Ahhh, technology. You can’t escape it! Heck, you’re engrossed in its awesomeness right now just to read my blog (thanks!). To some, it’s a necessary evil that plagues the earth and sucks the life out of anything that comes in contact with it (or maybe that’s just me…). To most, it’s something that makes the world just that much easier and more enjoyable. With apps for everything, gadgets that make you lunch, and the ability to read iHeartBudgets on a mobile device, technology is enriching the lives and smart people such as yourselves. But it does come with one downside.
IT’S FREAKING EXPENSIVE!
But have no fear, you don’t have to pay full retail to a dude in a brightly colored t-shirt ever again! There are SO many options out there, I would be appalled at anyone not getting AT LEAST 25% when they buy electronics following the below steps.
Step 1: Find Out What You Actually Want
This may seem ridiculous, but you really need to know EXACTLY what you want before looking for it. Ask yourself some qualifying questions like:
- What do I need it for?
- What kind of performance do I need from it?
- How long do I need it to last?
- What brands are the best rated?
- What the heck is an Intel Core i5 processor?
Answering these questions can really help you narrow down your search, and give you an idea of where to start looking. I always go through this mental checklist before I even set voyage and surf the internet for a solution. There are also device-specific questions, like:
- What screen size do I need?
- How much memory do I need?
- What programs do I want to run with it?
Step 2: Know Where To Search
The trick to finding any good deal is knowing where to look. I mean, you may get lucky and accidently stumble on a good deal like Columbus did the U.S., but most likely you’ll get lost and overwhelmed and end up going to a HUGE store with people in blue polos. So here are a few places to get you started on your technology search:
- Amazon.com (for almost anything)
- Newegg.com (for anything computers)
- Frys.com (for anything computer and home electronics)
- Tigerdirect.com (for anything computers)
- Any laptop online outlet (example: outlet.lenovo.com)
- Woot.com (for 1-day sales)
- Bestbuy.com (MIGHT have a good deal…maybe)
- A few friends have mentioned slickdeals.net (Thanks FI Pilgrim and KK) for awesome deals
There are other specific places for your specific need, but these are a great place to start. You can find great deals, honest (as possible) reviews, and great service to boot. I ALWAYS recommend checking Amazon before making any purchase. Heck, if you’re in a store, there’s even an app that lets you scan the barcode and see if it’s cheaper on Amazon. And with free-two day shipping, doesn’t get much better than that!
Once you find the best deals on the products you like, it’s time to get some more details before pulling the trigger.
Step 3: Do Some Research
Using the sites above will let you compare products, look at customer reviews, and really narrow down your search. Now that you have a handful of choices or less, it’s time to put those devices to the test. This is where I recommend reading some very in-depth professional reviews at places like:
These places will offer full-detailed reviews with benchmark testing, practical uses, and best of all, PICTURES! I love going here to check out a product and see if it hits on all the points that I need. I’m sure there’s a bias in some of these reviews, but you just need to look for the stuff that YOU think is important and see how the device fares.
Step 4: Ask People You Know Who Have Experience With It
This is the MOST IMPORTANT step in this entire process. At this point, you’ve searched out GREAT deals online and done some in-depth research to narrow down your choices. Now you need to ask some people you trust who have the device(s) in question, and get some real world feedback from them. Maybe even ask if you could borrow it for an hour (if possible) to get a feel for the device, and write down any questions that come up.
You can ask the owner of said device for their honest opinion, and I have found that MOST people will be straight up about their purchase. Again, make sure you are looking for the features YOU WANT, and don’t worry if something doesn’t perform on it that you don’t care about. Recommendations are the way that I have purchased most electronics, whether from a co-worker or friend. And I did the same just recently for my brother, helping him get a KILLER deal on a laptop at the Lenovo outlet.
Electronics are tough. Technology is changing so rapidly that your device may be out of date 2 days after you buy it! But what really matters is that YOU are satisfied with your purchase. Following the above steps (especially steps 2) should allow you to get EXACTLY what you want, and save a TON of cash in the process.
Comments: What are you favorite tricks for getting the best technology at a good price? Any killer deals you want to share with readers? Would you add anything to this list above?
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