You are working on an important project on your laptop and the device suddenly shuts down. That’s when you realize that you have been postponing buying a new laptop for too long now. Whether it is the straightforward fact that you have had a laptop for way too many years, you are dealing with an extremely slow machine, or you just need something more portable and compact, regardless of what your reason is, purchasing a new laptop can be a daunting process.
While having your laptop conk midway during work, causing you to lose all the progress you have made, can itself be agonizing, knowing that buying a new machine can put a dent in your wallet only worsens the feeling. Of course, you can start your search among the many budget laptop models; however, budget laptops that carry all the features you need in the device will probably be very less in number. Therefore, your only option is to find ways to save money on the next laptop you purchase, and this guide is designed to help you with just that.
Here are 10 ways you can save money on your next laptop:
1. Skip Features You Don’t Need
Today, you will find laptops that come packed with typically any feature you can possibly think of. From high-end graphics cards to fingerprint readers and much more; while these features are of course a good addition to your device, you wouldn’t really need many of those, and therefore it is wise to refrain from having to spend several hundred dollars more on what you really don’t need.
For instance, if you are a frequent traveler, you might need a model that is compact and portable and comes with good battery life; if you are into editing HD videos and photos, you should look for a device with powerful Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) or graphics card; or, if you are a music enthusiast, you need a big solid-state drive (SSD) or hard drive (HDD). In most cases, not many laptop users will need in need of all these features, in which case you can easily save money by skipping the features you don’t need.
Since today’s laptops come packed with an infinite number of features, there are a few you should know about in order to skip the same to save some money:
- Touch screen: 2-in-1 laptops are a big attraction these days. These laptops come with a screen that either flips back or can be completely detached from the machine to be used as a tablet and as a result, these laptops have a touch screen. However, touch screen laptops cost several hundred dollars more than standard notebooks and hence is a feature you could look to avoid to save money.
- Backlit keyboard: Unless and until you have a really solid reason, you don’t need a backlit keyboard on your laptop. While most laptop models today come with this feature, there are still many budget devices that come without; therefore, you should be able to save a few bucks.
- Core i7 processor: When you are on a budget, you seriously need to avoid spending a hefty additional sum just for the i7 processor. Yes, the Core i7 processor delivers great performance when it comes to carrying out complicated tasks like data mining; however, if you don’t have to perform such tasks on a daily basis, then you don’t need an i7 processor in your laptop.
- Graphics chip: Unless you are an avid gamer and always playing the latest games, or into professional video editing or similar streams, you wouldn’t need a high rated graphics card.
- Fingerprint reader: This is a relatively new trend in laptops. Instead of typing a password to log in, you can just place your finger on a built-in sensor, just like in your smartphone. However, this technique is considered to be less secure and laptops with fingerprint readers cost more than regular ones as well.
- Storage: Of course, you can go for a laptop with an SSD, if you can afford it. But, since our focus here is to save money, you should consider choosing one with an HDD, which offers more storage than SSD for a much cheaper price. On the other hand, if you like to enjoy the benefits of having an SSD, but still save money, choose a lower storage size, say 256GB rather than 1TB.
- Higher screen resolution: If you can manage with a screen resolution less than 1080p, otherwise called Full HD or 1920 x 1080, you should choose one such laptop. However, it is not wise to go for a higher resolution, say 4K or WQHD, because with laptop screen sizes ranging only between 13 and 15 inches, you wouldn’t notice any significant difference in the resolution.
By the way, we have also written a guide on 1080p vs 1440p vs 4K where we’ve discussed which of these resolution is best for gaming and casual use.
2. Buy a Refurbished or Used Device
One of the best and easy ways to save money on your next laptop is to buy a refurbished or used one. You will be able to find refurbished models from many vendors, including the manufacturers. The fact is that refurbished laptops are just as good as brand new ones, but cost a lot less. In addition, these models also usually come with a warranty to alleviate any concerns you might have.
And when it comes to used laptops, you can always find one from friends or family members, especially from those individuals who always want to have gadgets equipped with only the latest of technology. These used laptops you find are usually fine, with no hardware or software issues with them, except for the fact that they are likely to be a bit outdated. Who knows, you might even get a laptop for free, which means you can spend your money upgrading it with additional features you need.
Whether you go for a refurbished laptop or a used one, one of the most feasible models is a Mac. As you would know, this is because of its high price tag, of course, and also because you cannot easily find them on sale.
3. Buy Your Laptop at the Right Time
When you are going to spend a few hundred dollars on a laptop, being able to save even a meager percentage of the price would be a great deal. Therefore, when you start looking for laptops, wait for the right time to make your purchase, which is usually during the months of April, July, August, September, and November. These months usually cover the back-to-school season (and students get special discounts) and the holidays, in addition to the fact that manufacturers introduce new laptop models at the same time. Remember, when a manufacturer introduces a new laptop model or a new generation of a laptop, the price tag of the model’s previous generation will drop significantly.
In addition, also keep track of discounts or sales from retailers, especially big ones like Best Buy, where you can save at least $100.
4. Go for an Older Model
Another best way to save money on your next laptop purchase is to go for an older model rather than the latest release. The product cycles of laptops typically range from every three months to about a year, and new products get released constantly. These products usually come with certain improvements in terms of their performance, memory, and other important features. However, when you take a look at the “improvements”, you will notice that they are not that significant in terms of features, but highly so when it comes to their pricing.
