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How to save money when shopping for a new computer

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

Computer hunting

Buying a new computer can be a daunting task, especially if you are on a budget. Computers can cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. Find a computer that's perfect for you and a perfect price!


Think twice about software

As you are ordering your new computer, don't automatically assume that you need the latest and greatest software. Oftentimes you can actually re-use the software you have on an older computer.

If the license for the software you need is non-transferable or you need new software, be sure to check for cheaper (or even free!) alternatives. For example, Microsoft Office can cost hundreds of dollars. A comparable application named Open Office can be downloaded free of charge.

Another example is bypassing Adobe Photoshop, the popular picture editing software that can cost thousands, for the free alternative named Gimp or the inexpensive alternative Paint Shop Pro.

Computer huntingDon't be afraid to splurge

While it's always nice to save money, you shouldn't sacrifice too much when getting a new computer. Hardware and computer accessories are relatively inexpensive compared to how much the same products cost a few years ago.

Gamers should definitely splurge on memory and video cards. If you store a lot of movies or pictures, you can cheaply upgrade your hard drive. Are you going to use your computer to listen to music? Upgraded computer speakers can greatly improve sound quality.

Extended warranties

Many studies have shown that purchasing extra computer warranties and service agreements beyond the standard manufacturer warranty aren't worth the money. You should remember that you aren't expecting the computer you are purchasing to survive ten or twenty years. You are expecting the computer to last two to three years.

Generally, you should avoid extended agreements that end up costing you more than 33% of the original purchase price. If you are purchasing a laptop and there's a chance it could be stolen, or you travel extensively and it could get damaged, a extended warranty should be considered.

Computer huntingComputer accessories

These computer accessories are standard to have so make sure you don't skip out on these!

  • Printers
  • Modems
  • Video card
  • Cables
  • Keyboards and mice


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