Refurbished, Used, New: How Do You Buy Your Electronics?

July 30, 2014

I’m very weary of buying computers and cell phones. I don’t believe that my phones will last more than a couple of years and I have two young kids that REALLY like my laptop. I’m also a klutz. If I have a phone it will hit the ground pretty regularly and once I’ve even crushed my screen with a chair leg. My first laptop has been soaked with a full water bottle in my back pack that wasn’t capped off properly. Strangely enough, it still works… if it’s plugged in. (I think that technically makes it a desktop computer at this point.)

So for those of you out there that have the same concerns and/or thrifty ways, here are some tips on saving money when you are looking into getting a new computer or phone.


I’m an Apple girl and I have been for years. I have purchased two MacBooks, two iPhones, and an iPod through the Apple website. All refurbished--including the laptop mentioned above. Apple has a student discount and refurbished items have the same warranty as a new product so there really isn’t anything to lose. For the PC fans out there, Dell also offers a student discount and has an Outlet page that includes scratch and dent and refurbished products. No matter what your preferred computer system is, checking out your options is worth the time.

Check your cell phone carrier for refurbs. My refurbished iPhone before this one was through my carrier and I didn’t have any issues with it. Two years ago, I purchased a new iPhone from my carrier. Should be fine, right?  To be honest, I’ve never had so much trouble with a phone in my life. I had to take the first one back in two days later because the vibrate feature didn’t work and the replacement has definitely had its share of problems. That experience has made me want to stay with refurbs.

Older models:

Where most of the world loves getting the newest and best, I love it when the newest comes out because I can get the previous model for cheaper. With phones, it all depends on what you want and what type of plan you are on but I’ve never paid more than $50 for a smart phone and that was only once.

That said, some people are dead set on getting the newest and the best. If you are willing to give that up for something that was considered the newest and best six months ago, this is the way to go. It’s just like when car dealerships sell the previous year’s models for cheap to get through their inventory and make room for the new models. I’m always looking for more bang for my buck and some of the little feature changes that they have with computers, tablets, and phones don’t appeal to me. Find the product that suits you and your needs and cut back on the bells and whistles where you are willing.


This is definitely a buyer beware option. There are a slew of online businesses that sell used computers and cell phones and you can even find some on sites like Craigslist. One thing you need to watch out for with cell phones is whether or not they are unlocked. Some are advertised as such but then you receive a locked phone without a way to get key information from the seller, your money is gone, and no one can help. Be sure that you buy from a reputable seller and confirm that the phone is unlocked before you buy. Have a safety in place so you don’t lose your money on a phone you can’t use.

Do your research. Make sure you are getting what you need and not just getting what you think is cool or you may end up being disappointed. When it comes to phones, you need to look at what kind of plan you have and what option suits you best. It’s possible that a brand new phone will get you a better deal depending on how they work. Look into all of your options and you may find that sometimes a little leg work will be worth it in the long-run.

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