We technophiles picked an expensive hobby to pursue, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cut a few corners. Here are the best ways to save money on tech without taking a step down in quality.
10. Skip the Extended Warranty
Every time you go to buy a gadget, no matter how big or small, you’ve probably been asked whether you want to buy an extended warranty or other form of insurance. Not only will these increase the cost of the product, but they just aren’t always worth it. If you’re particularly clumsy and tend to break things, go for it—but otherwise, you’re probably better off creating your own extended warranty fund, which will save you more money in the long run. Alternatively, if you have a good credit card, you probably already get an extended warranty just for buying the product, so check up on your credit card rewards before you buy.
9. Reconsider the Contract
When you buy a new phone or tablet, you can often get a pretty big discount if you buy it at the start of a new contract. However, looks can be deceiving: you’re probably paying more in the long run because you signed that two year contract. That contract has its perks, but if you want to save some money, try looking into prepaid plans instead. In some cases, they can save you over $ 1000.
8. Don’t Assume Expensive = Quality
Sometimes, you’re just paying for a name brand—or worse, snake oil. Do your research before you shop and make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck. Skip the $ 40 HDMI cables, the expensive Apple chargers, and other overpriced products that don’t work any better than the cheap versions. Often, the generic brands are going to be just as good for a fraction of the cost.
7. Buy Refurbished
If you’re in the market for a new laptop, phone, or other gadget—particularly if it’s a model that’s been out for a little while—buying refurbished is one of the cheapest way to save some cash. Refurbished products are just as good as new products, since they’ve gone through rigorous testing and inspection to make sure they’re up to standard. Just make sure you buy straight from the manufacturer or a reputable dealer, and look for that “factory certified” label to make sure they’re reliable.
6. Snag Some Discounts
You can shave a few bucks off your bill from all sorts of places. See if you can get discounts through your job’s benefits provider, or get a student discount (even if you aren’t a student anymore). You can also check out sites like RetailMeNot that may have coupons for your tech store of choice, which can be pretty handy.
5. Wait Until the Right Time
As with all things, prices on tech fluctuate throughout the year. Depending on what you’re buying, there may be a specific month where those prices are always low. You can also use price tracking tools and other tricks to make sure you’re getting that device at a low price. Heck, some people even have luck with ordering over the phone at the end of the month, depending on where you’re buying. If you’re patient, you can probably save some money without doing anything else.
4. Sell Your Old Stuff for As Much As Possible
The better you take care of your current gadgets, the more money you can get back for them when it’s time to upgrade. And the more money you get back, the less you’ll spend on the next big thing. Check out “>our guide to selling your gadgets online for the best tips on making your money back. If you play your cards right, you can even upgrade to the next iPhone for free.
3. Hack It for Better Bang for Your Buck
Why pay more for the premium product when you can get its features for free on a less expensive version? Put your DIY skills to work and squeeze every ounce of power out of the cheap version. Overclock your processor and video card, root your Android phone (or root your dumbed-down tablet like the Kindle Fire), add extra features to your point-and-shoot or DSLR camera, or turn that $ 60 into a $ 600 router. Image remixed from Nataliia Natykach (Shutterstock).
2. Do Your Research
When it’s time to buy a new piece of tech, you have a lot of things to consider—and if you don’t do your research beforehand, you could end up with something much more expensive than you actually need (heck, sometimes buying two computers is actually cheaper than buying one). Whether you’re buying a laptop, mouse and keyboard, a camera, or even a pair of headphones, make sure you brush up on the current crop before you go out and buy. Buying the right product for your needs will ensure you won’t waste money.
1. Get Off the Upgrade Treadmill
Sometimes, we upgrade to a new device because our old one stops working, or our needs change. Other times—as much as we don’t like to admit it—we upgrade just because we need the newest, shinest gadget around. There are strategic ways to do this, but if you really want to save some money, the best way is to stop upgrading so often. Compare what you have with what you need, and use the above tips to make the most out of what you already use. With the right introspection, it should be easy to get off the upgrade treadmill and stop wasting money on new tech. Image remixed from Diamond_Images (Shutterstock).