Top Tips for Buying Tech on a Budget

Discover some practical tips & for buying tech on a budget as we take a look at how to make your tech shopping more affordable.

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In today’s fast-paced world, technology and gadgets have become an essential part of our daily lives. From smartphones to laptops, we rely on various tech devices to stay connected, productive and entertained. 

However, keeping up with the latest tech trends can be expensive, and not everyone can afford to buy the newest and most advanced technology. That's why it's important to get the most out of your budget when buying tech. 

In this article, we’ll discuss some tips and tricks to keep the costs low on cutting-edge tech. Whether you’re a student, small business owner, or just someone who wants to save money, these tips will help you stretch your budget to buy the tech you need.

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Refurbished Tech

Buying refurbished is an excellent way to get some nice tech on a budget, especially if you have something specific in mind. These days, most major retailers have refurbished items for sale, whether that through outlets like the Curry's eBay Outlet store, or from refurbished-specific retailers like Back Market. 

Refurbished technology has been previously unboxed or used, and is typically sold at a much lower price than newer counterparts. These old or second-hand devices are usually stripped back, restored to their factory settings and subjected to rigorous testing & inspection so they are basically indistinguishable from their new counterparts.

If you’re buying tech from an established retailer, it's likely that it will still be covered by a warranty or guarantee. This means if something goes wrong with your purchase you can have it repaired or replaced without having to cover the cost, giving you peace of mind when making your purchase.   

Retailers and manufacturers often apply additional discounts and deals on refurbished technology allowing you to save even more. These discounts can range from free shipping, price cuts, discounted accessories or extended warranties. 

If you want to find out more about refurbished tech, our in-depth guide to buying refurbished tech looks at the pros & cons of shopping second-hand, how grading systems work, and where you can buy refurbished devices from to help you make the most of your options.

Outlet Stores

Outlet stores are a great way to help you shop on a budget. Most established technology retailers like Currys, Samsung, Apple and more have outlet stores where tech is often heavily discounted. Stock might include older or discontinued models, open-box devices, & returned or lightly used items. 

As with refurbished items, buying older models can you save you money (and we’ve previously looked at how much buying the last iPhone can save you). Many of these brands will also offer discounts that you won't find anywhere else such as bundle deals, buy-one-get-one free and more. 

Outlets often have seasonal sales on top of their already discounted prices, making it well worth dropping in around holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. However, it's also good to keep in mind that some lesser known sales like ‘Back to School’ will offer savings on the likes of smartphones & laptops that are aimed at helping students. These can be a great opportunity to save even if you aren’t the intended target audience, so check for discounts around the end of terms.

If you want to find out more about the best times to buy different products, including tech, kitchen appliances and other electrical devices, we've also put together a calendar of when you can find the best sales.

Click & Collect

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Delivery on tech products can be quite costly, especially on larger appliances such as TVs where size and weight can have a significant impact on the cost of delivery. To save on delivery fees, we recommend collecting your item in store when possible.  

If you’re lucky enough to be within commutable distance, collecting from a store also eliminates the downsides of waiting for a delivery and having to make sure you’re home to receive your item. This can be especially cost-effective for those of you with busy schedules, as missing a delivery can often incur a re-delivery charge or your item being held at a courier depot.

Sell your Old Tech

A pile of mobile phones ready for recyling

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If, like me, you grew up during the smartphone boom, chances are you have a cupboard full of old chargers, handsets & headphones. Whether you're keeping them for nostalgia or simply don't know what to do with them, selling them or trading them in can be a great way to get some new tech on a budget. 

Most retailers, including Samsung, Currys, and GAME, offer trade-in deals. For example, Samsung regularly run trade-in deals for money off their latest handsets, such as their current deal for £200 off Samsung Galaxy Fold 5 smartphones when you trade in any old smartphone model. 

Trade-in prices can be paid in a number of ways, whether that's store credit, cashback or a discount on your next purchase. Many retailers will still offer you money for items that aren't in new condition, too - just enter your model number and answer some questions on item condition to receive a quote.

Retailers like GAME also offer additional reward scheme bonuses when you trade in, with an extra 10% back on trade-in prices as reward points. The scheme is free to join, so it can be well worth the effort of signing up. If you want more tips on saving on video games, you read our in-depth guide which will help you decide when is the best time to save. 

