*This post may contain affiliate links, please see my disclosure
Ahhh, technology. You can’t escape it! Heck, you’re engrossed in its awesomeness right now just to read my blog (thanks!). To some, it’s a necessary evil that plagues the earth and sucks the life out of anything that comes in contact with it (or maybe that’s just me…). To most, it’s something that makes the world just that much easier and more enjoyable. With apps for everything, gadgets that make you lunch, and the ability to read iHeartBudgets on a mobile device, technology is enriching the lives and smart people such as yourselves. But it does come with one downside.
IT’S FREAKING EXPENSIVE!
But have no fear, you don’t have to pay full retail to a dude in a brightly colored t-shirt ever again! There are SO many options out there, I would be appalled at anyone not getting AT LEAST 25% when they buy electronics following the below steps.
Step 1: Find Out What You Actually Want
This may seem ridiculous, but you really need to know EXACTLY what you want before looking for it. Ask yourself some qualifying questions like:
- What do I need it for?
- What kind of performance do I need from it?
- How long do I need it to last?
- What brands are the best rated?
- What the heck is an Intel Core i5 processor?
Answering these questions can really help you narrow down your search, and give you an idea of where to start looking. I always go through this mental checklist before I even set voyage and surf the internet for a solution. There are also device-specific questions, like:
- What screen size do I need?
- How much memory do I need?
- What programs do I want to run with it?
Step 2: Know Where To Search
The trick to finding any good deal is knowing where to look. I mean, you may get lucky and accidently stumble on a good deal like Columbus did the U.S., but most likely you’ll get lost and overwhelmed and end up going to a HUGE store with people in blue polos. So here are a few places to get you started on your technology search:
- Amazon.com (for almost anything)
- Newegg.com (for anything computers)
- Frys.com (for anything computer and home electronics)
- Tigerdirect.com (for anything computers)
- Any laptop online outlet (example: outlet.lenovo.com)
- Woot.com (for 1-day sales)
- Bestbuy.com (MIGHT have a good deal…maybe)
- A few friends have mentioned slickdeals.net (Thanks FI Pilgrim and KK) for awesome deals
There are other specific places for your specific need, but these are a great place to start. You can find great deals, honest (as possible) reviews, and great service to boot. I ALWAYS recommend checking Amazon before making any purchase. Heck, if you’re in a store, there’s even an app that lets you scan the barcode and see if it’s cheaper on Amazon. And with free-two day shipping, doesn’t get much better than that!
Once you find the best deals on the products you like, it’s time to get some more details before pulling the trigger.
Step 3: Do Some Research
Using the sites above will let you compare products, look at customer reviews, and really narrow down your search. Now that you have a handful of choices or less, it’s time to put those devices to the test. This is where I recommend reading some very in-depth professional reviews at places like:
These places will offer full-detailed reviews with benchmark testing, practical uses, and best of all, PICTURES! I love going here to check out a product and see if it hits on all the points that I need. I’m sure there’s a bias in some of these reviews, but you just need to look for the stuff that YOU think is important and see how the device fares.
Step 4: Ask People You Know Who Have Experience With It
This is the MOST IMPORTANT step in this entire process. At this point, you’ve searched out GREAT deals online and done some in-depth research to narrow down your choices. Now you need to ask some people you trust who have the device(s) in question, and get some real world feedback from them. Maybe even ask if you could borrow it for an hour (if possible) to get a feel for the device, and write down any questions that come up.
You can ask the owner of said device for their honest opinion, and I have found that MOST people will be straight up about their purchase. Again, make sure you are looking for the features YOU WANT, and don’t worry if something doesn’t perform on it that you don’t care about. Recommendations are the way that I have purchased most electronics, whether from a co-worker or friend. And I did the same just recently for my brother, helping him get a KILLER deal on a laptop at the Lenovo outlet.
Electronics are tough. Technology is changing so rapidly that your device may be out of date 2 days after you buy it! But what really matters is that YOU are satisfied with your purchase. Following the above steps (especially steps 2) should allow you to get EXACTLY what you want, and save a TON of cash in the process.
Comments: What are you favorite tricks for getting the best technology at a good price? Any killer deals you want to share with readers? Would you add anything to this list above?
photo credit: Chris Smith/Out of Chicago via photopin cc
Disclaimer: There’s an affiliate link in this post. I get a very small commission for anything purchase through this link. Don’t feel obligated to use it, but if you do, I appreciate the support a ton! Thanks!
41 thoughts on “How To Save Money When You Buy Electronics”
I save money on electronics by not buying any. Ha! I’m probably the least tech-savvy person on the planet. Last night, I finally installed Twitter on my phone. Greg said, “welcome to 2009!”
LoL! Do you know what a “DVD” is?
I agree with the above steps, except that once I know what I’m looking for (exactly) I head to slickdeals.net. They list the best deals from all the big websites, it’s like one-stop deal shopping. And I have no reason to promote them besides the money I’ve saved by using that site over the years. 🙂
Great call, I’ll check it out!
Excellent steps. One more: don’t buy new stuff unless you really need to. The fact there’s a new version, doesn’t mean you need to, as long as yours still works 😉
YES! Especially for anyone with some sort of iDevice!
He he, I don’t own any Apple devices. Always found similar products at smaller prices and just the fact they look so cool doesn’t make me want to pay for the difference 🙂
Great post! I am about to buy a laptop and I’m not looking forward to it. I am horrible with electronic decisions!
You have some help with it? I can consult, as I am the tech geek for our whole family, and love helping people find great deals. Just let me know!
Yeah, what you’re describing has pretty much become my standard practice, as I suspect it has for many. Online I research products to zero in on exactly what I want. Then I research who’s offering the lowest price (including shipping) for the product. I might then take this info to a local retailer and try to work a deal. But if the locals won’t budge and the price difference is significant (without much difference in service), then I’ll order online.
