When you’re in the market for a new computer, camcorder, tablet, or other electronics, make sure you’re getting the best deal for that big-ticket purchase. While you can wait until the holiday sales and clearance events to get some good deals on those gadgets and electronics you’ve been eyeing all year, there are some other ways to pay less than the retail price for those in-demand items. Setting a budget before you start shopping will help you narrow down your search and could even prevent you from overspending. Knowing exactly what you want—what features you need, the make and model you are ready to purchase, and how much you’re willing to stretch your budget—is essential for securing the best possible deal on the market.
Buy Refurbished Items
Scope out the inventory on discount websites that sell refurbished items. Refurbished electronics have been fine-tuned to perform just like their brand-new counterparts, and many come with a short warranty. Refurbished brand name electronics can be much more affordable than brand-new goods and can still provide you with the same level of satisfaction as a new model.
Check Local Classifieds
Check your local newspaper classifieds and Craigslist for specific items that you are looking for in brand new or slightly new condition. Be wary of buying used electronics that are no longer under warranty, because you won’t have any idea how much life is left in the product. Take the time to research about the product on other sites, so you have a good idea about the product’s features, benefits, ratings, and reviews.
Search for Online Coupons
Bargain-hunting websites, like FatWallet and RetailMeNot, post coupon codes and other special offers from popular retailers. Search these sites to find out if there are any coupon codes, free shipping offers, or other great deals available. Sometimes you can double up on these promo and discount codes and get an unbeatable deal on those big-ticket items.
Monitor Auction Sites
Research the latest prices for the electronics you’re interested in on auction sites like eBay. Use the advanced search feature to narrow down your search for brand-new items and price ranges. Searching for a specific make or model on an auction site will make it easier to find what you need, because only some sellers will list features and relevant product information. Do your research about the product on other websites where you can read unbiased reviews and ratings. This way, the only decision you have to make at an auction site is whether to buy when the price is right.
Look for Manufacturer Rebates
If you want to buy a brand-new product from a retail store, check the manufacturer’s website for any rebates or online offers. Sometimes retailers post these rebates next to the product, but you may be able to get a better deal by buying direct from the manufacturer. The manufacturer’s website will also include some valuable information about the product’s features and benefits, and details about any newer models coming out in the near future.
Shop the Flash Sales
Shopping sites like Amazon.com run flash sales on high-end merchandise and electronics throughout the week, and these can be a great place to find a good deal on an in-demand item. The only drawback of shopping these sales is you have to make a buying decision within minutes—the discounted products usually sell out within a few hours and they’re one-time deals. Still, if you know what you want and have the patience to check these sales on a daily basis, you could end up getting an amazing deal on some of those pricey electronics.
Participate in a Buyback Program
Some electronics retailers now offer buy-back or trade-in programs where you can get store credit for some of your used electronics. This can be a great way to pay less for that next electronics purchase—especially if it’s also on sale or is an open-box item. Don’t forget to ask the store if there are any rebates or coupons available for that next purchase so you can get the best possible price. Most stores will issue a voucher or store credit through their buyback program, which can be used the same as cash.
Sabah Karimi writes for deals blog WiseBread.com, a great place to find the latest electronic deals.