Using Coupons to Get a Computer for Less

How Manufacturer and Store Coupons Can Save on Your Next PC

Woman clipping coupons
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Most people think of coupons as something that you use at a grocery store and clip out of a newspaper or receive in a mailer every week. Coupons have become much more high tech thanks to online shopping. Simple codes added in at the time of purchase can add up to large savings. But is it really possible to find coupons for items like computer gear?

Coupon Codes

The most common type of coupon that can be used for buying a computer or computer related products is a coupon code from a manufacturer or a retailer.

Typically it is either a code or word that is entered into a box during the checkout process. The codes can range from free shipping, discounts for a specific product or even a general discount. They are very easy to use and can be found quite readily online and many times on the site that the products are being purchased.

Coupon codes generally fall into two categories: general and limited use. A general coupon is one that is advertised that anyone can use at any time during the promotion period. These tend to be codes such as free shipping or general discounts for a fixed amount or slight percentage off the final price. These are readily available and generally promoted by online retailers.

Limited use coupon codes are very different. Generally these are released by a store to a select group or people or area of their site. What makes them limited is that they have a fixed number of uses before the coupon code will no longer function.

Often, these coupons can provide the greatest levels of discounts on specific models of computers or products. They are much more difficult to find as they tend to be hidden by the retailer or sent out only to previous customers. Their limited number of uses can also mean that by the time you elect to use it, it has expired providing no savings at all.

Printed Coupons

While coupon codes are the most prevalent of the coupons available for use with computer products, printed coupons are still available. These are generally offered only by retailers and not from the manufacturers. In addition, the printed coupons are typically for a specific model or brand of computer only. This is typically done by the retailer as a means to clear out inventory of a specific model that they have too many units of or is discontinued. Such offers are generally made by club stores, outlets and during select seasonal shopping times.

Read the Fine Print

As with any type of coupon, there are generally restrictions placed upon the coupon to prevent the retailer or manufacturer for being harmed by the coupon. The most common type of restriction on a coupon is to limit the number of items that may be purchased with the coupon. They also like to restrict coupons from being used for certain types of products. A common restriction is excluding heavier or larger products from free shipping deals. Similarly, general discounts might exclude certain classes of products.

Where to Find Coupons

The easiest method of finding coupons is to check with the manufacturer of a product if they do direct sales.

An example of this would be checking Dell's web site for any specific offers they have on products. Often times, the web sites have a special page devoted to these offers with the pages using titles such as "Deals", "Specials" or "Offers". Some sites even will tell or automatically use coupon codes when an item is being purchased. This of course is generally the best method to use if you are already decided on buying a product from a specific company.

Another method of searching for coupons is to use an aggregator site that collects coupon codes and offers from a wide variety of retailers. These sites are more effective for comparing deals from a variety of retailers or even manufacturers to try and get the best deal available.

About.com has its own site on coupon that maintains a page specifically regarding computer and computer related coupons.

The final method is to sign up for newsletters from a retailer or manufacturer. Often time they send out weekly newsletters that detail the various special offers they have including coupon codes that can be used for specific products. The downside to this is that it can be difficult to get unsubscribed from the mailing list after you have purchased the product an no longer wish to receive their offers.

Regardless of how you get a coupon, using such offers can be an excellent and fast way to get some significant savings on a desktop, laptop, monitor or peripheral products.