Lookign To Buy a Cheap Laptop? Here’s what you need to keep in Mind

If you are perennially a price-conscious shopper, shopping for laptops has to be a unique experience. No other part of the electronics shopping experience ever encounters the kind of roller coaster of temporary discounts and sales that shopping for cheap laptops does. This article has been provided by Andrew of Pisys.net – a leading IT support company based in Aberdeen, Scotland.

The most important part to finding cheap laptops is this – you really need to know your stuff.  It can be easy to take a quick look at the specs on the machine and think you’re getting great value. If you don’t really pay attention to everything, you could be missing a hidden unimpressive spec.

Well, here are a few tips on how to understand the market for cheap laptops. Go in armed with these tips, you should find yourself a lot better equipped to tell the good deals from the bad.

As you might expect, retailers put various brands and models of laptop on sale in the discount area because usually, they’re trying to clear out space for more recent inventory. Sometimes, they just have to do that because they have B-stock – that’s the term they use for floor display models that they would like to get rid of or units returned by the customer for some minor reason. All of these are sold as refurbished products. And of course, they couldn’t sell this kind of thing at full retail.

So that’s an interesting term you usually come across when you’re hunting for cheap laptops – refurbished. What exactly is a refurbished computer? Well, as you just read in the last paragraph, these are usually units that are either returned by a customer for no real reason or ones that have been sitting on the shelves as display models.

They typically go over these computers carefully to see that there’s nothing wrong with them, wipe the hard drive and reinstall all software, and they sell it. There’s really nothing much to it. They just have to slap the “Refurbished” label on it because they have to by law if it isn’t completely new.

One thing you need to do before you go out shopping, you need to do your research. To make sure that you remember the specifications at the store, keep those specs written down on paper. You don’t have to worry about how cheap laptops are somehow less durable or anything. They use the same quality standards more or less.  At their best, cheap laptops are merely marked down for no good reason – the manufacturer decided to overhaul the look of their laptops or something.

And do remember – if you are buying refurbished, make sure that you check to see that you’re offered the full guarantee.

So We’ve Been Looking At Buying A New Car

Well, something has happened that has forced us into getting a new car. My wife’s car had decided to accelerate on it’s own and cause a minor accident. This incident caused us to feel unsafe driving the vehicle, which drove our decision to trade in the vehicle for a new one. I thought I would never buy a brand new car again, but in this case we were able to rationalize it pretty easily, which, fiscally, scares me a bit .

As I mentioned, we purchased a brand new car even though we wanted to lease – these guys were pretty good www.leasingexperts.co.uk but, ultimately the lure of buying a new car was just too great. We didn’t set out intending to buy new, but in the end it made sense (kind of? hopefully? Am I just trying to make myself feel better?). When we first went out looking we intended to buy a 13 year old SUV that had the equivalent towing capacity of my wife’s current car. This would have cost us around $18,000-$21,000 depending on brand, mileage, and amenities.

Research

Due to the “surprise” need for a new vehicle, we didn’t have one particular model in mind that we really knew we wanted. Thus we set out to test drive a bunch of vehicles quickly. We tried the following:

2008 Ford Galaxy – A little underpowered, and the fuel economy was not quite what I would expect from that size of a vehicle. The 2011 model got an engine upgrade, but we never got around to trying one that new. This vehicle was also a bit smaller cargo wise that my wife’s prior car.

Nissan Murano – I can’t remember what year we tried. The car actually drove and rode very nice, but it had a CVT transmission. I’m anti-CVT .

2011 Kia Sorrento – I was very impressed with this vehicle. It had a high level of base amenities, drove very sporty, and was priced very competitively. But alas, I think it was the smallest of the SUVs that we tried.

Honda Pilot – Ugh. This was a truck in a shiny package. Drove terrible, rode terrible, underpowered, poor MPG. Overall the one we liked the least.

2011 Ford Explorer – The 2011 model year was a complete overhaul for the Explorer. It became a crossover instead of a truck based SUV. This improved MPG without sacrificing too much tow capacity. This, or something similar, would probably what we would have decided to purchase if we had “planned” on getting a vehicle when we were ready to upgrade Anne’s car.  And so the rationalization began….Rationalization

We saw in a dealer’s online inventory that they had a used 2011 Explorer, so we tried to schedule a test drive but it was sold already. Instead we tried a brand new one just to get a feel for the vehicle. We loved it, and unfortunately didn’t have much time to wait for another reasonably priced used one to pop up. We didn’t want a pre-2011 model because it was truck based and would likely have liked it about as much as the Honda Pilot. The post-2011 models are an upgrade in cargo capacity, people capacity, and tow capacity for us. This would allow us to upgrade our camper in the future to something larger without requiring a new vehicle. It would also give us room to grow our family. Knowing what I know now about all the stuff you have to haul around with kids, this was important.

This got me looking into current incentives on the 2012 Ford Explorers. It turned out they had $1,000 cash back, $500 trade in bonus, $500 recent graduate discount that I qualified for, and I got a $300 discount through my work at a local dealer. This dealer also happened to have “take it or leave it” pricing, so I knew their prices and also knew that I would actually be getting the discounts without having to negotiate price. After all of the cash back incentives, it turned out I could purchase brand new for ~$1200 more than what that same dealer charged for the used 2011 model that they had already sold. I felt that was a reasonable trade to make to get a brand new vehicle that I knew no one had abused.Trading In vs. Selling

Normally I would sell an old vehicle when purchasing another to not take the value loss that you get when trading in. However, due to our safety concerns about my wife’s old vehicle, we felt we had a moral dilemma about selling it to someone face-to-face. Therefore we decided to take the “loss” and trade it in to make ourselves feel slightly better, even though we know someone else will still be driving it in the future. So overall I think I lost $2-3k that I could have gotten had I sold it, but sometimes life gives you lemons that you just can’t make lemonade with.Results

The end result is we have a new vehicle that we will be tracking at cost until Kelly Blue Book starts to track used 2012 car values. The total cost, after incentives but before trade-in, was $28,652 for us. After trade-in, tax, and an additional $3,000 down payment, we have ended up financing ~$13,700. We went with a 5 year loan at 3.39% to keep the payments low. This will help keep our cash flow up to continue investing and saving for the down payment on our next house, while giving us the option to pay extra on the loan and pay it down sooner.

Wow that’s an expensive car, but I think it was the right decision for the long term.