Buying a computer is often the beginning of a string of extra expenses, whether it’s software, accessories or a new printer. However, there are several ways to prevent the bill from mounting.
In April, we asked just over a thousand Which? members to share how they cut the cost of home computing. Here are some of their best tips.
- You can see the full range of our members’ money-saving tips by trialling Which? Money for two months for £1.
Get a Best Buy printer for less
You don’t need the latest model of a printer to get excellent quality. Some previous years’ Best Buys are still available and can be significantly cheaper once new models are released. One Which? member saved £75 on the cost of a Canon MX340, which he found on Canon’s official eBay outlet.
If you are buying a new printer in a shop, try haggling. That’s how one member saved £99 in PC World. Armed with the online price of the model she wanted, she asked the salesperson to match it. When they refused, she decided to leave the store – PC World soon changed its tune, matching the price, and offering her free cartridges and paper, too.
Find out more: Best Buy printers – see which printers made the list and compare costs
Use free software and storage
You can protect your PC or Mac from viruses free of charge, with AVG for Mac (a Which? Best Buy) or Avast for PCs, highly rated with a 72% score.
If you do choose a paid-for program, you can still save money by buying online when it’s due to expire instead of renewing via the link in the software.
One member managed to save £38 on a three-year McAfee licence. He compared prices at various retailers online but found the cheapest offer was via McAfee’s website.
Cloud storage is increasingly popular, but you don’t always need to pay for it. Back up the most important documents and photos by creating a Google account and taking advantage of the 15GB free storage on Google Drive.
You can also open a Dropbox account with 2GB of free data and earn another 500MB each time you refer someone to the site.
Try third-party printer ink
Cartridges compatible with branded printers can be bought cheaper from third-party retailers, and most provide a good quality result for text. One member has saved £50 since he started buying Canon cartridges on Inkredible.co.uk.
For photo printing, the quality can vary more, so check the customer scores in our online tables.
Find out more: cheap ink cartridges – the best brands revealed
Pay less for a refurbished laptop
An increasing number of brands and retailers offer refurbished products, which may have been used for display, have minor cosmetic imperfections or been previously owned. You can often buy these through a dedicated section of a company’s website, as well as online retailers such as Ebuyer.
Several members made considerable savings this way, including one who saved £300 on a refurbished Latitude laptop from Dell Outlet. Another member saved £350 on his 27-inch iMac with Retina display through Apple’s certified refurbished store.
Before you buy a refurbished computer, check the retailer’s warranty. Apple offers a one-year guarantee on its refurbished products, while CeX offers two years.
Find out more: refurbished products – our guide recommends the best places to find them