With people spending more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, lots of us have been seeking out new technology to tide us over until the lockdown ends. Whether you need a new laptop to facilitate working from home, or are just in the market for a home entertainment desktop or gaming computer, the costs can easily stack up.
Even despite the excitement that surrounds getting your hands on some new tech, there’s no denying that times are tough. Not everyone can afford to spend out on a laptop or PC at the moment, and financial issues could make for an awkward topic of discussion if your work or school are wanting you to upgrade so you can keep up with your obligations.
To keep costs low, here are some of the very best ways to avoid paying over the odds for a new computer.
1. Stick with what you need
In years gone by, it made sense to always buy the very best computer you could afford. Processing power was low, and desktops were generally expected to last longer than a couple of years.
These days, you don’t need the top model to be able to function with new software and there are plenty of budget options available that will cope with everyday tasks just fine. Ultimately, unless you need an absolute beast for video editing or complex gaming applications, you don’t need to be shelling out for the best of the best.
2. Don’t be an easy upsell
It’s sometimes easier said than done, but it helps to be aware of the hype that salespeople drum up. Much like car salesmen, the employees of major tech stores are trained to talk customers into paying for more expensive models and all the add-on packages you could ever dream of.
Obviously it would be nice to afford the best-in-class gaming laptop they’re trying to sell you, but if you’re just going to be taking notes and browsing social media, there’s simply no need for anything more than a standard laptop. Don’t take what they say as gospel, and always be sure to do your own research before committing to a purchase.
3. Avoid software bundles
More often than not, laptops and computers come with the option of paid extras such as Microsoft Office and any one of the major virus protection software suites.
While it is true that software bundled with a computer is generally cheaper than programmes purchased on a standalone basis, most people are unlikely to need what’s on offer and there are free alternatives online anyway.
At the end of the day, ask yourself whether you actually need that all singing, all dancing software package. If you’ll actually use it, go for it. If it’s just a pleasant added extra, leave it.
4. Skip out on extended warranties
While there are times when you absolutely should insure and protect your tech to the maximum extent, extended warranties are often a costly waste of time.
As a rule of thumb, computers that don’t fail during a regular or statutory period of warranty are fairly likely to outlast the extended warranty period too. It’s also the case that many firms resist claims made against extended warranties and so you could end up with a struggle on your hands despite having paid extra to avoid that exact issue.
It’s worth remembering that extended warranty coverage is unlikely to ever actually be used. Sure, you may have to shoulder the cost of a replacement if the worst does happen, but you can almost bet on your computer being fine.
5. Don’t think you need the latest model
Much like cars and mobile phones, computers are constantly updated with new models. Producers release new, upgraded, and incrementally better versions of their hardware every single year – but that doesn’t mean that your existing tech is obsolete, or that the one-year-old model sat on the sales counter is any worse.
The key word to think about here is incrementally. The new models are rarely that different from their predecessors, and the average user is extremely unlikely to notice the nuanced changes that have been made to the processor or graphics card.
Checking outlet stores both online and in-person could help you to avoid the temptation of buying the shiny new models that just so happen to come with an inflated price tag – saving you cash whilst securing a brand-new computer.
Covering the cost
Even when you’re saving money by deploying the tips above, new computers can be prohibitively expensive. Luckily there are still options available for tech enthusiasts who can’t afford to stump up for a new computer upfront. There are even loans for bad credit borrowers can access, so you can get your hands on the tech you need, when you need it.
Whatever gadget, gizmo, laptop or computer you’re looking for, remember to shop around, seek out deals, and avoid expensive packages disguised as time-limited discounts. There’s no doubt it can be tricky, but all the work will be worth it when you have a new computer and a bank account that’s still in the black.