Did you know that technology sales are projected to reach over 135 billion dollars for the 2020 holiday season?
This mind-boggling number likely stems from the ongoing pandemic forcing much of consumers’ lives to become remote, which requires up-to-date technology. Since our lives have gone from tech-centric to tech-reliant these past few months, finding the best technology deals has gone from a nice touch to a matter of surviving monthly expenses.
Want to know how to save money on technology, whether it’s for the holiday season or year-round? Our handy guide will show you how!
Update or Repair
One of the easiest ways to save money or get a deal on technology is not to have to buy new tech at all. Before you decide to purchase something new, you should take some time to make sure your current tech isn’t salvageable.
In some cases, it might be easier and less expensive to repair the product than to replace it whole. This is especially true with desktop computers and higher-end phones or TVs.
You should also keep in mind that most computer issues, such as slow booting, slow processing, or random program closing, are due to software issues or viruses. Only in rare circumstances will your slowdown issue not get resolved by running a system update or antivirus.
If you’ve researched repair costs and tried all you can to salvage the old machine, but there’s nothing for it, then let’s move on to other considerations.
Find Technology Deals on Manufacturer Websites
Retailer mark-ups for products range, on average, between 20 and 40%. That number already sounds ridiculous, but let’s add some context.
Your tech can range between $200-1200, depending on what you’re getting. If we assume a markup of 30%, then that means, for a $700 laptop or phone, you’ll wind up paying $910 for it. That’s before accounting for state or federal taxes!
You can avoid some of this markup if you go to the manufacturer’s website for your computers, phones, or TVs. To find computer deals, you can visit hp.com, lenovo.com, asus.com, acer.com, apple.com, and others. For phones or TVs, this might include lg.com, motorola.com, or samsung.com.
If you’ve checked the manufacturer’s website, but still aren’t happy with the price point you’re seeing, then head on for the next suggestion.
Consider Pre-Owned Devices
We know, we know, you need something up-to-date. “How on earth can you consider a pre-owned device up-to-date tech?”, you might ask.
We’ll let you in on a little secret. Those low-to-mid-range laptops they’re selling in stores for $500 or more? They have the same specs as a high-end laptop from two years back.
You can buy that pre-owned high-end laptop for the same or less than the price of a new one, and we promise, you’ll get much better performance. High-end laptops have more durable bodies, better visual clarity, and better built-in microphones and webcams. Imagine being able to attend your next Zoom meeting without a potato cam and underwater-sounding microphone!
Keep in mind, if you do shop pre-owned, refurbished devices, there is a big difference between manufacturer refurbished and seller refurbished. If something has been refurbished by the manufacturer, you can generally trust its quality. Seller refurbished items are a bit trickier, but check your eBay or Amazon ratings, and you’ll get an idea of how good the seller is.
If you’ve thought it over, but you can’t stand the thought of having something that someone else owned for an extended period, keep reading to the next suggestion.
Open Your Mind to Open-Box
Some might say the difference between pre-owned and open-box is a matter of semantics. There’s a word for those people: Wrong.
Open-box products are items that got purchased by a customer, then promptly returned to the store. Perhaps they tried the device and didn’t like it. Maybe it was too much technology for their tech-illiterate parents or grandparents to handle. They could have found a better deal after purchase.
Whatever the case, these items undergo a thorough inspection upon return. If they pass the inspection, and no defects are found, some retailers offer them for sale as open-box products.
Open-box products usually have all of their component cables and necessary items. The only thing they might lack is an instruction manual. Thank heavens for Google, where you can track down a PDF of that manual for your perusal.
Still can’t stomach the thought of handling a product someone else touched, even once? Let’s explore another option.
Switch Companies or Providers
This connects more with phones than other pieces of tech, but it can be a great way to get some freebies.
By now, you’ve seen the endless commercials from cell phone retailers about how, if you switch to them, they’ll give you a free iPhone. Or commercials from TV services offering free tablets if you swap to their company.
While much of this is slick advertising, “some restrictions apply” lingo, you can get some fantastic, cheap technology deals by switching companies. This holds especially true for cell phones, as the cost of the first month’s service and activation could be well under half the cost of the device at MSRP.
Do your research, and see what tech freebies you can find by swapping companies. However, if that sounds like too much extra work for little benefit, there’s another option.
Browse Online and In-Store Sales
If you’re shopping for new tech close to a holiday, then you’re in luck. Retailers, manufacturers, and online distributors are all competing for your dollar.
The upside of this is that many of these retailers, especially big-box retailers, offer price matching. That means that if you have a preferred retailer, but found the product from a competitor for less, they can match that price.
Even without price matching, these stores try to undercut each others’ prices as much as they are able. So long as you shop around, you’ll find some amazing deals.
Curious about when you’ll find the best cheap technology deals? Our two recommendations would be the Christmas shopping season and back-to-school season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday can give some unbelievable discounts on all technology. Back-to-school sales, by design, help broke highschool and college students get their supplies with stunning desktop computer deals and more.
However, before you head out into the world of tech shopping, let us offer this word of caution:
Search for Value, Not Price
When you’re shopping for the best technology deals on the market, it can be easy to go looking for the lowest amount next to the dollar sign. Remember, you’re looking for the best deal, not the cheapest price.
What can happen if you ignore this advice and only buy based on the bottom line? Well, for starters, your brand new tech might not even work out of the box. The adage “you get what you pay for” absolutely applies to technology.
A cheap price means cheap construction. Cheap construction means it’s made of cheap parts. Cheap parts aren’t built to last, and so, break long before they should.
Getting a brand-new laptop for $250, or a phone for $60, seems like a fantastic deal until you’re back in the store 4 months later for a replacement.
As an addendum to this point:
Buy for Future You
It’s easy to get stuck in thinking about your current needs when buying a piece of tech. Again, that’s all well and good until you have to figure out how to offload a computer or phone that’s either too much or too little device for your new circumstances.
Think about your long-term needs. Are you about to return to university? Do you have kids who might need to use this tech for remote learning? What about business computing for your now-remote work?
That isn’t to say that you should ignore price point and invest in a high-end machine every time. Rather, that you would benefit from future-proofing your personal tech.
The Main Takeaway
Searching for the best technology deals in an oversaturated market can feel overwhelming. However, with our guide, it doesn’t have to be.
First, check if you can update or repair your current tech. Then, check the manufacturers’ websites. Third, look into pre-owned, refurbished, or open-box tech, if you can stomach the thought of not getting something new in the box. Fourth, see what promotions you can find, online, in-store, and switchover.
Remember, wherever you choose to buy your new tech, to examine all avenues, buy for value, and buy for your future. Do that, and no matter how much you pay in the end, you can rest assured that you got the best deal for you.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to read more technology-based content, feel free to check out our blog for more!