How to Keep School Expenses Down in a Tech World

Keeping school expenses down in a technology-driven world can be a little tricky at first. However, once you've researched certain products, retailers and other websites, you should have a better idea of how to spend and save.

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Keeping School Expenses Down

Laptops, tablet computers and smart phones are only a few of the tech gadgets high on students' wish lists. Increasingly, these electronic tools are playing an important role in higher education. Learn ten ways students can equip themselves with the tech gear they need without breaking the bank.

1. Prioritize wants and needs.

Electronics today have amazing capabilities that make them very appealing. Deciding which devices you really require for school - versus those for entertainment - is an important step toward not overspending on tech products. Before buying anything, assess what capabilities you need.

2. Identify the right tech tools.

When you know what you need, do your research to find the product that will provide the best return on your investment. For starters, buy one device that will perform all of the functions you need, rather than multiple gadgets geared for different uses. Consult consumer websites to identify quality products that provide lasting value.

3. Find the best price.

Prices for technology devices like computers and cell phones can vary considerably between vendors. Check a variety of sources to find the best deal on products. Visit online retailers, traditional sales outlets, discount websites and other sources known for selling products at discounted prices.

4. Account for hidden costs.

Tech gadgets often come with expenses beyond the cost of purchase. Remember to consider additional potential costs, including product accessories, software, equipment upgrades, subscription services, warranty plans and other add-ons that can significantly increase the total cost of ownership.

5. Consider used or refurbished products.

Traditional and online retailers both feature deals on 'open box' or refurbished computers, phones and other technology devices. Buying used products can allow you to save considerably, though it's important to deal only with reputable vendors who will back up the quality of products. Check user ratings to identify reputable online sales outlets, or look for refurbished sale sections on manufacturers' own websites.

6. Take advantage of student status.

Students are eligible for bargains in all kinds of retail environments. Computer manufacturers, for example, often feature special deals for people in college. Student discounts can also be found at stores, particularly those on or near campus. Discounted computers and software are common tech perks students enjoy.

7. Make use of free trials.

Much of the software required to complete college coursework - particularly in specialized fields - is expensive, even with student discounts. Utilizing free trials can allow you to use software free of charge for short periods. You may ultimately need to buy a product, but you'll at least know you really need it.

8. Find the right service plans.

Gadgets often come with monthly bills for usage. Staying on a family cell phone plan is a way to save some money on smart phone usage. Shopping around for the least expensive Internet provider is also a good idea. Be wary of over-buying when choosing service plans, instead selecting plans that best fit your usage.

9. Avoid putting gadgets on a credit card.

It's much better to save up for electronics than it is to put devices on a credit card. Interest paid over time can make electronic tools much more expensive than they would otherwise be. This interest can effectively negate a great deal you might have found on a gadget.

10. Use the Internet for entertainment.

There's no need to pay expensive cable or satellite TV fees each month. Many websites feature free, legal access to television shows. DVDs and CDs are also unnecessary expenses given that free and low-cost streaming alternatives are available online.

Learn about ten expenses students can eliminate to save money.

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