Are you preparing to buy a first, second, or tenth computer? Whether you’re a power user or a first timer in the digital game, it’s essential to know how to negotiate the computer marketplace in the 2020s. The good news for shoppers is that there are some very simple, non-techie hacks that make acquiring a new machine much less costly and not near as much of a hassle as it once was. Before heading to the mall or visiting your favorite online seller, review the following eight computer buying hacks.
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Know Your Needs
Make an honest list of why you need a computer. Be careful to differentiate between need and want. Digital nomads, professionals who move around and earn from any place on earth, tend to need two or more devices for safety and redundancy. Other professionals prefer to have multiple devices for stock trading, tax preparation, and other tasks that require large quantities of computing power and digital safety. Parents shopping for a simple home system may only be concerned about the best parental control systems and software’s compatible with the device they buy. Assess your needs by making a list of the hours per week you are online or using a device, especially for school or job use.
Apply for a Personal Loan
If you want a new, high-end product, whether for work or personal use, consider applying for a personal loan to cover the upfront cost. Not only are loans a smart way to pay for consumer goods, but they can also help you save big on electronic devices. How? Many merchants offer substantial discounts for buyers who can pay the entire sticker price without store financing. While there are a few 90 days same as cash deals out there, it’s easier to score major savings all at once. But it’s important to understand how personal loans work to get the best deals.
Personal loans are among the most common types of loans out there because the proceeds can be used for any purpose under the sun. Borrowers use the money to do a wide variety of things, including paying off high-interest credit cards, covering the cost of home improvement projects, taking vacations, settling medical bills, etc. Fortunately, there are plenty of lenders available in today’s financial environment, so it’s relatively simple to find one that suits your financial requirements.
But take the time to learn how loans work before applying for one. Review an informative guide that explains all the relevant details about borrowing and discusses the essential differences between personal and other kinds of loans. Finding a reliable lender and getting a reasonable interest rate are other vital parts of the borrowing process. People who want high-end devices or need several laptops for a small business should seriously consider taking out a personal loan.
Leverage Discount Power
In the quest for low prices, sales, discounts, and special deals on electronic goods, patience pays off. Most sellers, particularly independent ones, run seasonal sales. Additionally, the major retailers in the niche use times like Black Friday and other holiday seasons to clear out their inventories. Unless you have an immediate need, watch for sales online and in stores for the next several months. Eventually, most consumers can find machines that cost less than half of standard retail.
Research Current Prices
Never go into a purchase without the most current information. Check the top online retailers who offer various makes and models, both new and refurbished. Get a feel for the prices of peripherals, too, because you’ll likely be wanting a few add-ons. Buyers typically purchase carrying cases, earbuds, wireless mice, extra speakers, and cameras whenever they acquire a new computer. There’s no one-size-fits-all price in the market. Instead, there is a relatively wide range within which high-end devices are at the top and bare-bones units are near the bottom. When you get serious about shopping, review the ranges, and make an estimate of where your item will be on the high-to-low scale.
Get Credit for Your Old Machine
If you are ready to off-load an old device, don’t recycle it or give it away. Instead, trade it in for a newer model. Most sellers are glad to give you credit for the trade-in but don’t sell yourself short. Ask for a specific offer before closing on a deal. Then, go online and see what you can get on second-hand and auction sites. Some retailers will lowball you on a trade-in value, so don’t fall prey to that tactic. Know what your current machine is worth and be ready to ask for a fair trade-in price.
Read Service Contracts Carefully
Never acquire a new electronic device without reading the fine print in the service contract. Of course, never purchase an extended warranty unless you read the original service guarantee and compare it to what the extended warranty offers. In almost all cases, it’s not worth it to purchase extended protection. Also, be aware that some independent and discount sellers offer their items as is, which means without any warranty protection. Refurbs, second-hand, used, and garage sale devices can be a good deal, but like used cars, you won’t get the original manufacturer’s warranty.
Use Trial Periods
Always take advantage of money back periods and free trials. Those few days are the right amount of time to put a new device through the paces and see if it stacks up to your expected usage. Trials are also excellent times to look for flaws and mechanical problems. Use the time wisely. Trial policies and lengths vary widely among major and independent merchants, so be sure to ask before making a purchase. At major retail outlets, get familiar with models by testing display devices. That way, you’ll know what to look for when you unbox the product you take home.
Know Your Seller
Stick with well-known, refurbing specialist whenever possible, unless buying a second-hand device from an individual or refurb specialist. Major outlets like Amazon, Best Buy, and others offer return policies for damaged items or ones that won’t start when you open them. Find out what the store’s policy is for trials, damaged goods, and no questions asked returns before you buy.