Technology touches all areas of our daily lives, from home entertainment systems to cell phones to computers. These much-loved items are also some of our priciest purchases, so it pays to do your homework and shop smart. Here are some of my favorite tips for saving money on tech:
Consider a previous generation
Sure, the latest models have new features, but do you need all of those bells and whistles? Earlier generations of the same device can often hold their own and will cost a great deal less than the new model, especially right when the new model hits the shelves.
Timing is everything
There are certain times of the year when tech will be on sale. You can save a bundle just by timing your purchases just right.
- 3-Day weekends & holidays: You’ll find deep discounts on electronics during major holidays and 3-day weekends, like Black Friday/Cyber Monday, Memorial Day weekend, and Labor Day weekend.
- Amazon Prime Day: This sale usually takes place in July, but it was June 21-22 this year. By shopping on Prime Day, Prime members can save $100 or more on items like smartwatches, AirPods, small appliances, power banks, robotic vacuums, and more! Other retailers, like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy also often host sales at this time.
- Pro Tip: Want Prime Day savings without a Prime membership? Sign up for a free trial of Prime to take advantage of the deals and cancel before the trial period ends.
- Semi-annual sales: Check out sales like NewEgg’s semi-annual clearance, which happen in the summer and fall, with up to 50 percent off tech.
- Back to school: These sales usually occur in August. Retailers tend to offer deals on computers and tablets, especially on previous models that need to be cleared to make room for the newest releases.
Use deal sites
Use a deal site like Slickdeals.net where savings are reported from across the internet. At the time of this writing, Slickdeals had several Best Buy offers, including up to $200 off Apple products and 20 percent off cell phone accessories. Another handy Slickdeals feature is their deal alert. Once you set an alert for a specific item, you’ll automatically be notified when it goes on sale.
Get cashback and coupons on tech purchases with a site like CouponCabin. They also have a handy browser extension called the Sidekick, that once installed, will alert you to available deals as you browse online.
Another browser extension I would recommend installing is Popcart, which tracks online pricing. As you browse, Popcart will let you know if you are getting the best price where you are or if there are better prices elsewhere. If you’d prefer not to use a browser extension, you can search for items by name using Google Shopping.
If you shop at BestBuy, their Price Match Guarantee program applies to Bestbuy.com vs. your Best Buy store, and major online retailers like Amazon.com, Crutchfield.com, Dell.com, HP.com, and TigerDirect.com (does not include items sold by third-party sellers on any of these sites) as well as warehouse club prices like BJ’s Wholesale Club, Costco, and Sam’s Club.
Skip the insurance or warranty… maybe
Before purchasing extra insurance or an extended warranty, see what protections your credit card offers. For example, many American Express cards offer up to one additional year of extended warranty coverage on the original manufacturer’s warranty of five years or less. Also, if you treat your tech gently and you are not accident-prone, it could make sense to skip the added cost.
Buy certified refurbished
Yes, refurbished items are “used”, but refurbished items are carefully inspected and repaired and often come with a warranty. Here are a few good resources for refurbished items:
- eBay: eBay is a reliable destination for refurbished tech. Use the eBay app to easily keep track of tech you’d like to buy, with access to daily deals and app-only special offers and discounts.
- At the time of this writing, eBay is featuring a spotlight deal with 29 percent off Bose QuietComfort Wireless Headphones.
- Decluttr: is another good site for purchasing refurbished tech, Decluttr offers a free 12-month limited warranty and free shipping on all tech purchases.
- They will also buy your unwanted tech with a quick and painless process.
- Best Buy: Best Buy’s refurbished program is available through their Outlet. Items are repaired and returned to an “as-new” condition and covered by Best Buy’s Return & Exchange Promise.
- Best Buy’s Outlet also has discounted Open Box items and Clearance items. Open-box products are returned items, floor models, or products that were opened by the store for quality inspection after shipping. These products are covered by Best Buy’s Return & Exchange Promise.
- Best Buy also has trade-in or recycle programs where you can get cash, gift cards, or discounts toward your next purchase.
- Pro Tip: See something on display that you like at Best Buy? Ask if the store will sell it to you as an Open-Box item!
- Apple: If you’re looking for Apple items specifically, Apple’s certified refurbished deals are known for being reliable.
- At the time of this writing, you can save $260 on a refurbished iPhone XS 64GB or you can save $410 on a refurbished 13.3-inch MacBook Pro
- Pro Tip: Stack your savings by searching for coupon codes to apply to your refurbished tech! eBay, Decluttr, and Best Buy often have deals. Apple deals are less frequent, but they do happen.
You can buy used (not refurbished) tech from sellers on sites like eBay or Swappa. Or, if you’d like to shop locally, try Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp or Craigslist.
- Sign up for alerts for info on items you are interested in as well as special offers.
- If you have a knack for wheeling-and-dealing, try negotiating on price!
- If you’re buying via auction on eBay, use a tool like eSnipe to automate your bids and make last-minute bids to win an item just before the auction time ends.
Take advantage of your discounts
Students and educators:
- College students, their parents, and faculty can get discounted education pricing with Apple as well as a free pair of AirPods when you buy a Mac or iPad.
- Right now, you can save $100 on a 13-inch MacBook Air with 256GB of storage
- Students can save up to $200 on Dell PCs and 10% on select monitors and accessories
- Best Buy offers featured deals for students like $100 off select iPad Pro 11-inch models or $300 total savings on select Windows laptops.
Some tech retailers offer senior shoppers.
- Seniors 50+ can save 5% on Lenovo ThinkPad and Idea brand PCs
- Verizon has special discounts for seniors 55+ with savings of up to $40/month; T-Mobile offers an unlimited 55+ plan with special discounts and benefits like Netflix included at no extra cost, and seniors living in Florida can get a special 55+ plan with AT&T.
Veterans and military
- Apple offers a 10% discount to all current and former military members and their immediate family
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