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How to Be a Smart Electronics Shopper

It’s hard to imagine life today without all of the electronics we now take for granted. Most of us work on computers, play games on our smartphones, read books on our Kindles/tablets, and enjoy the instant access all of these devices allow us.

Most families spend a lot of money on buying electronics for the kids and adults alike, and it can be quite a costly endeavor if you don’t know how to shop for electronics the smart way. Here are some tips to help you save big on your next electronics purchase:

  1. Use the internet – Did you know that you can get great devices at a fraction of what you’d pay for an iMac, iPhone, iPod, or iPad? You’ll find that there are many excellent budget smartphones, MP3 players, laptops, and tablets available from competing brands. All you need to do is look! Do a Google search for “best budget______(device of choice)”, and you’ll get a list of results that will help you buy quality devices at a much lower cost.
  2. Buy it at the right time of year -- Just like with any other product, there is a RIGHT time of year to buy electronics. Computers are cheapest in July, and you’ll find that many computer companies offer great deals every week on Monday. March is the best time of year to buy TVs, as that is the end of the fiscal year for most TV retailers. To buy cellphones, always shop in February to take advantage of Valentine’s Day “2 for 1″ deals.
  3. Find the best price -- If you already know what you want, it’s a good idea to search for the best prices–both offline and online. Head to your local Best Buy or Fry’s Electronics, and ask about deals on the items you want. Use the Invisible Hand web browser extension, as that will give you the best deals on items you are considering buying online. Sites like CamelCamelCamel will track prices and will let you know when the price drops low enough for you to consider buying.
  4. Search Craigslist -- If you want to pay far below market value and don’t NEED your electronics to be brand spanking new, Craigslist can be the place to go. Many people do a brisk trade re-selling used electronics, but most of them are still in good condition. Definitely worth checking out your local Craigslist ads to see what electronics are for sale.
  5. Buy Refurbished or Out-of-Box – Refurbished items are almost as good as brand new, but at a steeply marked down price. Apple is famous for offering refurbished devices at a great price (as much as 35% down), and you’ll find that many refurbished deals have no issues at all. Of course, there may be the occasional problem with refurbished and out-of-box deals, such as dents, scratches, missing items, or no warranties. Always read the fine print to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
  6. Use your discount -- Are you a student? Apple offers up to $200 discount on select items for students, as well as for teachers. If you have an .edu account, you can save as much as $150 on electronics when shopping at best buy. Students can often save big when shopping at Microsoft. Teachers may also get excellent discounts if they KNOW WHERE TO LOOK.
  7. Trade it in -- Got old electronics you are no longer using? Many manufacturers are encouraging trade-ins to reduce the amount of electronic waste generated by their consumers. Sites like Flipsy allow you to determine how much your old electronics are worth, and you can always look into trading the electronics in with the manufacturer in exchange for a discount on your next purchase. Even Amazon offers a trade-in program worth checking out.


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