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Consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch offers some guidance on how to preserve your new electronics so that you receive the maximum amount of money in a buy-back program. Here are her eight tips to defeat depreciation!
1. Use the News
Nothing kills the excitement of a brand new gadget like discovering a price drop days after you've opened the box. In fact, many holiday shoppers are suffering through this exact scenario, thanks to recent price drops in several popular tablets. Avoid getting stuck in this predicament by tracking the news on products you're planning to buy. Big cuts are usually announced or rumored in advance, to help stimulate sales. You can also check for relevant price trend features at dealnews, to see if there's a likelihood that the device of your dreams will soon see a big cut.
2. Read Reviews
User reviews are a great place to start your electronics education. Poorly reviewed items are usually the first to plummet in value, since manufacturers need to unload such inventory to make room for new, higher-quality products. Plus, if they have a bad reputation, fewer people are going to want them. Scanning user reviews will help identify common problems so you can steer clear of troublesome products.
3. Cut the Initial Cost
There's no secret formula to preserving value, but there are plenty of ways to cut your initial costs. Any dealnews reader knows that numerous stores and manufacturers periodically offer special discounts and promotions on their products, so some patience — and a customized deal email alert — will help you spend less from the start. Also, when making high-dollar buys in person, don't shy away from haggling, either. Most items include a certain amount of mark-up, and most managers would rather sacrifice a few dollars than lose the sale altogether. Just make sure to do some price research before you go, and be prepared to buy if the merchant meets your demands.
4. Protect What You've Got
You don't have to coddle your iPad like a newborn, but keeping it protected pays off in the long run. Simple actions, like adding a screen protector and case, ensures a longer, healthier life for your gadget. Taking care of your portable electronics also helps preserve any resale value you hope to get in the future.
5. Quality Matters
Though low price tags can tempt even the most careful consumer, it's best to avoid the cheapest of the cheap if selling the item later is important to you. When you're already laying out a good chunk of change, it's often worth spending a little more for quality: a Forbes article notes that Apple products tend to retain their value best, in comparison to other computers and electronics.
6. Wait it Out
At some point you have to put a price tag on bragging rights, since electronics are never at a higher price than when they're brand new. Is making your friends green with envy over your 3D HDTV really worth the money? Although dealnews frequently finds deals on still-fresh technology like 3D, that extra dimension consistently costs 40% to 50% more than standard 2D. Ignore the hype for new releases and wait for the technology to see the natural price drops that come with age and greater competition. (For example, 3D has dropped significantly in price since its debut, but it's set to become a lot more affordable once Westinghouse joins in on the game later this year, priming the market for more aggressive deals from even top brands.) While the waiting seems interminable, you'll gain a good understanding of the item's quality and can still keep an eye out for special offers and sales.
7. The Old Switcheroo
One of the best ways to enhance the value of your electronics is by making a trade. Your 2-year-old HDTV is as good as trash to a major retailer, but someone just upgrading from tube technology would consider it a treasure. Using sites like Swap.com or even Craigslist to trade unwanted items lets you assign your own value and keep unnecessary waste out of landfills.
8. Beware of Buybacks
Many popular merchants now offer buyback programs that promote value preservation for customers. However, some of these programs are quite counterproductive and come with many restrictions. For example, the maximum possible payout from Best Buy's program is only 50%, and that's within the first six months. The retailer's program also requires you to pay a fee to participate, and discretionary details, like product condition, can significantly detract from an item's resale value. When considering a buyback program, look for one that doesn't cost extra and provides payment in cash, not just store credit.
No matter how hard you try, you won't be able to defeat the depreciation of your electronics. But with some research, and proper care from the moment of purchase, throughout your ownership, and into the selling stages of your device's lifespan, you'll have a better chance of squeezing the most value out of your older purchase.