I am too lazy to get in the car to go to the local store, lol. Unless I need it THAT DAY! But if I’m in that much of a hurry, I probably won’t get the best deal. But that is a smart approach, to exhaust ALL options.
I generally try to buy one generation older than the newest stuff. It is still an upgrade for me at a lower price.
Great point! I almost NEVER buy new electronics, waste of money IMO
What do you think about buying second hand? Or do you just buy new old generation models?
Yes. I like both, but with electronics you have to be very selective. I’m all about getting something to last 5+ years, so you need to do some research and learn about new technology and how long you think your used device will last. For example, the Lenovo Outlet for laptops gives VERY good pricing on last-gen laptops, but I know they will last for a long while because they aren’t 2 or 3 generation old, just 1.
This is the process I use when buying electronics. I enjoy checking Amazon and Newegg for trusted reviews, and then heading to cNet to watch the gadget in action. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a new laptop, but I don’t really want to spend the money, so I might hold off. I’ve been trying to see if there are any nice ones for less than $500, but I might be better off waiting for the holiday sales.
If you want a PC laptop, just got my brother a 15.6″ Lenovo with 6GB Ram and 750 GB hard drive (with a 24 GB Solid State as well for speed) and Windows 8, 64-bit for $470 after tax, and free shipping. Go to the Lenovo Outlet and you may be able to find a great deal yourself 🙂
Electronics have weird ways we men. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a sucker when it comes to electronics. Best way to save on electronic is really to wait and think. Seriously, I don’t think I needed half the electronics I own now.
Here’s the solution; work in technology. Then you will despise it and only buy necessities 🙂
BF gets a lot of good deals on electronics on slickdeals.net. I swear he gets a package a week (all things that are computer related that I don’t understand). I’m a big amazon buyer myself.
Second mention of that site. I’ll have to add it to the post as a resource. Thanks for the heads up.
I’m a big believer in buying the best you can afford (within reason) when buying so you can buy for a long time. I spent $1400 on my Lenovo Yoga but with the 256 solid state drive and crazy flexible touch screen, I’m planning on having this baby for YEARS. Plus, the reviews were really good for this baby. Research and value– don’t be pennywise and pound foolish if you plan on using it all the time.
Agreed! I buy something with awesome specs and make it last as long as possible. Our laptop has been around for about 5 years, and was used for $400. Now time to replaced with another for about $450, but WAY better specs.
Now, if I could afford the YOGA, I’d be ALL over that! My favorite convertible laptop so far!
When I do buy electronics I look for last year’s model. If there is no old model available if I’m at Best Buy I look it up on Amazon and get them to comp that price.
I got a great deal on my laptop by comparison shopping, then calling the companies and asking them what the best they could do was, when it came to price matching. Some would come down 5 or 10%. It took some legwork but was worth it.
I love to use the RedLaser app when shopping for electronics, especially at Best Buy because they’ll price match online prices from sites like Amazon and NewEgg. A very easy way to insure you get the lowest price.
It used to infuriate me when my dad would but the no-name mp3 player instead of the ipod. Why do you have to be so CHEAP dad???!!! But now that I’m old and wizened (HA!) I really see the value in his approach and try to duplicate it. Truly knowing what you’re looking for, and on the flip side what you don’t care about, is so key to not overpaying for just about anything.
I bought an iPad several months ago. I did not buy the latest version and was able to get a much better price and still got the same warranty. It also meets my needs!
“finally installed twitter on my phone”! OMG I am seriously LMAO! “welcome to 2009”? How about the 1900’s! I’ve got a flip top cell and didn’t even know you could get twitter on your phone – ha! I just love these generational differences.
I always ask my more tech savvy friends for a recommendation. They know what I need and what I don’t better than I do 🙂
I usually stalk slickdeals when I’m in need of something. I’ve found some pretty great deals on electronics there.
We always shop around in store and online and sometimes end up ”fixing” what we have. My husbands desktop is 7 years old was starting to really crap out so we started looking at replacing it (he needs it for work and runs high functioning drafting programs) instead we took it to a local computer guy, for less than $100 he cleaned it up and added a bunch of memory, that was two years ago and it still works great!
What’s you opinion on refurbished electronics? They concern me…not knowing where they’ve been etc.
I’ve had great experiences with refurbished electronics. Both my original iPod and my new Kindle were refurbished, and they both work great! They usually have the same warranty as the brand new ones and you KNOW they’ve been tested and are guaranteed to work, because that’s typically how refurbished items work.
The trick I use the most to get a good deal is price matching online prices at retail stores like Frys. I love the fact that they will price match Amazon if it is fulfilled by them!
I think slickdeals and also fatwallet list some great deals. I try not to go there too often because I’ll get tempting to buy things that I don’t really need. But it is a great resource to find deals when you’re looking for something.
My concern in the past was I was always thinking that the gadget I buy will be outdated in less that a few weeks. But I have to agree with you. I shouldn’t be thinking about that, but instead I should buy something that will meet my needs and I will be satisfied with the purchase I made.
And you can find trends on what will last and what won’t. Computers can last 5 years if you get current specs on a refurb. Cell phones last two years, and you get upgrade credits at that time. TV’s last a LOT longer. Different life cycles for different technology, just gotta do some research and know what you’re getting in to 🙂
I compare deals and check for the best price deals before I buy.
I’m on your side Jacob. It’s really important to know first your purpose of buying new appliances/electronics so you’ll not be wasting your money. There were stuffs that consumes less electricity so it’s nice to chose that one! Also, research online and read its especs to have a nice decision for the best electronics.