Refurbished electronics a smarter way to save money

Are you one of those people who have to buy the latest high-tech gadget, even though you bought the previous generation model just last year? Then you are not much interested in saving money on electronics. If, on the other hand, you’re like me, you have issues keeping up with the latest electronic gadgetry. These things always cost a fortune when they first hit the market. If you can be patient, your patience will save you money!

Take televisions for example. My husband had to have a new HD compatible flat screen 1080p television. It cost nearly $2,500 at the time. Today you can find the same thing for $299.

Another way to save on electronics is by buying a refurbished product. According to Best Buy, refurbished electronics go through the same testing and approval processes that new units go through. We are all conditioned these days that it is friendly to the environment when we recycle and reuse. (I like that it is not just referred to as ‘being cheap’.)

My first venture into the refurbished market came years ago when I went looking for an iPod Nano for my son. The Nano had just come out and he wanted one for Christmas. Being the dutiful mother that I am, I bought the new, high-priced item for him, and even had it engraved to possibly help protect it from theft. Hmmmmm, didn’t work. It was stolen from his car, along with speakers, golf clubs and other items. Most were replaced through insurance, but the iPod was the deductible cost. As another Christmas approached I couldn’t bring myself to pay full price for an item I had already purchased once before, so I checked the Apple refurbished website: store.apple.com/ca/browse/home/specialdeals. There I was able to purchase the same iPod Nano (minus the engraving) for almost half of the original price. The ‘Apple Certified, Good as New’ products are tested and include a one-year warranty. I am happy to say he is still using that same iPod eight years later.

Having had such a good experience, I have ventured on to Future Shop and Best Buy. At the Future Shop website, the refurbished items can be found under ‘Clearance and Online’. At Best Buy, they are listed under ‘Special Offers’. Both of these sites offer the option to add an item to a price watch. The company will send you an email if the item you are interested in has had a further reduction in price. I used this to purchase a Kobo e-reader for my husband.

We had bought a Kobo with Wi-Fi and I was enjoying it. But it became apparent that some of the books I had loaded, my husband wanted to read, but I wasn’t willing to give up ‘my’ Kobo for the time it would take him to read the book. I also realized he wouldn’t need the Wi-Fi necessarily if he just downloaded the books I already bought and loaded onto our computer. I looked up a first-generation  Kobo – the one without Wi-Fi – on the Best Buy refurbished site, found one for $69.99, and added it to the price watch. When it was reduced to $49.99, I bought it. (Researching for this article, I noticed that the refurbished Kobo with Wi-Fi is now available for $69.99.)

I also purchased an HP netbook about four years ago from the Best Buy refurbished site. It only cost $189, and has worked well since. I have had no issues with it being refurbished, especially since it was significantly lower than netbooks were selling for new at the time.

My advice is not to be afraid of refurbished, but buy from a reputable dealer that will back the product, or offer you a warranty. You can get lemons even when you are buying new. Buying a refurbished product will save you money and help the environment. That has to make you feel good!


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