There are plenty of things I do to save money that people may consider a bit odd. I cut my own hair, I put a bucket in the shower with me and use the excess water for my plants, and I clip coupons like there’s no tomorrow. Does that qualify me as a money-saving geek? If so, there are certainly worse things to be called. My love for saving money happily extends across a wide range of products and services, and chief among them are electronic gadgets. If you buy a lot of them – and geeks usually do – read on for some advice on how to cut your costs.
1. Track the Price
Just like you might track the price of a plane ticket, you can save money by tracking tech gadget prices, as well. Do it manually by visiting a few retailer websites several times a week, or use the website CamelCamelCamel which, although it’s strictly limited to Amazon inventory, can give you a good idea of when to pull the trigger on a gadget.
2. Double or Even Triple Coupons
Plenty of people out there are too embarrassed to use coupons, although I’m certainly not one of them. In fact, I’ve been known to use two or even three coupons for a single purchase. Several websites and retailers let you “stack” coupons, and Staples is one of the most popular. Sign up for email updates to get online coupons sent straight to your inbox. Use a $100-off coupon for a Windows 8 laptop, add in a coupon for $5 off a $50 purchase, and check online at sites like RetailMeNot for even more coupon codes. Target and Walmart also allow coupon stacking, so be sure to try those options too.
3. Use Mail-In Rebates
Mail-in rebates are another great way to save on tech gadgets, but they mostly apply to laptop computers and PC accessories. If you need one of these items, pay for it online, fill out a form, and mail it in with a UPC code to get your cash back. It’s money-saving geekiness at its finest.
4. Go Old-School
With the PS4 out, maybe you can keep that $600 in your pocket and find yourself a classic, old-school video game system, like a Nintendo 64, Sega Genesis, or an original Playstation. You and your geek friends can have hours of fun playing Galaga, Asteroids, and Space Invaders.
5. Swap With Other Geeks
Here’s an idea to cut your costs: Go and buy the PS4 when it comes out, then have one of your geek buddies get the Xbox One when it hits the market. Once you’re both tired of your systems, switch them out and keep on playing. It’s like owning two video game systems for the price of one.
Once you’ve maximized your savings, make sure you use them wisely. If you don’t have an emergency fund, start building one now. You never know when unexpected medical expenses or employment changes may hit. If you’ve got credit card debt, pay that down immediately. If your near-term goals are taken care of, think about starting to save for retirement, or open a 529 college savings fund for your child’s education. Conserving all the money you can is great, but it’s only truly beneficial if you put it to good use.
Can you think of any geeky ways to save money?
Rich Hobbs is a tech writer who focuses on saving money and getting the most bang for your buck.