Buying a new computer does not need to be stressful. And, if you follow our guide, it does not have to cost as much as you may think! Even people on a limited budget can get the ideal computer or laptop for them. Our 3 tips will help you save money when buying a computer.
When shopping around for a new computer, remember these 3 simple steps to help you save money and get the best computer you can afford.
1. Shop around for best deal
When buying a new computer, you do not always need the latest, fastest most feature rich computer system around! One thing to consider is that whatever new system you buy now, is going to be better than you old system. While you may be tempted to get the latest system with all of the fancy extras, ask yourself if you really need them. If you are just going to be browsing the internet then the fastest graphics card will be of no use. However, a large hard drive to store your photos and music may be a better choice.
If your computer knowledge is limited to turning it on and off, browsing and a certain number of other programs, do not be afraid to ask! You may not know your CPU from your RAM, but anyone can get a basic grasp of the features which make up a computer. By asking questions you will learn a lot about which features are important to you, and you could then get the best deal for your money.
2. Install your own “extras”
One big thing to look out for is that many large retail outlets install a lot of “free” software. While this may sound like a good deal, you will often find that a computer with a lot of programs installed will run slower than a similar one without. A lot of programs installed by the bigger stores are set to run when you turn your computer on. Each of these programs may only use a small amount of processing power, but add too many and your fast new system will be running slower than your current one!
Be aware that some of the programs may also be a trial version, running for 30 or 60 days before you have to pay for them. If you have created documents, images, movies, etc in these programs, you will lose the ability to edit or even view them until you pay for the full license. Often these programs are designed to either track your usage, or offer advertisements when in use or browsing.
You can often find unrestricted and fully featured alternatives without the hidden “extras” online, or by talking to the store. Many local computer specialists build their own brand of computer systems and load the bare minimum of software onto them. While this may seem like less of a bargain, you will often find that it will work out better in the long run as you can tailor the system to your exact requirements.
3. Don’t buy extended warranty
This is the biggest part of buying a computer. What most people do not realise is that technology moves so fast that what was top end this year is low end in a couple of years. With computer systems most problems occur within the first few months, while the standard warranty is still in effect. Or long after the warranty has ended when it is much cheaper to replace a component or the whole system.
You may find that the extended warranty has limitations on what it covers, such as not covering batteries is mobile devices, or the CPU (the main brain of a computer) if it has been damaged due to overheating, as an example. This reduces the effectiveness of the extended warranty. If you are offered an extended warranty, ask questions about what it covers and, more importantly, what it does not cover.
You may be able to negotiate a lower price for the extended warranty, but this is less common as the store is only often just acting as a broker for the company who actually holds the extended warranty cover.
For those who have an unlimited budget, you are lucky in that you will end up with a system to be proud of. Most people, however, have a certain budget they need to stick to. Try to decided on how much you would like to spend, and then work out how much you can afford to spend. Try to aim somewhere in the middle.
Always try to keep the price down as much as possible, without compromising to much on the system performance. Make sure that you are buying a system which fits your needs, without going too far over the top.
One final note, no matter which system you buy, be aware that at some point it will fail. Make sure that you have an adequate backup solution in place so that when disaster strikes your documents are safe.
Hope you find these tips helpful, and happy computer shopping!