Keeping up with the latest technology trends can quickly get expensive. Although being labeled as an early adopter sounds good in practice, it’s a title that definitely comes with a hefty price tag.
But you don’t have to sacrifice anything but time to be a savvy consumer of technology. With a little bit of patience, here’s how to get tech toys cheap.
This is the most boring but practical tip I can give you on how to get your favorite tech toys cheap. But the fact of the matter is that there’s a direct negative correlation between the amount of time you’re willing to wait, and the price of the tech toy you desire.
The best (and most patient) customers wait until the initial release hype is over, sometimes even until the next generation is out. Graciously, multi-generation products (like the Xbox or iPhone) offer some predictability as to how long after release prices are expected to drop.
For new products, you can often count on major shopping holidays (like Black Friday) to score some kind of deal. Brands like Fitbit and Apple rarely discount, but are often sold during shopping holidays with a gift card bonus to department stores like Target. So if you can’t get a discount, at least aim for a useful bonus!
Sellers on eBay are excited about the potential that auction-style bidding provides, which is why they choose to list with this service instead of some of the other options on this list. For buyers, this usually means a low initial bid, with the hopes that a coveted tech toy will spark a bidding war just short of a product’s retail value (or more if there’s some level of scarcity currently in place).
Fortunately, for buyers that wait until a few months after a product’s release, these bidding wars are few and far between. More than likely, you’ll find a listing with a fair “Buy it Now” price that’s cheaper than buying the product new. Numerous purchase protections through eBay will ensure that you’ve got some insurance on a big transaction.
This is different than buying used, because it usually comes with some level of warranty or guarantee from the manufacturer. Apple’s best pricing can be found in it’s refurbished products section, which includes everything from laptops, to tablets, and iPods.
If you’re making a big purchase, it’s nice to know that it’s protected – and that you’re saving several hundred dollars over retail. Of course, it’s important to note that refurbished products are often several months or generations old, which may not be something you want to spend your money on.
Groupon Goods is an excellent general marketplace for finding refurbished tech toys. On top of generally cheap prices, they also frequently offer percentage discounts (rarely over 10%) on their Goods category, in addition to a percentage rebate (usually 6%) through a service called Ebates (learn more about Ebates on my post, “Stop Spending So Much Money Online Shopping”).
Amazon offers discounts on returns/open packages (though generally unused) technology through their Warehouse Deals.
This category for how to get tech toys cheap should be treated with the highest amount of caution. When purchasing used technology, especially at a higher price point, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how that device normally functions, and how to look for warning signs of wear and tear. When purchasing directly from it’s previous owner, you should request photos AND an in-person inspection of physical wear and tear.
Popular places to purchase used technology include:
Caveat emptor! (buyer beware)
Many major technology hardware and software companies offer student discounts that can end up helping you save hundreds of dollars on your favorite tech toys. Some of them employ thorough tactics to verify that you’re a current student, and others are more lax. Use that information as you will.
Technology companies that offer student discounts:
Major Sales Holidays
There are certain times of the year when various categories of technology tend to be on sale, but as a general rule, Black Friday is the day to go crazy and spend money on the tech toys you’ve been saving up for.
A caveat – top deals are usually available at a very limited quantity. If you’re serious about a certain technology purchase, make sure you get to a store as early as possible. Sometimes, these same deals are online. Just do your research!
The common characteristics between these various methods for how to get tech toys cheap center around the idea of patience and strategy. So do some research and try to ignore tempting shiny new things – at least for a little while.
Once you’ve invested in some shiny new tech toy, make sure to protect your investment. If you’re local to Chicago, Barry’s Computer Repair is a service I swear by, referring anyone I know who gets a dreaded cracked screen. Barry’s also offers incredibly inexpensive device insurance – often cheaper and more comprehensive than your provider!
How do you get tech toys cheap?
Share your secrets in the comments!