Accessorise your Tech on a Budget

If you're looking for accessories, you can also buy these at discounted rates. Whether you're after a fast charger, screen protector or case, many retailers will sell items at cheaper rates if they are made for older models. It's also worth considering buying alternative brands, as first-party accessories are often marked up due to the brand identity attached to it. Shopping for third-party accessories can save you money, and many are as functional as first-hand options they emulate. If you aren't sure of a third-party brand or you've not heard of it before, read some customers reviews before you buy so you know what quality to expect and whether it will be worth your money.

Don't Blow your Budget on Extras

When buying new tech, you’ll often be inundated with discounted ‘extras' when you head to the checkout. Retailers often frame these as ‘must-have’ add-ons that help you get the most out of your device, but these extras can quickly drive what was a bargain price up to a more expensive basket value. 

It's important you research devices to make sure you only buy the extras that you need for it to function how you want it to. Find out what kind of headphone & charger port your tech has so you can buy accessories with the right adapter (for example, making sure you buy a lightning adapter charger for an iPhone). Retailers will also push for you to buy matching first-party accessories, but doing some research to find third-party accessory can save you some extra money in the long run.

Check the Reviews

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Checking product reviews is also key to success when buying your tech on a budget. Product reviews are a great way to make sure you’re not falling into a retail trap, especially during a sale, as some retailers use sales to shift undesirable stock. Reviews are also great for learning about a retailer or seller, letting you find out about their return policy, warranties or shipping. Reviews are also key to knowing whether you're buying products from a legitimate business or if you might be at risk of a scam. Just remember if it sounds too good to be true, it often is.

Join Mailing Lists

Staying in the know is a great way to nab some deals if you’re aiming to buy tech on a budget. Joining mailing lists or newsletters from your favourite tech retailers will let you keep up to date with the latest information on product releases, promotions and more. Many newsletters also include exclusive discount codes that you won't find anywhere else. All this information is sent directly to the inbox of your chosen email address. It can be frustrating when your inbox is filled with retailer promotions, so we recommend setting up an inbox specifically for newsletters which you can simply delete after you’ve found your new gadget. 

Shop the Tech Sales

Percentage signs floating around a glowing blue orb marking a discount

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Sales are an obvious way to buy devices on a budget, and there are some key sales to look out for if you want to save on tech. One of the big ones to watch are Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which take place towards the end of November, usually around the last weekend of the month.

Prior to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Amazon also hosts Prime Day, an exclusive members-only sale designed to rival Black Friday. The event usually lasts 48 hours, with plenty of early deals in the run up to the event. The dates change each year, and 2023 saw two separate events take place - one in July & October.

If you want to find out more, we've previously written a guide on what you need to know about Amazon Prime Day where you can read about how the event works. When you're done, you can also read our tips for saving on Amazon Prime Day to help you get the best out of your budget.

However, if Amazon isn't your thing and you don't want to shell out for a Prime subscription to get early access to the sales, Currys, John Lewis & Partners and AO tend to offer great savings during the same sale period. Watch out for unique discounts around the dates of Amazon Prime Day for another chance to save.

While Black Friday and other big sale events across the year can offer some genuine savings, some retailers use Black Friday as a platform to inflate the prices of some stock before applying a ‘discount’ meaning you could possibly pick up the same item much cheaper earlier in the year. It's important to approach Black Friday cautiously and strategically so you don't fall prey to predatory sale practices. If you want to find out more about the event, you can read more in our in-depth guide on how to save on Black Friday.

Joshua Ludewig

Hey! I'm Josh and I started working at MyVoucherCodes in March 2023. Prior to this, I studied at Cardiff Metropolitan University where I completed a Master's degree in Specialist Journalism, I also completed a Bachelor's degree in History at Liverpool John Moores University. My interest in history ultimately rekindled my love of writing, which largely stems from the aspect of deducing motive and subtext from both historical sources and contexts. However, this fascination with critical thinking has now expanded beyond that of the historical, it now pervades many aspects of my interests from the film, video games, and technical fashion to larger societal issues and the efforts being made to combat them through technological advancements. It is my desire to produce media discussing these topics at length and apply critical analysis to them.

When I'm not working, I enjoy reading, listening to music, watching films, and playing games. I'm particularly interested in Welsh history and sci-fi and fantasy genres. I also love attending Europe's biggest gaming convention in Cologne every year and e-skating during the warmer months.

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