Tip #1 -- Rebates:
A rebate is not always a bargain. Computers with rebates are often close to being discontinued. You may pick up a good deal or purchase technology that's about to become yesterday's news. What's more, stores will often package computers with a bunch of free items to make it look like you're getting more value. Chances are the extras are either poor quality or items you're unlikely to use. Also, they're counting on you to not redeem your rebate, a very common occurrence.
Tip #2 -- Extended Service Warrantees:
Buyer Beware! They're a gamble, but not always a bad idea. If you're purchasing a laptop and you plan to travel a lot, an extended warranty that covers replacement of the monitor/display can be a good gamble. Replacing a display can cost $400-$600, making the warranty worthwhile. On the other hand, if you plan on buying the warranty for routine maintenance; save your money. Oftentimes it can take weeks for the store to send your PC out for service.
Also, remember the store where you purchased your computer does not always do warranty work during the first year, instead you may have to ship it directly to the manufacturer. In general, extended warranties cover electronics [things you can't see]. They don't usually cover physical damage. Most extended warranties have large gray areas, leaving the warranty provider a lot of room to reject claims.
Tip #3 -- Monitors:
Don't throw away your monitor if it's still working properly. Instead, keep it and save a chunk of money by just replacing your old CPU [computer tower]. Monitors last much longer than CPUs and the technology is usually compatible between your old monitor and the new CPU. However, if you're dissatisfied, then monitors, keyboards and mouses are the three tools to spend extra money on, since you use them every day!
Tip #4 -- Networking:
How are you connecting to the Internet? If you're using a high speed Internet connection, such as cable broadband or DSL, you'll want to make sure you have a network card built into your system. If you have a wireless network at home or at the office, save money and installation time by buying the wireless card built right into the computer.
About the Author
Sharron Senter is co-founder of http://www.VisitingGeeks.com - an on site computer repair, security and networking company serving north of Boston, Southern NH and Maine. Visiting Geeks' technicians are crackerjacks at squashing viruses, popups and securing and making computers perform faster. Learn more about Sharron at http://www.SharronSenter.com