Fortunately, we are a long way from the day that purchasing an inexpensive computer monitor meant that you were getting a dud. If you have been around to watch the progress of computers from the days before monitors, to orange and green screens that were as large as a small fridge and on up to the LCD screens of today, then you can really appreciate the progress. I remember when a machine with 128K – yes K – cost a couple thousand dollars. Needless to say, things have processed but best of all, prices have dropped.
In general, CRT monitors, if you can still find them, are going to be cheaper. Some users prefer them because they don’t look quite as pixelated as LCD monitors, especially when the screens get larger. On the other hand, they take up a lot of space and consume more energy than other screens.
David’s Note: I left it in there, but I do not believe that the “pixel” ated issue is still a concern. All professional grade monitors are now in LCD form, as you probably won’t find another new CRT monitor anymore in this day and age. However, I’m no expert in this, and if you are looking for used, this of course can still apply.
The best deals are for monitors in the 17” size range, as that is the most popular.
Lighter and brighter than their CRT cousins, LCD monitors have stepped off the laptop platform and are now commonly used with desktop models. While still more expensive than CRT monitors, the prices have dropped a great deal in the past few years, bringing them into the reach of most computer owners. As quickly as technology changes, getting a low end LCD monitor may be the lease expensive way to enjoy this technology without breaking the bank.
The larger the screen, the more you will end up paying for it so think it through. If you play multiplayer online games or write computer programs, you may require a larger screen; if, however, all you do is keep your financial records, write e-mail, and surf, you can get by with a 15-17” screen with ease. Once you move beyond standard-sized screens, prices go up quickly.
David’s Note: I’ve read studies where they’ve shown that larger screens increase productivity, and in my personal experience, this is definitely the case. However, I sit in front of my computer all day and every little minute I save counts. Whether saving what may only amount to a few minutes a day for the average user is worth the extra cost is a personal decision that only you can answer.
If you are looking at the LCD monitors and really don’t want to pay full price, consider refurbished models. These are usually models that had some minor defect out of the box. Once they return to the manufacturer, the monitor was repaired and made available once more. Wondering how much you can save? I have seen deals of 30-90% off the original price.
Wait for Year End Sales
In computer monitors, just like in every other retail product, model years come and go. When a newer product replaces the old version, the price will drop. The monitor doesn’t have an expiration date, trust me, and you can get a much better deal on a monitor when the new ones make it to the shelves. As a case in point, I just got a Netbook that was last year’s model, exact same features and size, for $50 less then the current model, a savings of 20%. I’m sure monitors reflect similar savings, and as with everything that is computer related, it pays to wait.
Packages may seem like a good deal, but you are usually being offered whatever the store has to move. Most models are cheaply made and aren’t worth the price you end up paying for them. Instead, go online and purchase what you need by the component instead. There are plenty of reliable vendors who offer CPUs, computer monitors, wires and everything else you could possibly need to get your system up and running.
This is yet another piece taken from the How to Save Money on Everything ebook. Check out the free frugal newsletter and sign up to get the free ebook too.