Electronics never last as long as you would like them to. First, it’s your laptop slowing down when you’ve got work to do. Next, you crack the screen on your phone or drop it in the sink when you’re doing the dishes. It can be infuriating when you break electronics that you need for work, school, or everyday life. When money’s tight, it can be a real burden having to replace items that have become so essential.
Despite rising prices, it is possible to save money, even on tech, gadgets, and computers. When you have to replace your electronics, try these tips to cut down on costs.
#1 Buy Used and Refurbished
The best way to save money on a smartphone any time of the year is to buy refurbished and used phones. A refurbished phone is one that’s been traded in and repaired. This means someone has physically replaced damaged parts, such as a cracked screen or an old battery, wiped data from the phone, and returned it to factory settings.
Many refurbished phones don’t even need much in the way of repairs; they’ve just been lightly used, and someone had to wipe the data from them. They are brought to like-new condition before they’re resold.
The key to buying the perfect refurbished phone is to make sure it’s under warranty for at least a year.
#2 Be Careful About Financing
The price of a phone can be jaw-dropping these days. Many carriers try to hide the financial pain of a new phone by burying it in your bill with a financing plan. If you don’t have the emergency funds to buy a new phone outright, a payment plan can help you get a phone now.
Many telecommunication companies have programs for financing a new phone, but it’s important to be careful before you get into one. First of all, make sure the payment plan has 0% APR, or, effectively, a zero-percent interest rate. When you enter a payment plan, it’s a loan that you pay through an additional fee on your phone bill. Most carriers offer 0% plans unless you have poor credit, so avoid any plans that charge interest.
Keep in mind that if you break or lose your phone before you’ve paid it off, you may need to pay the remaining balance before you can get another payment plan on a new one. Don’t let a payment plan make you forget about the real price, as it can make your monthly bill burdensome.
#3 Wait for Sales
While phones and computers are pretty big ticket items, retailer sales can also offer huge discounts. There’s a season for everything, and you’re more likely to see steep discounts on certain products at different times of the year.
September is often the best time to buy iPhones, while deals on Samsung phones are more abundant in February. Discounts on smartphones tend to coincide with when manufacturers announce new releases.
If you’re in the market for a laptop, the best season is usually back-to-school, while TVs and gadgets can be found at a deal during holiday and Boxing Day sales.
Save money the next time you need to replace your electronics by shopping used, waiting for sales, and being careful about financing options!