Save money on buying your next computer – 17 top tips

a computerMy old school friend Kit recently made an appeal on Facebook asking how to extend the life of his old laptop, which he had owned for ten years.

I was seriously impressed. With my money saving hat on, I admired his tenacity and determination to make his machine last as long as possible in a crazy consumer world where people still throw used laptops in the bin.

As it turns out, it was a bit too far past it to revive. He could have replaced the operating system with a more recent version, I guess, but the hardware itself was so out of date it probably wouldn’t have been worth it.

But there are all sorts of ways to save cash on computers. Here are some ideas for the next time your machine falls off its perch.

  1. do you really need a new machine? Or will a second hand one do the trick?
  2. does anyone you know have a spare or unwanted machine you could beg, borrow or barter instead of buying new?
  3. Wait until a new model comes out then get a great deal on the most recent older model
  4. find out if you can upgrade your existing desktop machine, for example by adding more memory. As a rule it’s easier to upgrade desktops than laptops
  5. buy a large laptop – it’ll save cash on energy, using much less than a desktop
  6. don’t let the sales people sell you a machine with more functionality than you need. If you’re a graphics or gaming monster, you probably need a shit-hot machine with all the relevant bells and whistles. If you just want to surf the net and do your email, a basic machine will be more than adequate. In fact a netbook might be ideal since you don’t need loads of processing capability or storage space
  7. say no to extended warranties and other insurances offered at point of sale
  8. say no to accessories you won’t use, for example webcams or memory cards. If it turns out you do need them, you can always buy later
  9. identify the machine you want then shop around online to get the best price. Amazon often offers great prices on bulk discounted machines
  10. ask in local PC stores about ‘open box’ (late model) deals – there’s no need to go for the latest model unless you have a good reason
  11. what about refurbished or reconditioned computers? They’re a lot cheaper
  12. buy a machine with an operating system pre-installed
  13. check our site just in case we have any computer discount codes on board
  14. if you’re tech-savvy, buy the bits and build your own desktop
  15. if you’re a student, see if you can find special student discounts
  16. don’t be scared to negotiate in shops. Many places these days are open to haggling and they’d rather sell at a lower price than send you away to buy elsewhere. They can only say no!
  17. Can you buy a store floor ex-display model for a discounted price?

What’s your best ever computer bargain? Or your best tip for spending less on your next machine?