How to save on tech gadgets
Topping the list of life’s most dire necessities are smartphones, laptops and other high-tech gadgets, all ringing in at painfully high price points. Here are some tips to help you pay less.
The secret to saving is knowing how and when to shop for electronics. There are patterns in merchant trends and deal offerings to help you lower the costs of tech purchases. Check out these buying guidelines to save on your next high-tech gadget:
Step 1: Tech up your mobile device to save
The Price Check App from Amazon (available for iPhones and Androids) allows you to scan barcodes and product photos while you’re shopping in-store so that you can to get the best price comparison for stores near you or online.
RedLaser is available for iPhone, Windows and Android, giving you the capability to check prices via GPS technologies to pinpoint lower prices for products based on your geographical location. In addition, you can order items on the phone and schedule an in-store pickup following the purchase.
Clipix.com has a nifty little tool that allows you to bookmark an item online to get a "price drop alert" once the item price changes. New phones and laptops are always at their peak price when they first come out. Practice patience by monitoring items that you want and purchasing them right after their prices drop.
Step 2: Use caution when using eBay
Use eBay, but be careful. If you find that an eBay merchant has the lowest price, check all of the details about the seller including seller reviews, star ratings and number of sold items. Further, you must read the fine print in the item description box, and if anything is not listed, make sure to write the seller a message and ask about important information that may have been left out.
Step 3: Consider like-new products
Consider like-new products, also known as, refurbished items. In the same way that a brand-new car loses its value immediately after it's driven off the lot, you can find like-new electronics, including TVs, cameras and laptops. Retailers like Apple and CowBoom sell refurbished gadgets online, at significantly reduced prices. Check for item descriptions like "pre-owned" and "factory refurbished," which usually is the difference between how it was restored and whether a third party or the actual merchant processed the product.
In-store shopping has its perks too. Stores like Best Buy, Target and Walmart have an under the counter shelf for never-used, opened products at three quarters of the original price. These are usually sourced from newer display models or remorseful buyers’ returns, that are boxed up and waiting for uber-savvy tech-shoppers to swoop up at nearly half the original price.
Step 4: Find the right time to buy
Sure enough, when you’re looking to buy tech products, there is a right time to buy and a time to wait it out. Specific times of the year are geared toward restocking the shelves for new products and giving this old phrase an upgrade: "Out with the old and in with the next-point-0." Below is a list of best times to shell out your cash on gizmo goodies:
- End of August/September: Back-to-school sales on laptops, tablets and Kindles
- February: Valentine’s day sales for smartphones and two-for-one deals
- November: Black Friday and Cyber Monday early-bird specials on cameras, cell phones and laptops
- Any time news breaks that there’s a newer model coming out — usually the older ones go on sale.