Compute the Best Bargain on a New Laptop -- Savings Experiment

Savings Experiment: Laptops
Savings Experiment: Laptops

Inevitably, you'll have to replace your laptop one day, but with so many options on the market, how can you ensure you're getting the best deal? Here are some things to consider before you buy.

First, timing is a factor to keep in mind. The fiscal year for Japanese manufacturers ends in March, so last year's models are often discounted by as much as 20 percent soon after. This is why some tech experts say that April is the best month to buy a laptop.

Shopping online is generally the cheapest way to score a new personal computer, especially at e-retailers like Newegg, Frys and Amazon. If you prefer to make your purchases at a brick-and-mortar store, don't assume that wholesale retailers like Costco or Sam's Club will offer the best deals. At times, stores like Best Buy or Office Depot are better bets for the best prices.

When you're comparing different models, keep in mind that the product cycle for laptops is one year to as short as three months. Newer models may have improvements, but they won't offer significant differences in performance. Previous models can perform 90 percent as well as newer ones, but for half the price.

So, before you open up your wallet for a major purchase like a laptop, do some research. A little effort can make a big difference in savings.

Originally published