Saving money on technology purchases; Issue #242 August 16, 2011

PowerPoint Tip: Saving money on technology purchases

According to retail statistics, this time of year is now more popular for technology buying than Christmas. The back-to-school purchases for those heading to high school or college/university often include technology such as computers, software, tablets, and smartphones. Our kids have been using PowerPoint in school since grade 3, so we know how important technology is in schools today. Since we are all looking for ways to save money when making these large purchases, this article is about legitimate ways to reduce how much you spend when making technology purchases.

Computer manufacturers have recognized the importance of getting students hooked on their brand early, so a number of them offer special educational stores as part of their offerings. Apple has an educational part of their website that offers discounted prices on many computers and tablets. The discounts are also available in their stores. Dell offers a student centre where you can save on their laptops and desktops. Check with your preferred supplier to see if they offer discounts for students, and ask retailers what offers may be available at the store.

Software vendors also offer discounts in different ways. Microsoft, Adobe, and other vendors often offer student pricing through retail stores, or offer special student versions of software. If your son or daughter is attending a college or university, the computer store or book store on campus often will offer some of the popular software at drastically reduced prices for student use. Some even offer these discounts through online services where you can download the software after providing a valid educational institution e-mail address. Sometimes buying the software you need with the computer can save you money as well.

For any of these technology purchases, look for non-cash ways to pay. Converting loyalty points or airline points is a popular approach. We have converted airline points into gift cards for a retailer and then purchased the technology at the store using the gift cards. You may also be able to convert these points into gift cards for a mall that allows you to use the gift card at any store in the mall, even Apple stores. Look at the web site for the points programs that you belong to in order to see what your options are.

You also may be able to get discounts because you belong to a club or association. Many associations have negotiated discounts with certain suppliers, including technology companies. Sometimes the association or club gets a percentage of the discount as a bonus, so you help them out as well. Check the member benefits area on the web sites of the clubs or associations you are a member of to see what discounts might be available.

Because technology costs so much, some people are tempted to download software illegally or use other means to acquire what they want. You don’t need to take those routes. By taking some time to investigate what discounts are available, you can save from a few percent to over half on some of your technology purchases. Some of these discounts are available all year long, not just at this back-to-school time of the year, so you should keep these ideas in mind no matter when you purchase technology.