Top 10 Ways To Save Money On Tech

We technophiles have an expensive hobby to pursue, but that doesn't mean you can't cut a few corners. Here are the best ways to save money on tech without taking a step down in quality.

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10. Skip The Extended Warranty

Every time you go to buy a gadget, no matter how big or small, you've probably been asked whether you want to buy an extended warranty. Not only will these increase the cost of the product, but they just aren't worth it. If you're particularly clumsy and tend to break things, go for it — but otherwise, you're probably better off creating your own extended warranty fund, which will save you more money in the long run. Remember, Australian consumer law doesn't specify exact dates after which a warranty will expire, so the value of extended warranties is highly questionable.

9. Reconsider The Contract

When you buy a new phone or tablet, you can often get a pretty big discount if you buy it at the start of a new contract. However, looks can be deceiving: you're almost certainly paying more in the long run because you signed that two year contract. Check out our guide to whether going on contract makes economic sense.

8. Don't Assume Expensive = Quality

Sometimes, you're just paying for a name brand — or worse, snake oil. Do your research before you shop and make sure you're getting the best bang for your buck. A useful starting point is our guide to things that you should never pay full price for. Often, the generic brands are going to be just as good for a fraction of the cost.

7. Buy Refurbished

If you're in the market for a new laptop, phone, or other gadget — particularly if it's a model that's been out for a little while — buying refurbished is one of the cheapest way to save some cash. Apple is one of the most prominent examples, but it's worth checking other manufacturers as well.

6. Go Hunting For Deals

There are few things more frustrating than paying full price for tech you could have scored at a discount. Our guide to the best deal sites will help you hunt down the right price at the right time.

5. Wait Until the Right Time

Tech prices fluctuate for two reasons: the newness of the product and the time of year. Buying a product as soon as it's released is a bad idea; these days, you can wait just a couple of months and find yourself a substantially lower price in many cases. Seasonal sales can also be your friend; the pre-and-post Christmas period is a good time to score cheap computers, while other tech supplies often get cheaper in the run up to the end of the financial year in June.

4. Sell Your Old Stuff For As Much As Possible

The better you take care of your current gadgets, the more money you can get back for them when it's time to upgrade. And the more money you get back, the less you'll spend on the next big thing. Check out our guide to valuing your gadgets online for the best tips on making your money back.

3. Hack It For Better Bang For Your Buck

Why pay more for the premium product when you can get its features for free on a less expensive version? Put your DIY skills to work and squeeze every ounce of power out of the cheap version. Overclock your processor and video card, root your Android phone, add extra features to your point-and-shoot or DSLR camera, or beef up your router.

2. Do Your Research

When it's time to buy a new piece of tech, you have a lot of things to consider — and if you don't do your research beforehand, you could end up with something much more expensive than you actually need. Whether you're buying a mouse and keyboard, a camera, or even a pair of headphones, make sure you brush up on the current crop before you go out and buy. Buying the right product for your needs will ensure you won't waste money.

1. Get Off the Upgrade Treadmill

Sometimes, we upgrade to a new device because our old one stops working, or our needs change. Other times — as much as we don't like to admit it — we upgrade just because we need the newest, shinest gadget around. There are strategic ways to do this, but if you really want to save some money, the best way is to stop upgrading so often. Compare what you have with what you need, and use the above tips to make the most out of what you already use. With the right introspection, it should be easy to get off the upgrade treadmill and stop wasting money on new tech.

Lifehacker's weekly Loaded column looks at better ways to manage (and stop worrying about) your money.


    Didn't click on every link in the article to see if it's mentioned, but is an essential bargain tool.

    #9 "you’re almost certainly paying more in the long run because you signed that two year contract"

    What? The linked article says the benefit of a contract phone is that "You can save money overall"

    Buy refurbished! I bought a refurbished Dell XPS 13 with a $600 discount, can't find the minor scratches noted when I made the purchase. Very very happy running Kubuntu 13.04 on it, everything works thanks to the work of the Sputnik project.

      Dell's factory refurbished web store also sells new preconfigured machines at a discount. You don't get to choose any parts, but if one is there with the configuration you would have chosen anyway you can save a bit of dosh.

    Price protection with a GO MasterCard or 28 Degrees MasterCard is another option.

    Importing trumps any of these. I saved $1000 on my current laptop, and $500 on my previous by importing.

    DON'T skip the extended warranty! What I mean is, often an extended warranty can be provided by your credit card provider if you have the right card!

    Also, I often buy generic from China, that $1.10 HDMI cable, I cannot tell the difference between that and a $50 monster cable!

    although most of these suggestions may have some merit, espec the upgrade part, some are not so good.

    eg suggestions about overclocking. if you NEED to do that, you should have bought better components in the first place, because over-clocking means a much shorter component life-span

    but i wanted to touch on one aspect in more detail seeing that is what we do. warranties.

    "Remember, Australian consumer law doesn’t specify exact dates after which a warranty will expire, so the value of extended warranties is highly questionable"

    the logic here is confusing. yes, absolutely correct the new ACL does NOT define any 'Consumer Guarantee' period. That is one of the major problems with it. No-one knows how long the period is for ANY product, and, as it depends on the product type, price paid, and type of usage, every individual product can have a different period.

    But that is WHY the logic above is wonky. Just why does that mean that "the value of extended warranties is highly questionable"? It is precisely for that reason that Resellers should bundle a 3rd Party warranty for 1st year say so that they don't have to worry themselves about the hassles and mandatory and costs of providing a 'Consumer Guarantee' and any required service work.

    For customers, using our NWS warranty, as I can't speak for the service quality and conditions of other warranty companies, depending on the type of product and warranty purchased, but, for PCs say, normally the NWS warranty would be - an Australia-wide local on-site service with high priority same day service - and instant parts replacement - for up to five years.

    Compare that to what is provided as a minimum under the ACL. It is still 'Return to Reseller' (RTB), it is still slow low priority work (because it is done free), you stil have to wait for fault parts to be sent to distributor, and tested, and for a replacement part to be sent pack to be refitted and tested by Reseller. This can take anything from two weeks to two or three months. And as per above, the period is totally undefined at present until we have case law for every sort of product. But most people seem to still be sticking to the old 12 month de facto standard until then. And if it gets to an argument with the Reseller about the period, then see you in the Small Claims Court. You got the time and money for that?

    "If you’re particularly clumsy and tend to break things, go for it "

    most or all warranties do NOT cover user damage, accidental damage or environmental damage. Otherwise for a start , people would tend to break things when they want to upgrade to a new one.

    (and lots of luck with any warranty if importing)


    don card
    general manager
    National Warranty Services .. not just the biggest, but the best Australian warranty company.

    Last edited 24/05/13 3:52 pm

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