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Saving Money and Aggravation When Buying Electronics

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Saving Money and Aggravation When Buying Electronics   

Erick R Williams (2012)   

Purchasing a digital camera, HDTV, or other reasonably expensive electronics can be a daunting task.  There are specifications to take into consideration, brand, warranty, and price to consider.  The sales process at a brick and mortar store can further complicate the process as the sales person may not have the same goals as you.  With that in mind, let’s look at how we can simply the process at bit and remove a measure of anxiety.   

Buying Online:  The best price is often going to be online as these folks have lower overhead and often have greater buying power.  It pays to do lots of price comparisons among the B&M stores and the online stores.  Stores such as Amazon also have very generous return policies and you will most often not pay shipping or sales tax.     

Product Specifications:  A product boasting high performance specifications are not necessarily the best deals.  You need to do a little research about camera sensors , HDTV resolutions, and other important specs.  An inexpensive digital camera with a 16MB sensor is not very useful if that sensor is tiny whereas a 12MP camera with a larger sensor might be better.  A little research goes a long way.   

Add-ons:  Brick and Mortar stores try to increase profit margins on sales by talking you into buying very high profit items such as pricey memory cards (these stores will charge twice or three times the price for a digital camera memory card as you would pay online).  $50 HDMI cables are another pricey add-on.   That HDMI cable at or at $5 is just as good.  While a good quality surge suppressor is a good idea for protecting electronics, you don’t need to spend $50 or more.  Again, shop around and you’ll find the best price online.  If the best price for an HDTV or a camera happens to be at a local store you should consider buying your add-ons at or a similar online store.   

Extended Warranties:  Most electronics will fail well within the 30 day to one  year warranty that covers most electronics.  The warranties pushed by stores are very,  very expensive.  If you really want an extended warranty consider Square Trade warranties.  I’ve had good experience with them both buying and the one time I had to make a claim.  Square Trade will be 50% to as much as 90% cheaper than the warranty offered by a store.  

Brands:  If the brand is unfamiliar to you than go online and “google” the brand name and the word “review” to see what other folks have experienced.  Keep in mind that people are often far more motivated to relate a negative experience than a positive experience.  Amazon has great reviews and if a product has hundreds of reviews than you have a treasure trove of data about that manufacturer.   

These are a few areas  to consider when buying electronics.  There are other areas but I wanted to focus on what I thought were the most important.  Good luck on your quest and keep in mind that the buying process can be a lot of fun if you do some research ahead of time and simply be patient: Impulse buying is generally an expensive behavior.
erick99 posted Feb 22, 2012

Nice, i like buying online, same quality with low price. hah.

Sophialove (rep: 59) posted Feb 22, 2012


Love the Buying Online

Maxilaserpointer (rep: 6) posted Feb 23, 2012


I am amazed at how much I spend online at Amazon. I buy the Prime membership (with a .edu email address you can pay 1/2 price for four years) and I get almost everything in two days. Amazon's prices are amazing. I even buy paper towels and toilet paper there (though I have to buy 24 rolls at a time) as they handily beat the local grocery stores.

erick99 (rep: 432k) posted Feb 23, 2012


i buy almost everything online, always wait for free shipping and sales!

PaperRocket (rep: 24) posted Feb 23, 2012