No matter what you’re studying, it’s important to find the right computer for your educational needs – and one you can afford. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by all of the options, but remember: There are deals to be had. Here are a few tips that can help you save big when shopping for a computer.
Shop online and in store
Shopping around is the easiest and most important step you can take to save money when shopping for a computer. Start online with retailers like Amazon.com or Newegg.com to get an idea of what you might expect to pay for a particular computer, and then head to a retailer near you to try it out for yourself. Once you’ve found the computer you want, check as many sources as possible to find the best price.
Take advantage of specials
Computer shopping can also be a bit like car shopping: You can save a lot of money if you don’t necessarily need the newest model. Shop after the latest (and most expensive) computers are released, then look for an older model that still meets your needs. But before you buy, check with your college or university – many offer special discounts for students. Some retailers do the same, so don’t hesitate to ask when you find the computer you want.
Factor accessories into your budget
If you have $800 to spend on a computer, it’s probably not a good idea to purchase a $799 model. Consider the accessories and peripherals you’ll need for school and budget for those. Will you need a printer? What about a word processing program? You might consider buying an external hard drive for more storage or a locking security cable to keep your laptop from getting stolen.
Don’t pay for extras you don’t need
It might be nice to have a Blu-ray burner on your new computer, but would you really use it enough to justify the cost? Don’t get hung up on the extras like a premium sound system, unnecessary software or advanced graphics, particularly if you plan to use your computer for simpler functions, like writing and researching for school.
Consider a refurbished model
Refurbished computers often perform just as well as new computers – and at a drastically lower price. Some refurbished models have minor cosmetic flaws that you may be able to overlook. Others might have simply needed a faulty part repaired. Talk to the sales associate to find out what repairs or improvements were made and whether a refurbished model would be right for you. You might find a great deal.
Explore all of your options to find the best bargain on a computer and you’ll be ready to conquer even your most difficult classes. Just don’t spend all of your time browsing Facebook on your new toy.