As is usually the case in big ticket purchases, the best way to save money buying a new computer is not to buy one. The statement is obvious but it’s worth mentioning. If your current computer works fine, it can be much cheaper to spend money on upgrades than on a completely new machine. If you are still determined to purchase a new machine though, here are some things to help you minimize the impact on your budget.
Figure Out What You Need
Laptops and desktops are available with all the bells and whistles imaginable. A serious online gamer may need the memory and graphics from the high end of the available spectrum. For most users, a much simpler machine can accommodate all our needs and still provide excellent usability. Assess your needs before you go to the store where all those pretty computers will tempt you towards making a purchase that exceeds your parameters.
Part of this process is also figuring out what you don’t need. Unless you plan to use a web cam constantly, you don’t need one as part of your package. Printers are nice, but you can get cheaper ones if you buy them alone. Biometric security features? Fancy but scarcely necessary unless you are a spy or corporate big shot. Minimize as much as possible.
Use Rebates and Sales
Because computers are a technology that is constantly changing, you can usually find great deals on slightly older models. Whether it is an older version of an operating system, a slower drive or less refined screen, most of us aren’t going to notice the difference. On the other hand, these are the models that offer the best rebates and are most frequently on sale as stores try to deplete their inventory. Do keep an eye out for computers with rebates that are more than a similar unit without one, though.
Refurbished Or Out of the Box
There is a growing market for computers that have been returned to the manufacturer for one reason or another. If there is a defect, the manufacturer will repair the unit and return it to the owner. Other computers simply didn’t meet their new owner’s desires and they returned them within the warranty period. Either way, there are some serious savings available on these units. When you buy these, they generally work just like new so it is definitely worth looking at these models.
If you are looking at a desktop, you can avoid a lot of pricey extras. Your current monitor, keyboard and mouse should work just fine with your new CPU, so don’t purchase new ones. Extra software added to a standard machine may not be necessary for you, so ask that it not be loaded. Avoid Vista optimization add ons; frankly, I suggest you avoid Vista altogether. Even with a free upgrade, your computer will be faster Windows 7 was freshly installed.
Buying a new computer doesn’t have to break the bank. Personally, I just got my kids a really nice desktop with a monitor, speakers, and wireless internet for $300, so I know you can do it, too.
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