Many of you have been responding to the latest poll with requests for more tips about how to save money, and since many of you may have summer computer purchases coming up I thought now would be a good time to start discussing how to save on those big-ticket purchases!
Desktop or Laptop?
Last summer I debated the pros & cons of bringing a laptop to college, but I didn’t really touch on the financial perspective. In many ways, though a laptop will probably be more popular with your student, a good desktop could be a better investment–it all depends on how it will be used.
For taking notes in class and general portability, clearly a laptop can’t be beat. However, if your student is looking for a computer with a lot of power (for graphic design, gaming, etc.) a desktop may be a better choice. Unlike laptops, desktop PCs can be easily upgraded to have more disc drives and ports, higher memory, and more RAM, all of which could make them last longer. Plus, they are usually less expensive to begin with.
Shop, Shop, Shop
Start shopping around using websites like www.shopper.com or www.pricegrabber.com to search for some of the lowest prices on the computer you want. Don’t jump to purchase a piece of equipment without doing a good solid price comparison!
Also, as we get further into summer you will probably notice more electronic stores and computer suppliers (like Dell and Mac) having big sales to attract the incoming freshman who need new computers. Watch their websites for lower prices and included freebies, like free printers.
And don’t forget to check with the college your child will be attending. Many colleges have deals worked out with computer suppliers to offer deep discounts to their students. My son got a great price on a Mac Book from the university he is attending.
If you’re planning to buy online, combine the sale prices you find with online coupon codes. Start by checking sites like www.RetailMeNot.com for coupon codes for Dell, Mac, etc. Don’t forget to Google “Coupon Code” + the name of the computer or store! You may be able to combine multiple coupon codes with an online sale for a really good deal!
Skipping the Extras… For Now
Companies like Dell allow you to customize your computer with bigger speakers, a Microsoft Office Suite, and other add-ons, but you may not be getting the best deal. Search sites like:
- www.Frys.com for deals and rebates on anti-virus software (sometimes free after rebate!),
- www.AcademicSuperStore.com or www.CampusTech.com for student discounts on software, and
- www.Ebay.com for peripherals like speakers, extra drives & ports, etc.
All the best,
photo by arinas74