I’m looking at buying a new laptop soon, an Asus G71Gx gaming grade laptop. It turns out Best Buy has the best price on this laptop. As someone who would rather pay less when possible, I began to seek out cheaper alternatives than paying $1300 +tax for this notebook.
First off, see if there are any better prices out there. Traditionally, Best Buy is not the best source for cheap systems.
Next, I live in Vancouver, Washington. We have a 7.7% sales tax. Right across the border is Portland, Oregon — 0% sales tax. That’s instantly going to save me $100.10. In order for this to work, you have to go into the store, not online; unless of course you’re willing to just have it shipped to someone who lives in Portland.
Next, search for coupons for Best Buy. These are somewhat rare, but there are some 10%-off-anything coupons that surface from time to time. Make sure that what you are buying falls into the “acceptable categories” as explicitly noted on the coupon. Can’t find any currently.
Next, find gift cards. Ask your friends if they have any they want to sell. Look at online for sale forums. Check eBay. As long as the person selling the gift card is reputable, this is a great way to save money. For example, I just purchased a $250 Best Buy gift card for $238 buy it now -$23.80 for Bing cashback, -$4.76 for eBay’s cashback incentive plan, -$2.38 because I paid with PayPal through my credit card. That makes the final price for this $250 gift card $207.06; a 17.18% discount.
Next, as I mentioned previously, pay with credit card (assuming you pay it off, and have a cash back incentive plan). This is an easy 1-2%.
Finally, don’t accept any upselling that Best Buy will try on you. You don’t need the extended warranty, you don’t need the new peripherals. Don’t be a sucker for their highest margin area of the business.
With these principles applied, I’m going to take a $1400.10 laptop (including tax) and get it for $1084.80 (5*207.06 + 50 – 0.50).
Garrett ordered 2x2GB PC5300 RAM for his Dell Vostro 1500, and asked me to upgrade him from the default 2x512MB. I followed a guide when I initially upgraded the memory on my Vostro 1500, and the same guide helped me out this time.
I gave him one of my 1GB sticks and took one of his 2GB sticks, so we have 3GB each. Ran a memtest on it, and all was well.
My buddy Garrett ordered a 250GB after-market hard drive for his Dell Vostro 1500, and he asked me to replace it. Most hard drive replacements for notebooks are straightforward, and the replacement for the Vostro 1500 is no exception. Here’s what I did. (See the album for photos.)
- Backed up data
- Turn off power, remove battery.
- Flip it over and look to the bottom right. Remove the 4 screws with a small Phillips screw driver.
- Pull out hard drive slot. Remove the screws attaching the slot, fix new hard drive in old hard drive’s place.
- Put screws back in, plug back in battery.
- Install OS and restore data from backup.
It really doesn’t get any easier than this, kudos to Dell for making it easily serviceable.
My buddy Garrett was shopping around for laptops… turns out the best deal we could find on a gaming laptop was a Dell Vostro 1500. Cool!
Edit: And of course less than 12 hours after we purchased it, there was a $500 coupon. We canceled the original order and replaced it with better specs, $300 cheaper. Amazing.