Save Money When Buying Those Cool Electronics and Gadgets You Hanker For

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2007-07-1723

Do you buy bleeding edge technology?

I work in the technical field so I’m surrounded by techno-geeks on a daily basis. I’m also part of a big family of gadget fanatics who wait excitedly for each next new piece of wizardry on the product pipeline. So guess where most of our money goes during gift giving time? How about towards those accessories and other enhancements to support the use of our beloved gadgets, if not towards the purchase of the electronic toy itself!

With all of the folks I know going ga-ga over the iPhone, flat screen televisions, computers, the iPhone, MacBooks, PS3s, the iPhone and the rest of the iPod empire, I thought to go over some strategies that could help people programmed this way to save some money. Unfortunately, this does not mean that my own advice will be heard out in my own household, as there is this person I live with who is nuts over electronics and new whiz-bang gadgetry. So for everybody else who still hasn’t thrown their financial senses out the window, this is for you.

Buying Strategies For Consumer Electronics

Wait! Don’t buy that shiny new toy right away.
Wait. That’s the operative word here. Can you muster it? There are many tricks you can use to try to get the best prices for things, but one thing that applies to technology is patience. The longer you wait for certain items, the cheaper they become. That goes for things that become obsolete quickly such as television sets, home entertainment gizmos, computers, phones and the like. You can get huge deals on such items by just sitting on your wallets a little longer.


Dig up as much information on the product as you can.
Do some product research by joining forums, subscribing to mailing lists or checking consumer reporting sources for product deals and data. There’s a wealth of info on the internet for this sort of thing. Gadget sites or consumer based blogs can tell you what types of deals are available. I wish I could help in this regard but I haven’t thought of branching out into deal announcements yet.

Gadget Jacket 1

Gadget Jacket 2

Check prices and comparison shop.
Read up on how manufacturers are planning to price their products and whether adjustments are likely down the road. Amazon, Bizrate, and the like have comparison tools to help you shop smart.

Are you willing to go second hand?
Why not? In certain households, electronic products have high turnover rates as people desire to replace their stuff with the newest and hottest things that catch their eye. You may be surprised to find that people are unloading fairly recent products at attractive consignment prices. Watch out for deals in the classifieds, at auction or online sites like eBay.

Apply those discounts.
What’s great about the electronics market is that rebates and coupons abound. So run after those discounts and be on the lookout for sales events! If you’re interested in participating in some shopping traditions of the Christmas season (those that involve heavy bargain hunting), then you’ll probably get some amazing savings from the hard time and effort you put in chasing those deals.

Consider buying and selling schemes.
When stuff is offered in bulk or available via auction, there’s an opportunity to make some money based on buying these things at lower prices then reselling them for a profit. Some folks like Mighty Bargain Hunter are doing this sort of thing. I’ve actually tried my hand on this and have unloaded some of my old electronic wares. It was a great way to pick up some pocket money during a slow weekend!

Recycle or sell your older electronic items.
Most people already do this, but I’ll mention it anyway. Before buying something new, we make sure to properly dispose of our older models. It’s clear that there are times when items are on their last legs and should just be tossed out and recycled. But for stuff that still works, there could still be some life left in them which could be of use to someone else. Whenever we replace a working item (electronic or otherwise), we make sure to release it into the second hand market for a nice sale or for a donation to charity.

So Who’s Gaga Over Electronics?

Buying technology can be pretty costly as the big companies I used to work for can attest. With their huge budgets, it was very easy for these monolithic corporations to spend their funds with wild abandon on vapor ware and untested technologies. Investments in IT they call it. As individual consumers, we can’t afford to be as reckless as that, and with some of us displaying a crazy passion for this sort of thing:

Al Jessup, his satellite dishes and 5,000 channels

It’s easy to forget how things can cost.

I’m not saying that you need to forgo buying what you truly love till it’s as outmoded as floppy disks — I’m simply suggesting that it’s worth taking a momentary pause to do some research before buying anything, in order to get the best value for yourself. There’s a happy medium here somewhere for getting the latest cool thing you want and being reasonable about when and how to make that purchase.

‘Course you can go tell that to some people I know.

