My Christmas present to myself this year was a new Dell laptop. Well, I say it was a Christmas present to myself, but I plan on using it strictly for business, so it was really a business expense that came around Christmas. Those details aside, I’ll share with you how I saved almost $250 on my new Dell laptop. It’s easy, and you can do the same thing.
Why Dell? There are several reasons why I chose Dell for my new computer. I first had to decide between a MacBook and a PC, and in the end I chose PC. Then I had to determine which features were important to me on a PC. One of the most important factors was the OS – I did not want Vista. Dell is one of the few companies that still offers new computers with Windows XP. I was able to purchase a Dell small business computer with Windows XP Professional (it also came with a copy of Windows Vista that I can upgrade to later).
How to get the best deal on a Dell Computer
Whether you want a laptop or a desktop, you can always find a deal on a Dell computer. The key is knowing where to look. The short version is to see if you are eligible for an Employee Purchase Program (EPP) through your work, school, or via a spouse or relative. Sign in through your EPP and determine how much money you can save. Then try the following method and compare your costs. For me, the following method saved me more money than I would have saved through my EPP.
Sign up for Ebates
Ebates is an online rebate company that gives users rebates on online purchases made through their portal (Ebates review). Ebates offers rebates ranging from 1-4% on Dell computers, depending on the deals available at the time and whether you buy a made to order computer or a computer from their outlet. I recommend buying from their outlet as you’ll soon see.
Visit the Dell Outlet
There are two different Dell Outlets: Dell Outlet Home & Home Office and Dell Outlet Business & Education. I recommend visiting the business and education outlet because the Dell Business computers have a couple advantages over the home and home office computers: they are usually priced slightly lower, and they don’t come with the bloatware (software addons and trialware) that Dell home computers are notorious for including.
Don’t have a business? Don’t worry; You just need to create an account with Dell. If they ask, you can tell them you have a sole proprietorship and you plan on using your computer to work from home. You can use your name as the name of your business (just like signing up for a business credit card).
Select your computer from the Dell Outlet
The Dell Outlet classifies their computers as Previously Ordered New, Certified Refurbished, and Scratch and Dent. All three types are tested, fully guaranteed, and come with a full warranty.
Previously Ordered New. Dell’s business model is a “Pull” business model, which means they ship computers as they are ordered – that way they don’t have to store inventory (which ties up resources). Previously Ordered New Computers were ordered new and either never shipped because the order was canceled or the computer was returned before it was turned on. This computer is brand new and has no defects.
Certified Refurbished. These computers were returned for a defect, which has since been repaired and tested. These computers come with the full manufacturer’s warranty.
Scratch and Dent. These computers are just what the name implies – they have a cosmetic blemish. Unfortunately, you don’t know what the blemish is until you receive it.
I have saved money buying refurbished electronics in the past, but this time I purchased a Previously Ordered New computer, which is new. Dell discounts these computers so they do not have to keep them in storage until someone orders a new computer with the exact specs. It’s a great way to save a couple hundred dollars! I also felt more comfortable buying a computer that I knew had never had any problems.
Skip the expensive software and upgrades
Dell offers their small business computers at slightly lower prices than their home computers because they know they will eventually more than make up the difference by bringing back repeat customers, selling in bulk, and selling expensive software and peripherals such as printers, storage devices, etc. You can save several hundred dollars by skipping the expensive software and either buying it cheaper elsewhere or using open source alternatives such as Open Office instead of Microsoft Office.
You can also spend less money on RAM or a smaller hard drive if you are comfortable buying and installing aftermarket RAM yourself or storing extra data on an external drive.
Compare computer prices
I opened up several windows in my browser to compare computer prices between the Small & Medium Business shop and the Dell Outlet Business & Education shop. I selected a Previously Ordered New laptop from the Outlet that met my needs. Then I built one to the same specs in the small business shop. The price difference was $240. I also saved almost $10 by ordering it though Ebates, bringing my total savings to almost $250.
I also compared computers from the Home and Home Office Outlet (keeping in mind they come with trialware addons). In the end, the best deal I could find was the laptop from the small business outlet.
Disadvantages of buying an outlet computer
The biggest disadvantage of buying through the Dell Outlet is the lack of options. Because Dell sells computers that are made to order, your choices are limited to the stock on hand. However, I found that by being flexible I was able to save a couple hundred dollars.
More tips on saving money on your next computer: