Ah, electronics, the basis of much of modern society. Given how important they are to most people nowadays, you can see how many people spend a lot of money to purchase such electronics, and how such purchases are increasingly seen as ‘needs’, rather than wants, by the typical person. (Just how accurate such a view is a subject for another post, although it’s worth noting that you probably don’t need the newest and most expensive electronics just to get things done in life.)
Of course, as with any area with expensive items, there’s more than a little bit of opportunity for you to cut your spending while still buying enough to stay close to the front of the curve, taking care of both personal and business energy management. I don’t imagine that there is much I can do to get you from not wanting high level electronics for your home or business (heck, I’m writing this article on a three month-old laptop my fiancee got me for my birthday, so I’m in no position to throw stones when it comes to buying new technology), but you should try to cut down the costs. Some ways you can do so include:
1. Asking for a Discount: Simple, but sometimes quite effective; it is possible to ask for deductions on your major electronics purchases and actually receive them. There are some ways to improve your odds: shop at independent stores, where owners have more ability to change prices, make sure you are speaking to someone with the power to make such a discount, and be reasonable with the discounts you seek. A good way to do the latter is to look up the prices being charged by other nearby stores, so you have an idea of what you can expect as a minimum (add in the fact that many stores will match the best prices of their competitors, and it’s a pretty solid place to start your research).
2. Don’t Buy the Newest and Best: One of the surest ways to cost yourself more on electronics than you need to spend is buy new electronics as soon as they are released. If you want to save money, you can generally just wait a few months (a year or two, tops, in most cases) for a new version of the electronics to become available, or at least, for the price to be lower as the sales organizations attempt to make more sales and clear out their inventory. You can end up saving quite a bit of money, while only being a bit behind on the technology curve. On that note…
3. Consider (Carefully) Buying Used Items: Given the number of new electronics that come out each year, the rate at which updated versions of electronics are released (there have been four versions of the iPhone since its release in 2007, for one example), and of course, the number of people who simply must have the freshest and newest technology, and there’s usually quite an assortment of barely used electronics available for purchase, online and off. There are some risks to buying used items (particularly through sources like Craigslist, where you cannot examine the item yourself before purchase), but it remains possible to buy electronics at a fraction of the price if you don’t mind buying them gently used.
(A side note: if you opt to sell your electronics used, please be sure to clear out any information you don’t want the next owner to see. There are more than a few stories of people finding pornographic or other personal material on used computers, and the last thing you want is to wind up in a story like this. Just an issue to consider, unless you want to wind up in this sort of story in the future.)
4. Skip the Extended Warranty: With electronics in particular, you will be offered extended warranties on almost everything you try to buy. As a general rule, they aren’t worth the cost. Most manufacturers offer warranties that should cover the first few months (or years) of use, and many retailers and credit cards offer their own coverage for the first few years after purchase (American Express is particularly noted for their coverage). While you should do your own research into the particular product to see if an extended warranty is worthwhile, as a general rule, you’ll be better off paying for repairs as needed for quality electronics.
There you go, a few pieces of advice on how to save money while you purchase your electronics and enjoy the advantages of the Information Age!