gadgets setup

Tech is a normal part of your college education, but it can be a difficult addition to your student budget. It’s expensive! Between tuition, rent, and all the other trappings of your academic career, you may not have a lot of cash to spare on replacing old or damaged tech.

You might think taking out a personal line of credit is the only way you can show up to class ready to learn. But you may not have to tap into credit just yet. Check out this guide to refurbished devices to save money on electronics.

Why Save Credit?

It may be tempting to take out a loan to fill your backpack. After all, with thousands of dollars in student loans, what’s the difference in a few thousand more?

Well, it could have a big impact on your credit history if you use it to purchase something you can’t afford. As financial institutions like CreditFresh remind their customers, there’s a time and place for a personal line of credit.

A personal line of credit acts as a safety net for when there are no other options. You can stop by for more info on when it’s appropriate to tap into your personal line of credit, and when it’s better to find alternatives  — like finding a lower price on tech you can afford.

What is a Refurbished Gadget?

A refurbed laptop, tablet, or phone is more than just a device once owned by someone else. It’s a little more safeguarded than that.

Unlike pre-owned or used items, a refurbished device comes with some peace of mind. It implies a manufacturer performed repairs before reselling it.

It can describe a computer that someone decided they didn’t like within their return policy. Or it can describe a malfunctioning tablet that someone returned to the manufacturer. As a result, they’re usually a fraction of the cost.

Are there Risks to Buying Refurbed Tech?

Some people are hesitant to buy refurbished tech. And it makes sense. Who’s to say that a glitchy item returned to a manufacturer was repaired properly?

It all depends on where you get your refurb from, looking closely at the language they use. Anyone one can sell a used item on Craigslist and call it refurbished. But an online ad comes with no guarantee.

A certified refurbished item from a big retailer, on the other hand, comes with some protection.

Shopping Checklist for Refurbed Tech

To increase your chances of finding a refurb that works, follow these tips when you shop around:

  1. Shop from official stores. Mall kiosks and online stores may boast the cheapest prices, but they may not offer the same warranties as a major manufacturer. Stick with brand names you trust, like Acer, Apple, and Dell. Big box stores like Best Buy are also a good bet when it comes to refurbished tech.
  1. Make sure it’s certified. Certified refurbed items have gone through rigorous testing, making sure the laptop or tablet works like new – even if it was returned because of damages or software glitches.
  1. Get a warranty. A warranty is always a good idea. It gives you extra protection in case something does go wrong with your new-to-you tech. Depending on the type of warranty you get, it could cover bugs, glitches, and even physical damage. If you do spring for a warranty, make sure you can exchange or refund your item in full.
  1. Look out for education deals. Whether shopping with Apple or one of the many Windows-based tech companies, many of these businesses offer special sales and promotions for college students. These deals may include refurbed items.

Refurbished electronics might be the affordable alternative that lets you arrive to campus fully equipped with what you need. Shop around and remember the above tips to make sure you start the new semester with a powerhouse of a device and not a dud.