Copyright © 2007 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

60 in 3 July 17, 2007 at 9:11 am

Your first point is a bit hard to implement when it comes to electronics. New things are always coming out, so if you wait, you’re just going to find newer and better things to buy. However, I loved the rest of the post, especially the parts about recycling and buying second hand.

You can find some amazing deals on items that are barely used if you just look around. Plus getting rid of your old electronics somewhere other than the garbage bin can also be a money saver. I always donate my old PC’s. I get a write off and some charity gets computer parts it can use. Much better than just tossing it in the landfill.

Gal

Lazy Man and Money July 17, 2007 at 2:09 pm

I’ve been finding a few good deals on Craigslist. The only problem is that I never know when such a deal might appear.

Silicon Valley Blogger July 17, 2007 at 10:50 pm

@60 in 3, when is it ever the right time to buy electronics? While some of our friends have gone ahead and committed themselves to a Tivo, flat screen and iPhone, many others are still waiting for those prices to tumble. Some have lucked out with *really* good prices for recent purchases of LCDs. But it’s a tradeoff between that or waiting several months (or even years) for potential bargains. But it helps just to try to keep our eyes open in case something springs up!

@Lazy, yeah, I’ve sold an old Tivo through Craigslist. A guy got our lifetime Tivo subscription for $75. Not bad! We use Craigslist for practically everything (but who wouldn’t, being in the Bay Area?). Regarding when to find out when a good deal does appear — I think I’ll write about this someday. I have a fairly good idea how it can be done ;).

Craig June 7, 2008 at 12:57 pm

I tend to wait and not buy things right away – unless I need them (which is rare).

Often you’ll find that new technology is not perfect so there will be updates, upgrades etc based on consumer feedback and typically you’ll get a better deal if you wait anyway.

Jane August 25, 2008 at 2:10 pm

I think the best way to go is to let the “must have” people get their toys. Second wave is always better.

MOin September 2, 2008 at 5:31 pm

nice article.
but i can’t carry all things like this.
Yeah I SHOULD WAIT

Mike September 17, 2008 at 5:20 pm

lol @ all those dishes.

that is insane – who would really want that many dishes on their house? even when I was buying wholesale ipod nano, I didn’t need that much bandwidth.

imagine if those were all huge dishes like back in the 80′s!

Neil December 10, 2008 at 12:00 pm

I think the waiting game is a tough one to play when talking about gadgets as they evolve so quickle that you probably would never buy one. But the rest of your points are very good. Thanks for the post and as I have only just found this blog then I will be back to read the rest of te posts.

Thanks

Apple January 8, 2009 at 4:13 am

Oh, great article. 2nd hand electronic products are not that bad. You can save money.

Roll Off Milwaukee September 10, 2009 at 9:46 am

Along with prices dropping, a little bit of patience allows the first-generation bugs to be worked out of the product before you purchase

Gal November 13, 2009 at 10:16 pm

I always donate my old PC’s. I get a write off and some charity gets computer parts it can use. Much better than just tossing it in the landfill.

David Aim February 8, 2010 at 7:15 pm

For me, i don’t buy things if i see it’s not a fit to my budget, or there’s no good reason to buy.

B. James May 14, 2010 at 4:35 am

I will always look around for second hand bargains.

pandora jewelry May 18, 2010 at 6:00 pm

That is insane – who would really want that many dishes on their house? Even when I was buying wholesale ipod nano, I didn’t need that much bandwidth.

Imagine if those were all huge dishes like back in the 80’s!

Dani @Discount Electronics May 25, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Waiting seems to be the best advice here. When the iPhone came out, it seemed everyone rushed out to get it. I waited because of financial reasons, and as I approach a phase where buying one can be a reality, Mac is coming out with the new generation– which actually has everything I want. Never go for a first generation ANYTHING.

SV August 20, 2010 at 12:18 pm

I see if it fits my budget, or there’s good reason to buy.

Rebecca September 1, 2010 at 8:06 pm

These are some good tips. I think these days more and more people are looking for electronics online rather than in actual stores, so it’s good to be cautious and shop around to get the best deal. Another important thing to consider is international shipping if you’re ordering from overseas — looking for the best deals here will save you a lot of money.

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