Buying a computer can be costly. If you want to save money buying a computer, it is a good idea to look at all the options before heading out to the shops.
Here at CashLady, we have come up with some tips and tricks that could help you to save money when you are buying your next computer.
Make a budget – and stick to it
It may seem obvious, but make sure you have a budget in mind before you start shopping. Many people start to look at what is out there before setting themselves a budget. By doing this, you could end up spending more money on features that you do not actually need.
Going computer shopping without a budget is like going to the supermarket hungry. You could end up spending more on treats that you did not need in the first place.
Think about what you actually need
When computers first came out to the consumer market, they were expensive and required constant upgrading. More and more software was released all the time that the hardware you had bought could no longer cope with.
Today, all computers and laptops are able to run most of the software that is available to buy. They are also much more able to cope with new releases.
To save money buying a computer or laptop, think about what you will use it for. Unless you are a professional video editor or gamer, you are may not need the most expensive computer with the highest spec.
What software do you need?
Some computers are more expensive because of the amount of software they come with. If you were going to buy all that software anyway, you may be saving money by getting it as a package with the computer.
If you do not need the software and are never going to use it, then you could be wasting money. This is because you may be paying more for a computer that has a vast amount of software on it.
Look into different software options. There are other alternatives to Microsoft Office such as the free Open Office.
What hardware do you need?
As with software, you can save money by only buying what you need. Ask yourself if you need that extra 100GB of space or whether you could store things on an external hard drive.
The same goes for Apple Macs. If you are not a video or graphics editor, you could end up paying much more than you need to, compared to the price of a PC.
Is it best to get a desktop or a laptop?
As a rule of thumb, laptops are more expensive than desktops with the same spec. This is because laptop parts are much smaller and cost more to produce.
If you have a set budget, you are likely to get more memory and better processors on a desktop. A similar laptop is likely to cost more. But, it again comes back to what you will use your computer for.
If you are only going to use it for things such as word processing and internet browsing, you do not necessarily need the most powerful computer. You may be better off with a cheaper one.
If portability is important to you, then it may be better to go for a laptop. If getting a more powerful computer for a set budget is your priority, then you may be better off going for a desktop computer.
Should you just buy a tablet instead?
Some people choose to buy a tablet instead of a desktop or laptop.
Tablets are generally not as powerful as laptops. If you are looking for something with a range of software choices that you can multitask on, you may be better off with a laptop.
Tablets are generally cheaper than laptops. So if you are happy with some of the restrictions that tablets have compared to laptops, tablets could actually be the budget option.
Many laptops, computers, and tablets come with a manufacturers’ warranty. You can save money buying a computer by not paying more for extended warranties. Usually, if a computer does not go wrong in the included manufacturers’ warranty, it probably will not go wrong after.
Extended warranties are expensive additions to your budget that you do not necessarily need.
When is the best time to buy a computer?
Black Friday offers some good discounts that can allow you to save money buying a computer. Do your research beforehand so that you know which model you want to buy on the day. This way you are less likely to spend more on more expensive computers or laptops that you do not need.
Many online and high street retailers offer sales throughout the year. You can save money buying a computer by deciding which computer/s you want and waiting for it to go into the sale. There are even some websites, such as Notifyy, which will notify you when any items you have added are reduced in price.
Do not think that you need to buy the latest model
New models with larger price tags are released regularly and are sometimes like the older models they are replacing.
Older models are often sold off in sales, allowing you to get what you need for less.
Check the specifications of any new models against cheaper, older models. Consider whether you really need to spend the extra money.
Save money buying a computer by building your own machine
By building your own PC you can make big savings. This is especially true if you want a more high performance computer for video editing or gaming. If you only want a basic machine for checking your emails or word processing, the savings are not as big.
Building your own PC can save you money but does take some research. If you want to know more about building your own PC, PC Advisor have a good article to help get you started.
Save money buying a computer by buying refurbished machines
Many manufacturers offer you the opportunity to buy refurbished machines at lower costs than new machines.
Refurbished machines are generally machines that are sent back to manufacturers by customers. They are then rebuilt by the manufacturer. Even Apple have a part of their website that sells their refurbished machines.
Refurbished machines can be machines that customers have simply sent back because they have changed their minds. Not necessarily because there was anything wrong with them. Many refurbished machines will go through stringent tests after being rebuilt.
Be aware that refurbished machines sometimes do not come with the same warranty protections as new ones. Although many do.
Chromebooks could be a good budget option
If you do not want to build your own machine or buy a refurbished computer, Chromebooks can offer big savings to people looking to buy computers.
A Chromebook is a laptop that runs on Google’s Chrome OS, instead of Windows 10 or Mac OS X.
There is one main difference between these machines and machines that run Windows or Mac operating systems. This is that they are designed to be used while connected to the internet. This is because many of your documents and applications will not live in the computer – they will live in the cloud.
Chromebooks are cheaper than other laptops because they do not have lots of storage. Many apps on Chromebooks will not work if you are not in wi-fi.
If you are mainly in wi-fi range when you use your computer, Chromebooks offer good value for money.
Note down what you will use your computer for and set a budget for your purchase before you go shopping or start browsing online.
By having a full understanding of what you will need your new computer to do, you can save yourself a great deal of money. This is because you will not be paying for software or hardware that you do not need.
Do not be sucked in by new models. You can save money buying a computer that is an older model.
Refurbished computers are usually available from big manufacturers at big discounts.
If you are more tech savvy and need a higher spec computer, you could save money by building your own.
Always in wifi and used to Google applications? There are big savings to be had by buying a Chromebook rather than a MacBook Air or a laptop operating Windows.
The key to saving money when you are buying a computer is to understand what you will use it for and what hardware and software that means it will need to have. Many, if not all, modern computers and laptops are more than enough for general use such as word processing and internet surfing.