Let’s face it: modern technology is expensive. Upgrades are available every year, and every year, you end up wondering if you need to upgrade – or if you can afford it.
Getting can keep your tech running at full speed without emptying your bank account. Make sure that you’re being careful and making smart choices so that you know you’re getting reliable products as appropriate prices.
There are plenty of websites offering great deals on electronics, but how can you tell which deals are legitimate, and which ones are just designed to steal your money for an inferior product?
These tricks will help you avoid paying more than you should for electronics and tech.
Before you slap down your hard earned cash for any electronics, you should make sure you’ve looked at the price at several different retailers. You can manually go from store to store (or website to website), but tools like can help you find discount deals from several different retailers, letting you find the best price. That said, always make sure to check out the retailer and make sure you’re buying from a company you trust.
With technology in particular, products go in cycles. Companies announce the new flagship phone at roughly the same time every year, for example. As the new phone becomes available, the old phone – which is usually almost as good – drops in price as . If you don’t care about having the latest and greatest item, then you can potentially get a really good deal.
With laptops and computers, cycles are a little less clear. Generally, new products are based around new processors, rather than specific launch cycles. Watch for news on companies like Intel and AMD to see what they’re doing; if rumors of new tech are circulating, then you may be able to get a deal on what’s already out there.
Many companies – like Best Buy, Newegg, or Amazon – sell some electronics as refurbished or “open box.” What exactly this means varies by company, but the concept is the same; the product was purchased, opened or used, and then returned. Most companies go through a quick certification process to verify that the item is still in working order, and then they resell it.
This is a great deal for the company, because they still make some money off something they would otherwise have to discard, and it can be a great deal for you if you’re comfortable buying something that has already seen light use.
One useful tool when you’re looking for deals on products is to watch its price over time. If you’re steadily watching a particular item, that may be easy to see on your own, but if you just started shopping for a TV today, it’s a little trickier.
Psychologically, that “50% off” label tempts all of us; this is why marketers use it. But too often, companies jack prices way up before discounting something by 50%; they make exactly the same amount of money, but you’re now way more likely to buy. Amazon’s Prime Day is notorious for this.
So how do you confirm that the price you’re looking at really is a discount from the regular retail price?
Start by looking at the manufacturer’s website. Many times, the manufacturer is going to list a higher price than retailers, but it will still give you a rough idea of the appropriate retail price. Using sites like Google Shopping and CamelCamelCamel can also tell you if the price has risen sharply in the recent past, which can give you a clue as to what’s happening.
Many different websites are working to eliminate falsified reviews, but it’s hard work. Even verified reviews can easily be faked. As a consumer, therefore, it’s important to know how to read reviews and find ones that tell you what you need to know about a product, especially if it looks like a great discount deal. You want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
For the most part, five star reviews that say “I loved it!” and one star reviews that say “I hated it!” are pretty useless to you if you really want to know what a product is about. Look for more detailed reviews that dive into specifications and function to make sure the reviewer knows what they’re looking for, and look for reviews that line up with what you need from an item.
Don’t forget to make sure that the website or dealer themselves are reputable. After all, anyone can toss up a website in just minutes these days; you can use tools like the Better Business Bureau to learn if a company has had any complaints filed against them in the past. Local companies can be reviewed on Yelp or on Google.