7 Ways to Save Money When Buying a Computer

Tips for purchasing a PC on a budget

Woman in Retail Computer Store looking at laptops

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The price ranges for laptops and desktop PCs vary widely, but there are a few ways to save money on computer purchases. There are many things to consider before buying a PC, so once you've decided how powerful your PC need to be, you can compare prices between comparable systems.

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Buy a Slightly Older Model

New models of the same device are often released every few months. In general, new products add some improvements to the overall performance, capacity, and features, but the improvements are usually minimal. Since most manufacturers and retailers make their highest margins by selling these new systems, they sell previous models at a discount to clear inventory space for the new ones. You can buy a computer with roughly the same specs as a newer model for half as much.

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Buy a Refurbished Laptop or Desktop PC

Refurbished products are either returns or units that failed initial quality control checks and had to be rebuilt, so manufacturers sell them at discounted rates. A typical refurbished laptop or desktop computer can be 5-25% less than the standard retail price. There are several important factors to consider when purchasing a refurbished system including warranties, who rebuilt it, and if the discount is less than what the equivalent new system costs.

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Purchase a System With Less RAM and Upgrade It

Buying a computer with a minimum memory configuration and upgrading the RAM might be less expensive than buying a newer, more powerful PC. This is an especially good idea for premium brands or performance class systems. Manufacturers buy computer memory in bulk, which means that they may be stuck with large inventories they need to sell at a discount.

Some computers, such as Chomebooks and ultrabooks, have fixed memory that can not be upgraded.

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Build Your Own PC

High-performance systems for PC gaming are significantly marked up for consumers, so building a desktop computer from parts can save you literally hundreds of dollars. You can also build custom laptops from a white box chassis, but it's often cheaper to purchase a budget laptop.

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Upgrade an Existing PC

If you already have a desktop or laptop, it may make more sense to upgrade it with new parts rather than buying an entirely new system. The feasibility of upgrading rather than replacing depends upon a variety of factors such as the age of the computer, how much access the user has to install upgrades, and the overall costs to make the upgrades compared to a new purchase. In general, desktop computers are better suited towards upgrades than laptops. Solid state drives are an excellent example of how to make an older computer feel a lot faster.

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Search for Coupons and Rebates

When ordering a computer online, keep an eye out for digital coupons on the website. Companies like coupons because people tend to forget about them and buy items at full price, so it's always a good idea to see if there is some sort of discount code available. Like coupons, rebate offers are extremely popular with technology companies because the majority of consumers don't bother filling out the paperwork required to get cash.

Use the Honey browser extension to search the web for coupon codes at checkout.