Cheap computer equipment – how to buy it

Cheap computer equipment is easier to find than you’d think. Here’s my list of tips for buying cheap computer equipment.

  1. Ask for a discount. Even when something isn’t on sale, many retailers — even big ones — will drop the price. If you’re dealing with an online retailer, try phoning. (Asking for a discount helps — even for things like lower home equity loan rates!)
  2. Pick up a copy of your local computer newspaper or office journal. These publications often list discount computer suppliers.
  3. Ask your local computer retailers when they’ll be putting their computers on sale. (In some areas, they have to tell you if a sale will take place soon.)
  4. Look up the websites for your favourite brands and see if they have rebates listed.
  5. Register for the newsletters and "tell me about promotions" on electronics dealers’ sites, so you get coupons and sales info.
  6. If you already own a previous version of the hardware or software, check with the manufacturer to see if they will give you an upgrade discount.
  7. If you’re handy, buy parts and build your own computer.
  8. Buy computer equipment that’s a year old, so someone else has taken the depreciation hit.
  9. Read your local flyers for current promotions.
  10. Look into "best price guaranteed" policies at retailers. Some will even honor online deals, if you print out the page. I saved $100 on my DV camera this way.
  11. Check the product info section when you’re shopping online — sometimes the rebate info is hidden.
  12. Fill out warranty cards so that computer equipment suppliers keep you up to date.
  13. Find out if your professional association, trade group, SOHO network, alumni association or school has a discount with a computer dealer.
  14. Use a credit card that offers you cash back. I get 2% off all purchases when I use my card.
  15. Read Consumer Reports and reviews so that you don’t get stuck buying a dud, like my discount multifunction printer.
  16. Look to friends and family for tips on computer equipment that’s great value for money. (If you’re looking for accounting software, I recently blogged about it.)
  17. Consider becoming a consultant so you can write off the computer equipment you use in your business.

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