How Can International Students Save Money on Computers in the U.S.?

How Can International Students Save Money on Computers in the U.S.?

Computers and laptops take up a large portion of an international student’s budget. In the increasingly tech-dependent world, computers are essentials for education.

However, that does not mean you need to spend more than you can afford on a computer for school.

If you already own a laptop or computer, you can upgrade it for college use. Chances are the cost of upgrading the device in your home country will be less than the cost in the U.S.

However, if you are keen on buying a new device, let us quickly jump to the money-saving tips.

Use Your Student ID

Your student ID can help you save on pretty much everything if you know how to use it correctly. When shopping for laptops and computers in the U.S., make sure that you use your college ID to get student discounts and save a lot of money on the purchase.

Your student ID can also be used to get student discounts on things like restaurants, public transport, and museum entry. Additionally, many health insurance providers have plans specifically for international students, and these plans can help save a lot of money. The insurance will also give you peace of mind and help satisfy university requirements. You can check out the options online, compare them and then make an informed purchase.

Rent Laptops and Computers

There are a lot of companies that offer laptops and computers for rent. This way, you can pay for them monthly instead of with a large sum upfront. Also, this frees you from device maintenance and upgrade expenses.

However, make sure you understand the terms of use and take good care of the device that you have rented to avoid any penalties.

Use the Computers in the Library, Common Rooms, or Residential Halls

In most colleges and universities, you will find computers in the libraries, common rooms or even the residential halls. These computers can be used by the students for course-related tasks.

Make sure you contact the necessary authorities and know the hours and rules for use. Mostly, these computers are free for students, so you’ll be able to save a lot of money by using them. It’s important to understand all the resources your school has to offer in order to succeed on campus.

Look for Sales and Offers

If you are looking to buy a desktop or laptop, you should effectively time your purchase. During the holiday season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, you can find a lot of sales on computers before the spring semester starts. Back-to-school sales can be especially helpful.

Buy Secondhand Computers and Laptops

As with most other items, you can purchase secondhand laptops and computers for a fraction of what they cost new. If you spend some time exploring the market, you can find secondhand computers in good condition.

But before finalizing the deal, make sure you properly check the device for damage to ensure that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on repairs later.

Find Thrifty Deals on Refurbished and Unboxed Products

In some cases, computers with minor faults – or even slight cosmetic defects – get sent back to the manufacturer. The company fixes these products and makes them available for sale. These products are referred to as “refurbished,” “renewed,” or “open-box.”

Refurbished and open-box computers cost significantly less, and show minimal to no signs of use.

Just make sure you get some sort of warranty with the product before purchasing it. E-commerce platforms like Amazon also have dedicated sections for refurbished and open-box products.

Go for Slightly Older Versions

When buying a laptop or computer, make sure you understand your requirements first. Most students use their devices for assignments and research work. If your requirements are not too specific, you can make do with a slightly older version. These typically cost way less than the most up-to-date models, and in many cases, work just fine for students.

Also, you can wait for new product announcements before making a purchase. After the announcement of new models, the prices of older variants are significantly decreased. By waiting for the right time, you can save a lot of money.

Buy Computers/Laptops with Minimum Requirements and Upgrade Later

If you don’t immediately need a laptop or desktop with specific features, you can start out by buying a computer with just the minimum requirements. If and when your needs increase, you can upgrade your device. In most cases, upgrading costs much less than buying a device with every feature built in, since you may not even use all of those features.

Be on the Lookout for Rebates and Discount Coupons

When you are shopping around for computers, keep your eyes open for rebates and discount coupons.

There are specific websites that you can visit to find out about deals and discounts. It will take some time and research, but your bank balance will take a lighter blow with these efforts.

Consider Alternative Devices

If you don’t need all the features and functionalities of a computer, you can also consider alternative devices. For example, if you plan to only use your laptop for research and reading, you can instead choose a tablet. It costs much less and serves the required purpose.

Also, you can use a USB keyboard and attach it to your phone or tablet to make it work somewhat like a desktop.

Analyze if your needs can be fulfilled using alternative devices, as these tend to be cheaper than buying laptops or desktop computers.

Bonus Tip – Cost-Effective Software Solutions

Other than the hardware, you can also save money on the software that you use on your device. This does not mean that you should go for illegitimate copies. You can instead look for cloud or open-source solutions. For example, LibreOffice is a free alternative to Microsoft Office.

Most international students feel that buying a computer for college is a bank-breaker. But with these tips and a little effort on your part, you can get the device that you need for your education without having to break the bank.

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