Electronics are some of the most in-demand holiday gifts for people of all ages, from wearable tech and new computers to TVs and gaming stations. Of course, these are also often the biggest of the big-ticket items, that come with the highest price tags.
How can you shop for electronics without spending way outside your budget? These experts suggest a variety of ways.
Set a Clear Budget
Brad Godwin, Senior Vice President at Shopkick, pointed out that according to its recent holiday expectations data, the majority of consumers (63 percent) say inflation and the looming recession have impacted the way they plan to shop for the holidays. “Setting a clear budget before you begin shopping and sticking to it will help you feel comfortable with what you’re spending.”
Pay Attention to Return Policies
Prices are not the only things that change during Black Friday, Godwin added. “Many stores have different return policies that either restrict or enable your ability to return items. For gifts that must be tried on, such as clothes, make sure you know the retailer’s policies so you don’t get stuck with an unusable purchase.”
Delay Until 2023
Certain items have greater sales around different holidays or big events entirely, Godwin said, so it might be worth waiting. “TVs are better to buy around the Super Bowl, power tools go with Father’s Day, furniture on Presidents’ Day, and jewelry around Mother’s Day. If you’re looking for one of these items and can stand to wait a few months, you’ll get it at a better price.”
Plan Ahead and Shop Around
Gregory Lorenzo, chief financial officer for investment firm IBR, recommends going into your shopping with a clear idea of what you want. “Know what you want. Before you start shopping, make a list of the items you want to buy. This will help you stay focused and avoid impulse buys.”
He also recommends you shop around. “Don’t just buy from the first store you find. Compare prices from different stores to get the best deal.”
Use a Shopping Guide
Don’t try to guess at the best deals out there. Lorenzo said, “There are a number of websites that offer shopping guides for electronics. These guides can help you find the best deals and the best products.”
Don’t feel like you have to get out in person and duke it out with the masses. According to Lorenzo, “Shopping online can be a great way to save money on electronics. Many online stores offer discounts and deals that you won’t find in brick-and-mortar stores.”
Additionally, Lorenzo cautioned patience. “Don’t rush into a purchase. The best deals often come around later in the holiday season.”
Shop at These Stores
The best places to shop for electronics include Amazon, which offers discounts on a variety of products with a wide selection; Best Buy, which offers discounts on popular products along with a wide variety; and Walmart, which Lorenzo called “a great place to shop for budget-friendly electronics.”
Don’t just use one reward to purchase new electronics, said Travis Lindemoen, Managing Director of Nexus IT Group. Instead, use a combination of credit and loyalty cards to maximize rewards during the holidays without going over budget.
“In order to maximize the savings, points, and cash back you get when shopping, you can ‘stack’ your rewards from different programs. Using a credit card that offers cash back when making purchases can be combined with a browser extension that offers cash back while making online purchases to maximize your savings.”
Purchase Last Year’s Electronics
Not everyone needs the most recent electronics. If you want to save cash for the year, you can cut costs by buying last year’s stockpile, said Carl Jensen, founder of Compare Banks.
“You can also save a lot of money by acquiring a previous version of a mobile or digital gadget that was the most up-to-date just a few months earlier.”
Do Your Research
“Honey provides historical pricing, which is a great way to see if you are getting a good price now or if you should wait. It will also let you know if there are coupons or cashback available. If you decide to wait, enter the name of the item in Honey’s Droplist, and you’ll be notified when it goes on sale.”
Use the Right Credit Card
Bodge also recommends looking at the benefits your credit cards offer. “Do they offer cash back on your retail purchases? If not, it might be time to switch. For example, the Bread Cashback American Express from Bread Financial offers a flat 2% cash back on all purchases, a helpful benefit if what you are buying is several hundred dollars.”
Many retailers carry stock of gently used or open-box items that will be far less expensive than new, Bodge explained. “Make sure the item is certified and comes with a warranty. Some retailers that offer this are MPB.com, which specializes in camera and videography equipment, and eBay, Best Buy, and Amazon have a broad range of used tech.”
Look For Other Discounts
Another way to save money is to take advantage of discounts you may be entitled to if you are a college student, teacher, senior citizen, veteran or active military, or a member of a group like AARP, Bodge said.
More From GOBankingRates