I recently purchased a new, shiny, purple camera that came in at a cool $250. I was excited, but I was also so shaky that I dropped my debit card as I went to swipe it. Big purchases can be scary, especially when you buy electronics. There are so many choices, and every product is improved and upgraded on what seems like a weekly basis (I imagine a future where my kids will have the iPhone 760 and be floored that I had the iPhone 4).
In the process of researching and purchasing my new camera, I came up with some tips to help you save on your splurges. With Black Friday just a few weeks away, these will definitely come in handy if you want to skip out on the lines.
1. Make Sure You Need It
Sometimes spending money on technology is inevitable. If your computer or phone breaks, you need to replace it.
However, resist the urge to convince yourself that your “wants” are “needs.” If you have a gadget that works well, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a new model that isn’t much different from what you have.
If you determine something is a “want,” you’ll have to decide if you want to save for it—and if you’re willing to give up other expenses for it. For months, I’ve put some money from each paycheck I’ve earned into a “camera fund.” That meant less money for frozen yogurt and Dunkin’ Donuts, but since I really wanted a new camera, I had to make some sacrifices.
2. Get A Good Deal
Check store websites for sales—I did and got my camera for $100 off. Keep an eye out for special offers as well. I recently upgraded to an iPhone 5S for just $1 by trading in my iPhone 4.
Price matching is another way to save money. If you find a good price online, a store might give you the same deal. Target, Best Buy, and Walmart are a few places that will match the prices of other stores and websites. And don’t be afraid to ask if there’s a student discount!
3. Don’t Forget The Extras
I never think about the extra costs that come with a big purchase. I looked at camera prices, forgetting that I also needed to buy a case, a memory card, and batteries. And then there are hidden fees—my phone only cost me a dollar, but I had to pay an activation fee, higher insurance costs, and taxes on the original price of the phone (which was around $700).
Make sure to include those extra fees in your budget. You can’t avoid some of them, like if you can wait for your state’s tax-free weekend to save some money. I have fond memories of waiting 2 hours at the Apple Store to buy my MacBook on a tax-free weekend … it took a lot of time, but the savings were worth it.
You can find ways to save on those accessories. Many stores offer bundles of these accessories at a reduced cost or free with the purchase of your new electronic—check the website or ask. You can often find cheaper accessories on Amazon and eBay as well; just be wary of high shipping charges.
4. Find The Best Time To Buy
Google “best time to buy
No products found which match your selection..” A quick search informed me that a good time to buy a camera is in the second quarter of the year—April, May, and June. I waited until the week before Father’s Day and got a great price for my camera.
Time will also be on your side when a new model comes out. The new version will be expensive, but the price of the older models may go down as a result. You may not have the latest gadget, but you’ll get a much better deal.
How do you save money on big purchases like cameras and phones? Let us know in the comments!