Just because something is high tech doesn’t mean it has to be high-priced. But getting the lowest price on a laptop, tablet, game console or camera isn’t an easy task when fluctuating prices obscure the best deals.
There’s a number of ways to save on that camera on your wish list or the laptop you were looking to buy as a holiday gift. Here are six tips to ensure you’re getting the best deal when shopping for gadgets online:
Check Multiple Websites
It’s not the easiest method, but finding a deal may involve a little virtual legwork by checking out multiple store websites. If you know exactly what you want, you can streamline the process by using Google’s shopping section, which aggregates a number of retailers into one place and provides price estimates including shipping and tax.
Just because a website says something is 50 percent off doesn’t always mean you’re getting the best discount, since many tend to use the original retail price as the starting point and ignore manufacturer price drops.
Get The Newsletter
Chances are your inbox is already full with work emails, shipping notifications and that annoying chain letter your relative keeps forwarding. So adding another email you may or may not read to the pile isn’t necessarily the ideal proposition for tech bargain hunters. But those lists often contain coupon codes you wouldn’t otherwise get.
This approach ensures you have the most recent coupons and bargains in your hands before the items sell out. Set up email filters to send those deals to a specific folder or label in your preferred email client.
There’s A Coupon For Anything
Even if you think you’re getting a great deal on that new camera, laptop or hard drive, you may stand to save even more if you spend a few minutes searching for a coupon code. You can try the search engine method of “store name + coupon code” and sort results by the most recent ones available, or visit a websites dedicated to posting coupons, such as RetailMeNot.
Use Corporate, Student Discounts
Depending on where you work or go to school, you may be able to get corporate or student discounts. For example, Amazon offers a 6-month free trial of its Prime service to students. Some employers have agreements for corporate discounts with Lenovo and Dell if you’re looking to save on a new computer, as well as mobile phone and service plan discounts.
Go Refurbished Or Used
Not purchasing a device brand-new can save you big dollars, especially if you’re in the market for a laptop or other pricey gadget. Apple offers refurbished Macs, iPads, iPods and Apple TVs at a fraction of their original price. And they come with a one-year warranty, which can be extended through AppleCare.
Though stock can vary day to day, purchasers of refurbished Macs also have the chance of receiving a “silent upgrade” or a higher spec device than originally ordered, as noted by several Reddit posters.
If you’re loyal to a particular brand and one of your gadgets has finally failed, check for a manufacturer’s loyalty program. For example, Canon has an unadvertised loyalty program, where you can save an additional 20 percent on a refurbished DSLR camera in exchange for sending back a broken Canon DSLR or select Canon point-and-shoot cameras.
The same rule can apply to video games. You don't need to spend 60 bucks for every new game that hits the market. Instead, keep an eye on Amazon or GameStop for used-game deals. A week or two after a game's release you'll often see copies on sale for around 60 percent of the original price.
Wait For A Better Market
Waiting on a purchase can yield better savings than just buying a product on sale. If you’re looking for a new hard drive, solid-state drive or memory card, be aware that prices fluctuate considerably due to supply and demand of components. SSD purchasers can get an idea of current prices by using sites such as Dramexchange, which track SSD street prices as well as market prices for various types of flash memory.