When new models get released, their older versions are sold at a great discount to get the inventory cleared in order to sell them quickly. The savings you can make from buying such older models will be huge, without having to compromise on the performance and features of the laptop. As a result, you get a laptop that is comparable to the newer model but at a significantly lower price.
5. Buy an Upgradeable Laptop
One aspect that costs a lot of money when it comes to buying a laptop is the RAM. RAM is one of the most important hardware components of a laptop which acts as the device’s working memory. Higher the RAM memory, better will be the performance of a laptop. However, this also means you will have to spend a lot of money on the same.
Therefore, the best solution is to buy a laptop with a small RAM, with the potential to upgrade it later. For this, you need to buy an upgradeable laptop, which you should make sure before making your purchase because there are many devices that come with fixed memory, which cannot be upgraded. This is especially the case with the new ultrathin laptops.
6. Choose a Mid-Range Model
During their search for a laptop, in general, people tend to focus on the extremes in terms of pricing. You either get excited about the best model there is from a leading brand, thinking that spending a few hundred extra bucks now will get you a machine that could possibly last forever, or revise your options with the many budget models, so you don’t have to worry about breaking your bank or even if the device gets damaged somehow.
As a result, you often forget about the fact that their several laptops out there, in the mid-range category that cost much lesser than the premium ones and offer amazing power, memory, and storage options than the budget ones. With your mid-range budget, you can also look at laptops that were originally very expensive but are now available at this price range due to a sale or discount, or any other reason for that matter. Again, you need to wait for the right time to make your purchase.
7. Look for Packaged Deals
You can save a lot of money when more than one of your electronic devices or communication products need replacement, or if you are looking to purchase more than just a laptop. For instance, in addition to your laptop, you may also want a printer, a wireless keyboard and mouse, an external hard drive, work-related software, and more such accessories and add-ons, all of which together will add up to a staggering amount on your final bill.
The best way to deal with this scenario is when you know you have more than one purchase to make, start looking for package deals, which offer a big discount on laptop accessories when you buy a laptop or a free product (one that you need) is offered for the same. From a yearly subscription to the latest version of Microsoft Office to a free pen drive or a couple of hundred dollars off on a printer, there are a lot of deals you can and should look for.
You will also be able to find offers on mobile broadband with the purchase of a laptop. Even if you don’t find such deals and are in urgent need of a new laptop, you can ask for such packaged deals from a dealer, and with a bit of effort, you will most likely obtain one.
8. Look at Basic Models
If you can spend only the bare minimum on your next laptop, you can, of course, find some basic models that offer more than what you expect. Google’s Chromebook is an excellent example. Starting at just below $200, this device comes packed with features such as Intel Dual Core Processor, 2GB RAM, built-in virus protection, solid state drive, and more such amazing features for the affordable price tag. In addition, Chromebooks are available from various brands as well, including HP, Samsung, Lenovo, and Asus, giving you the ability to choose one from your favorite brand.
If you are someone using a laptop just for browsing and performing basic tasks, then going with one such bare-bones laptop would be the wise choice to save money. A Chromebook is also an excellent choice for people whose work revolves around Google Docs, and most of it performed online.
9. Shop Around and Use Shop Tactics
When you want to buy a laptop, it is natural for you to consider buying directly from the manufacturer, say Apple, Samsung, or Lenovo. But, if you shop around, you will come to know that you will be paying extra at the manufacturers’ outlets then when compared to a retailer or an authorized reseller. You can rather choose to buy from a big-box store, or even online, where you will often find prices that can never be matched by the manufacturers.
Your shop tactics are equally important if you wish to save money on your next laptop. Any retailer would want a customer to make a purchase in their store and wouldn’t want them to leave empty-handed. You can use this to your advantage; just remember that all they want is to make a profit and they will come down in price (or offer discounts and freebies) if they know they can make it.
So, what you can do is, visit a retailer on a day when the shop is likely to be free and talk with a senior staff member, one who has the authority to make decisions, about the deal you are looking for. This is where your knowledge comes in handy; before you head to the store, research online and check other stores for the price they offer for the laptop model you are looking to buy and use those details to your advantage. Let the staff member know firmly that you will make the purchase immediately if they offer you the deal you are looking for, say free anti-virus subscription, laptop case, or a discount on accessories. If you feel that the deal you receive isn’t worth it, just walk away.
10. Use Cashback Offers
Cashback offers are extremely popular these days, especially with technology-related products. Using such offers is a great way to save money on your laptop purchase. There are a few different ways you can look for cash back; see if the brand you want to purchase from is being listed on cashback shopping sites, which can give you great cashback deals if you purchase through them. Another option is to use bank offers; for instance, many stores and online vendors provide cashback offers when you buy products using a credit or debit card from one of their partnered banks.
Before you use these offers, just make sure that the value of the cashback purchase is savings worthy compared to if you make a non-cashback purchase.
Yes, buying a new laptop requires a lot of effort than you think. You need to spend time researching the market, both in-stores and online, for laptops and their pricing. Also, you need to look at reviews to shortlist the models that might suit you best, and go from there.