By Ernest J. Muhammad
There has never been a better time than now to get some of the best deals on computers and other electronic equipment. Technology usually starts out at a high price and as time goes by, it usually decreases in price. But what I have seen lately is many products hitting the market at pretty reasonable prices from the start. No question about it: This is a buyers market for sure!
As shopping on the Internet gets safer, more people are “taking the plunge” to use their hard-earned money to make a purchase over the Internet. The Net is where a consumer can find tremendous savings, if they have knowledge of some of the money-saving sites out there. One of the first things a person should do is compare the prices of different online stores.
Sites such as pricegrabber.com, techbargains.com, nextag.com and streetprices.com will help you decide which stores with the same item have the lowest price. The price difference can sometimes be $500 to $1,000, depending on the item.
Let’s do some comparison shopping online to see how it works. We can pretend that you are in need of a laptop; something that I believe everyone should try to own because a laptop computer makes you more efficient with your work, more versatile and it has the potential of connecting you to the entire world wherever you are.
Go to www.mysimon.com, which is another good price comparison site, and do a search for laptops or notebooks. Make sure that you choose “Computers and Electronics” as a category. You will see the following: See all results matching “laptops.” Click on this link.
Let’s say you’re looking for an HP nx6110 laptop. Locate the item and then click on “compare prices.” This will give you a price comparison for about 15 stores with a price difference from $549 to $799. That’s a saving of $250!! Make sure that you compare each store because one store may offer free shipping or a free extended warranty. The same thing can be also done with cameras, cell phones, movies, clothing and even cars. When placing an order, always check to see if the order page has a web address that starts with “https.”
For example, if I go to www.bestbuy.com and find an item to purchase, the next thing I would do is click on the “check out” button, which will bring me to a page that asks for my personal information. The top of my web browser showing the web address will look something like this: https://www-ssl.bestbuy.com/
The “s” in https stands for secure. I don’t want you to think that all sites that have this is a reputable company, but this is the first thing to look for when you are asked to give out your personal information over the Internet.
Keep in mind that many existing retail stores also have deep discounts on many computer items at certain times of the year, but if you’re trying to beat the hustle-and-bustle of shopping at a store, just sit in your easy chair and buy from the comfort of home.
(Ernest J. Muhammad is the assistant IT admistrator at The Final Call Administration Building. He may be reached at [email protected].)