How to save money on big ticket electronics

Whether you're toying with buying a new living room flatscreen, or getting ready to spring for the latest video game console your kids have been pining for, it's a good time to be shopping for electronics. This being the end of the year, retailers are about to get antsy about clearing out their inventories, and will be baiting us with some big-time sales. To maximize your dollars, read on for a range of money-saving strategies to keep in mind before you pull the trigger.

Comparison Shop. This goes without saying at this point, but you should check several different retailers, both bricks-and-mortar and online, to see how prices vary from one place to another. The internet is the best place to start. Use sites like pricegrabber.com, shopping.com, google.com, and fatwallet.com to see what deals are out there. Make sure to factor in shipping costs and taxes when comparing prices.

Double-Check For Coupons and Rebates. Lots of manufacturers offer mail-in rebates on top of a store's sale price, or sometimes stores even offer special coupons that might not be well-advertised. Go online to the manufacturer's site to search for rebates, or Google the name of the store you're shopping at followed by "coupon code" to see if you can unearth any hidden discounts. You can also try searching on techbargains.com, a site that specializes in unearthing deals on gadgets.

Buy Refurbished. You can save a bundle by purchasing previously owned gadgets, and often times you can score up-to-date models in like-new condition. They're usually not on display, so be sure to ask a salesperson for options if you're interested in exploring this route. To protect yourself from buying a lemon, you'll want to get one from a reputable retail store, and ask for a warranty of at least 30 days.

Floor Models. Since stores constantly need to update their displays, they often sell old floor models at steep discounts. Just be sure you're getting all related remote controls and user manuals, and make sure you've got some warranty coverage here too.

Ask For Castoffs. There are plenty of occasions when people return things to stores without having even used them, and if the box has been opened, you might benefit by scoring a good deal. Ask salesclerks if there are any lingering open-box items you might be able to save on-and again, the only trick here to is make sure you have some kind of warranty to back up your purchase.

Discontinued Items. With manufacturers debuting products constantly, stores end up marking down discontinued models to make way for the new ones. You might be missing out on a few bells and whistles, though assuming you're not a hardcore tech geek, this might be a small sacrifice considering the price.


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