: check the box to make sure that all of the parts are there; you don’t need to take your purchase open only to find that someone has already boosted the power cord.
Skip The Extended Warranty
Some sales people will try to get you to sign on with an extended warranty. “Think of the peace of mind,” they say. Piece of baloney, more like. First of all, most electronics come with at least a base warranty already, sometimes up to a year. Beyond that, you venture into unknown waters, true, but when you consider how many warranties have special conditions and provisions, you better make sure that the nature of your device’s malfunction is one of the ones covered! Furthermore, some devices’ extended warranties have deductibles. Beg pardon? You mean you purchase an extended warranty and you get the privilege of paying even more when the device breaks and needs repair??
Buy The Older Model
Let’s say you took the first piece of advice listed here and ascertained that you want a laptop that can handle everyday web surfing duties, some average mundane utilities, a little social media, and play some music. Nothing complicated or heavy-duty. You visit the electronics department of your favorite big box store and find the MegaUltra Laptop Mark 2, a just released laptop that does everything you want, plus has an advanced graphics card for intense game play and graphic design capability. But sitting forlornly just a few feet away is the MegaUltra Laptop Mark 1, released a year ago (or five years, in human years!). It has everything you want, but its game play is only so-so, and besides it’s … gasp … last year’s model! Yes, and it’s probably also substantially cheaper, while doing everything you want it to. Unless you want the latest and greatest, consider getting an earlier model.
There are other tactics out there if you want to look for them, but this list nails the ones that are the most favored by the budget-conscious electronics consumer. As always, let the buyer beware!
Byline: John Terra has been a freelance writer since 1985. He in fact has no idea if one year of an electronic device’s age really equals five human years.