The end of summer is almost here, which means not only is it time to go back to school, but your student probably needs a computer and retailers want your money! So the goal here is to give your student the best computer while giving the retailer as little as possible to accomplish this. Thankfully, there are a few ways to save money on your next computer.
Upgrade Your Current Computer
The best way to provide a computer for your student is to upgrade your current computer. There are many ways to improve your computer’s performance without spending a lot of money. Some of the ways to do this are to remove unused programs and files, defrag the hard drive, scan for viruses or malware, and upgrade your RAM. All of these with the exception of a RAM upgrade are free. However, you can find great deals on RAM and other accessories at places such as TigerDirect.com and Ebay. I recently bought some RAM at TigerDirect and saved over 70% off retail stores such as Best Buy.
Another way to make your computer perform faster and be more reliable is to replace the hard disk drive (HDD) with a solid state drive (SSD). This does cost a little money, but the SSD will perform much more reliably and faster than a HDD. Doing this allowed me to extend the life of my MacBook Pro by another couple years. The hard drive is much less likely to crash as well, making your data safer in the long run.
Save Money with Refurbished Computers and Electronics
I buy most of my computers as refurbished. I have purchased refurbished computers from Apple, Dell, and Microsoft, and I’ve saved hundreds of dollars off current sale prices for brand new computers. You can save money by purchasing refurbished electronics. Refurbished electronic items aren’t always used; in fact, many items sold as refurbished are new items. Sometimes they are marked as refurbished because they are floor models, customer returns, open box items, discontinued models, factory seconds, overstocked items, or other minor reasons.
Refurbished electronics purchased from the manufacturer almost always come with a full manufacturer’s warranty. However, be sure to read the fine print and buy from a reputable dealer. Some vendors sell items as “refurbished” but they only come with a store warranty. Always buy refurbished items directly from the manufacturer or from a large store that has a solid warranty system. Buyer beware if you buy anywhere else!
Shop at Discount Computer Retailers
One of my favorite places to shop for electronics is TigerDirect.com, a discount retailer that regularly features amazing deals on various electronic items. The have a wide variety of accessories and replacement parts, but the best deals are often on refurbished computers and other electronics. The refurbished items they sell all come with a standard warranty, and you can save hundreds of regular retail prices. You can also try online retailers such as Ebay, NewEgg, and Amazon to save money.
Check for School or Employer Discounts
Many schools and companies off discounts if you purchase a computer through their program. They are often able to negotiate these deals because they make bulk purchases through these companies. Other times, the companies simply extend the offer to large schools and companies in the hope more business will come their way. You can usually find a savings of 10-20% on computers and accessories. You should also look for military discounts if you are in the military.
Search for Deals from Specific Companies
If you know the brand of computer you want, try finding a deal with their company. Here are a few ways you can save money with specific companies:
Buy a Dell Business Computer (you don’t need to own a business to do this). When I bought my computer several years ago, I researched several options including various PCs and several Macs. I liked the MacBook, but didn’t like the price and having to learn a new system. In the end I discovered I could buy a comparable PC from Dell for about half the price as a Mac (I have since migrated to using Macs for the majority of my computing uses).
The best deal I could find was from Dell’s business unit, where their computers are actually cheaper than their home computers. Using Dell’s “build a PC” feature on their website, I built two computers with identical specs – one each from their Home Computers section (Inspiron), and one from their small business computers section (Vostro). In the end, the small business computer (Vostro model) was about $200 cheaper, and didn’t come with any trial software or annoying popups that Dell is notorious for.
I asked a friend of mine about this (he works for Dell) and he said they offer better deals on business computers for several reasons. Most businesses buy more than one computer and they want to buy everything in one place – software, support, peripherals, etc. So they charge less on the hardware and make up for it elsewhere. If you are looking for a Dell, take advantage of this! Here are more tips on how to get the best deal on a new dell computer.
Deals on Macs and other Apple products. I used the following tips to save money on a MacBook Pro when I changed from Windows to the Mac OS. Apple has a refurbished section on their site. Inventory varies and can move quickly, so it’s best to check often if you are seeking a particular model. But the savings can be very good. I’ve saved an additional 15-30% off regular list price by buying from the refurbished section. Apple also has a military and education discount (for teachers and students). Both discounts are 10% off most products.
The most important thing to do is shop around. There are plenty of ways to save money.