Save money on tech

Every day I am asked by someone where they can get the cheapest something. One day it is a tablet, the next a computer, and sometimes a phone. Instead of rattling off a website or store name I usually confuse the person by asking them ‘What are you going to do with it?’

That response usually gets me a puzzled look and they have to think for a few minutes to give me an answer. I don’t ask the question to buy me some time or confuse the person. I ask because everyone has a different expectation of what a device should do and how easy it needs to be for their learning curve.

Some people can use a super-cheap no-name tablet and it is fine for them if Angry Birds will work properly. Others may want email, word processing, games, movies, video editing and more. These different needs point to very different directions in price and brand of device that I will suggest for each person.

No matter what product I suggest for someone I will almost always offer an added piece of advice – buy discounted. Yes, it seems to be common sense to some of you reading this but not everyone is willing to pay less for the same product. These people assume that because they paid full retail for technology it is somehow better. In most cases they only waste money for imagined status.

Computer chips, transistors, resistors and other parts are mass-manufactured. Some are of higher quality, but they are all produced in quantity. This is how everyone can have a smartphone without paying a lot of money. When you pay full retail for something you are only giving more money to a company that paid the same price for chips in your device and the one selling online for $50 less. That doesn’t make good sense.

My first stop of sites to check for discounts is . They are a ‘super’ deal site. This means that they find deals from hundreds of websites across the Internet and post them all for you to read and use in one place. Don’t think that TechBargains only has technology. They also have great deals on clothes, shoes, and services that might save you money as well. Through the TechBargain website I have spent less on my new laptop, solid state drives for our laptops, shoes, and even flashlights.

If you are looking for cables, don’t buy those expensive brands. Digital cables (HDMI, etc.) operate or they don’t. The signal gets there or it doesn’t. Buying a more expensive cable only spends your money. The only possible reason I can see for using expensive digital cables is that they might withstand bending and twisting a little better – might. Otherwise, go to and pick up whatever cables you need. Their choices are inexpensive, but not cheap quality.

If you have to buy Apple products, be sure to keep an eye on their clearance and outlet store. The link for it is at the bottom left when you are shopping on their site. When you buy refurbished from Apple you get the same warranty as new, but for hundreds of dollars less than you can buy anywhere else.

Finally, don’t forget to check your local store discount and clearance tables. I was very lucky and bought my wife’s Dell XPS (high-end) laptop for $450 when it normally retails for $1,200. Granted this great of a deal is the exception and not the rule, but if you are patient you can find good deals by looking around at different locations.

Do you have a place or way to find great deals? Email me at or find me on Twitter @DanVoyles.