These days every college student needs a laptop when in lectures, studying, or doing research. It’s a great way to take notes, making sure you have jotted down all the important information you need. This helps you prepare for future assignments and exams. Laptops are safer, too, especially with the introduction of online storage drives that protect your content in case your laptop gets stolen or lost. However, most college students struggle with finances, and often can’t afford brand name laptops with longer batteries, quality graphics, RAM, or hard drives. Because of this, college students often settle for low budget machines that end up being a headache instead of a positive addition to college life.
In 2007, I ran my own online store, and got brand name machines for a fraction of the price. Many times, I would go through the manufacturer, but a lot of times I would go hunting to find the best bargains. Even though this was in 2007, you can still utilize some of my shopping strategies today; I’ve listed them below to help you find brand name laptops for almost 50% off.
Know the Specs
Here’s the thing…
Many college students don’t know what they want, and don’t pay attention to specifications. For you to start looking for the right bargain, you need a clear idea of what type of machine you need. Once you know the specifications, you’ll be able to compare prices from different sellers, narrowing it down to the best pricing. For example, when someone would call me about a quote, I always asked this question: What type of machine and specs are you looking for? This would allow me to narrow down my search, providing the buyer with the right information and quote.
For you to find brand name laptops for cheap, you need to know what you’re looking for. Think about the following:
- Hard drive storage
- Graphics card
- Preloaded software
- Keyword type
- Brand preference
- Wireless and/or Ethernet
Grab a piece of paper and write down what your minimum and maximum requirements are.
You can also visit some review websites to find out what others are saying about the best laptops for college students. You’ll find a complete list of laptops, specs, and places where you can even order them online. Skim through each one and pay close attention to specs, brand, and price so you find one that fits your exact preference.
This is one of the best places to find laptops for a bargain because some people are looking for quick cash. Many times, people buy an expensive laptop, and right after running into financial crisis 90% of people usually invest in a laptop with a higher configuration than they need, so during tough times they may downgrade if necessary. For example, I can sell an expensive laptop for a lower price and still buy another one to surf the internet, send emails, etc. If you start skimming on eBay.com, you’ll find a handful of laptops for a cheaper price because people either upgraded quickly or need some extra cash.
Here’s a bonus on how to cut costs even more: Look for the “Make Offer” button because you can send in a cheaper offer than what’s listed. You might be able to save an additional $20-$50 dollars.
The funny thing is, Kijiji.com is owned by eBay.com, and it’s more of a classified marketplace. This is for people who don’t want to wait for bidding to end or are looking to sell even quicker. Start by typing in the item number in the search bar and skim through the results. If it’s a popular model you’re looking for, then I’m sure you’ll see it listed for a fraction of the price. For example, here’s a listing for an iPhone 7 Plus 256GB which is normally $1400 CAD.
As you can see, you’ll find some for $1200, $1080, etc. However, keep in mind you can continue to negotiate for a lower price.
Refurbished (with warranty)
I did a quick search in Google for “refurbished laptops,” and more than 10 websites showed up in the search results. If you are tight on money, then this is an option you should explore. Refurbished doesn’t mean they didn’t work and have been fixed, it just means they have been cleaned up, or were demo machines that were displayed in stores. These machines also come with a 3-month warranty, with some stores offering a warranty extension for up to one year.
Some of the stores that showed up are in my or area, and so are worth checking out in person. Do a quick search and visit some stores close by to test out the products before purchasing and build that comfort level. Just make sure you visit a store that has been around for years, and with a solid reputation. You can read reviews on the store by doing a quick search in Google again.
Many colleges have bursaries in place to help students with tough financial situations or special needs; however, to do this you have to apply and fill out supporting documentation to get approved. If you qualify, then the college will give you some money to purchase a laptop for school, or connect you with a store partner to provide a brand name laptop for a discounted price. Head over to your college bursary department to find out what’s available to you, and how you can start the application process.
As a college student, it can be very hard trying to purchase high-quality gadgets because of the financial burden they place on your life. However, we live in a time where it’s very easy to browse online and find what we’re looking for at a fraction of the price. I would suggest you start applying some of the strategies listed above to find what your looking for, and always do your research beforehand. Knowing what you want will make it easier for you to locate and choose the right item.
Featured photo credit: journalstar.com via journalstar.com