Summer’s Sizzling with Great Deals…Find out How You Can Cash In

July is typically not a great time to get a good deal on anything. While it may seem like a good idea to get a head start on school supplies, it actually pays to procrastinate. Back to school items will be cheaper in August.

Same goes for sunglasses. Even though this is prime time for wearing trendy shades, it’s not the cheapest time to buy them. In fact it’s the most expensive! Deal seekers should wait till the fall or winter to find a new, cool pair of sunglasses.

In fact a lot of things are cheaper if you wait till after July ends to buy them. There is one exception though and it’s actually something everybody wants, but doesn’t know how to buy.

Laptops! These lightweight, portable computers are hitting the sale racks right this second.

Why now?

Well the failure of Windows 8, the release of new models last month and the growing popularity of tablets have created the perfect storm for great deals on laptops right now! The new operating system by Microsoft was supposed to be the life raft that saved sluggish laptop sales, but that didn’t happen. Then a bunch of new models of computers came out in June, further flooding a market that already had a bunch of inventory. Plus consumers are turning to tablets instead of desktops and laptops, many of whom previously would have been laptop buyers. Anytime you add more product inventory to decreasing market size you create a problem for retailers. Their solution to this problem is to slash prices. It might be bad for retailers but their pain is your gain!

Laptops can be expensive though; generally speaking you’ll pay between $350 and $2,000 for a new one. Yikes. That’s a lot of money to come out of pocket at one time. So it’s important to shop smart and buy right.

That’s the hard part…buying the right one. Most people only buy new computers every four to six years. So it’s important to choose the one that will stand the test of time as well as meet all your needs.

That’s really the most important factor when shopping for a good deal on a new computer…choosing one that fits your needs. Many people get caught up in all the tech features, and they end up choosing a computer with a bunch of extra things they don’t need. All those additional features drive up the price too.

The best way to save money on a new computer or laptop is to only buy what you need. If you’re really big into graphic design, recording music, editing videos or editing hi-resolution photography, then you’ll need a computer with enhanced features. But, if you are like most people, and will mostly be using your laptop for surfing the web, watching streaming videos, using MS Office and checking your friend’s Facebook status’ then you don’t need a super powerful computer. All lower end computers can do those things as well as so much more.

If you’re like most computer users the most important features to look for when purchasing a new laptop are usually size and mobility. Perhaps the single biggest reason people purchase laptops over desktops is because they have the ability to take them with them wherever they go. That makes battery life a major consideration when picking out which model to buy. If your laptop will mostly be left on your desk and only occasionally taken on trips then battery life isn’t quite as crucial. Otherwise, take note of how long the manufacturer promises the battery will last. No matter what they promise, it won’t last that long. Most manufacturers that claim to have a very long battery life do so with the provision that the machine will only be used occasionally and with a dimmed screen. Their claims are very misleading. It’s safe to assume you’ll get one to two hours less than what the manufacturer promises.

When it comes to laptop size, bigger isn’t always better. Heavy laptops kill portability. Big screens and keyboards are nice, but usually they add a lot of weight to a laptop. Look for computers that are six pounds or less if you plan to take travel a lot with them. If you plan to keep them mostly on your desk with only some light travel then focus on laptops with a 15 or 17 inch screen size.

Once you get over all the tech features and settle on what’s most important to you, you can begin to focus on price a bit more. You can do this in one of two ways. Firstly, be careful where you shop. Stay away from big box electronic retail stores like Best Buy, Target, Office Depot and Staples. They may have great selection and knowledgeable staff that can assist you, but their prices are among the highest for computer and laptops. If you want to try one out before you buy it I recommend trying Wal-Mart, Costco or Sam’s Club to find a good deal. Just make sure you know what you are looking for as the sales people there are useless.

By far the cheapest place to buy a laptop is online. As long as you feel comfortable choosing a laptop based on the specs they list in the description of the sales page, this is the place to shop. If you don’t, you could always look at models at some of the brick-and-mortar stores to find one you like before you buy online. Amazon.com has a huge selection to choose from as well as good prices. Also take a look at online stores that specialize in electronics like NewEgg.com, and TigerDirect.com.

If you really want to save some green on your next laptop purchase then you’ve got to check out a refurbished one. Going this route can knock HUNDREDS of dollars off models that may be only slightly used.

I know the idea is hard to swallow when it comes to tech products. But newer isn’t always better. All computer manufacturers’ sell refurbished versions of their latest models, even Apple. Apple has a reputation for well built products, so if they would risk damaging their brand by offering refurbished computers surely you can trust them.

Those people that always want the latest in technology are stuck in a constant buying cycle. Their current laptops get outpaced by newer versions every few months, so they trade in their old model for whatever is latest and greatest. This creates a great opportunity for you to get a lightly used model for a fraction of the price of a brand, new one.

If you do end up with a refurbished model getting a warranty is a must. And just like computers the warranties on them come in all different shapes and sizes. If you’re clumsy or have had bad luck in the past with computers, opt for a long warranty to put your mind at ease. Generally speaking warranties that are only 30 to 90 days will give you plenty of time to see if your refurbished machine will work out. A laptop computer can be just as good used as it is new, and foregoing a perfect exterior can save you A LOT of money.

Laptops are an expensive purchase that’s why it’s important to buy when the deals are good. You don’t have to rush out tomorrow in order to cash in on the deal. You’ve got till at least the end of the month and the first part of August before prices start to inch back up.

Good luck!

Keeping Money in Your Pocket,

Nancy Patterson


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