Don't Pay Too Much for Your Next Computer

During college years, having access to a computer is essential for completing coursework. This article outlines some tips for obtaining this necessary tool without breaking your budget. Schools offering Information Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

old computer

Computers and College: No Longer an Option

Personal computers have essentially become a must in today's busy college environment. Papers, student-teacher communication and research are all done through these devices. But even in the already high-cost life of the average college student, computers are one of the most expensive things a student has to buy! How can you, as a student, find a way to get this ever-necessary tool without spending all your extra cash?

Earn Money

One of the best ways to avoid spending money you're trying to save is to make some more of it. You don't even have to get a real job! There are lots of easy things you can do around your college campus to net yourself a little cash. Do your friend's laundry, be a tutor, offer to edit student papers or babysit for professors and people in your community. Little bits of money here and there will quickly add up into what you could consider a discount you make for yourself. You'll still have to pay full price for that computer, but you'll be earning it with work rather than dipping into your savings.

Buy Used or Refurbished

There may be problems with used computers, but getting a lightly used laptop can often cut its price nearly in half. It won't have all the new bells and whistles, but it can still help you type essays, browse the Web and e-mail your professors. You can check places like eBay or Craigslist if you want to buy online, or you can browse local second-hand stores and flea markets. Be aware of what you're buying, though, before you hand over any money. Make sure the computer runs, has no serious hardware problems and is new enough to be compatible with the kinds of projects you'll be asked to do in your classes. If you're really tech-savvy, you can build your own computer from parts found at flea markets or tech stores for a fraction of the price of a new or lightly used one.

Buy the Less Fashionable Brand

Everyone wants a MacBook or an iPad, but let's be honest - does the cheaper, less popular computer still let you do everything you need to for college purposes? If the answer is yes, then you probably don't need a brand-new heavily advertised computer, which can often be more expensive just because they're fashionable rather than for their actual utility.

If you've decided that you simply must have a more expensive brand, either because it has programs you need or because it runs an operating system you're more familiar with, try looking into buying it used rather than new, or else you'll be paying a very hefty sum.

Look for Sales

At the beginning of the fall many stores offer back-to-school specials which let you get discounts on your computer as well as package deals on software tailored to the lifestyle of a busy student. The discounts won't be huge, but it they'll still beat the price you see further into the semester.

Around the same time, stores usually offer package deals on products like printers, scanners and other things a student might want to use. Figure out if you really need the product they're trying to include and if it's worth the extra price. Many times the package doesn't necessarily help students, it's just a ploy to try to get you to spend more money.

Want to figure out how digital textbooks can help you? Check out the benefits and disadvantages of switching to digital textbooks!

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