Computer – Did your laptop die an ignoble death after you spilled a cup of coffee on the keyboard? Or does your desktop glitch throughout the workday, failing to keep up with your ever-increasing workload?
It’s bad luck you’re facing these issues today. You can expect to pay more for a replacement thanks to a global microchip shortage.
What Are Microchips and Why is There a Shortage?
Any piece of modern technology relies on microchips called semiconductors. When it comes to your computer, they make up the essential hardware that powers your CPU and memory while transmitting data signals.
You can trace the shortage back to the start of the pandemic. People were buying more tech to occupy their time stuck under lengthy quarantines while factories shuttered their doors to satisfy lockdown regulations. Fate would also have it that one of the major chip manufacturers suffered a fire last year.
As the tech industry rushes to recover from these setbacks, manufacturers are raising their prices. It’s the perfect storm that has the average consumer paying more for computers.
How to Replace a Computer on a Budget
Here are four tips to help you overcome the sticker shock of a new computer.
1. Wait to Buy
It’s hard to put a time limit on this shortage. However, if you can put off your purchase for a year or two, you might escape the worst of the snowballing prices. This could be the best option if you’re low on funds right now.
Talk to your local repair shop about the feasibility of repairing the issue. They might recommend a patch that tides you over until the supply chain recovers.
2. Tap into Savings
Handling any surprise expense is easier when you have savings tucked away. Financial rule of thumb suggests you should aim for three months of expenses in this account. This gives you enough cash to cover repairs or replacements without eating into your paycheck.
Hindsight is 20/20, so what happens if you don’t have any savings set aside? You can look into online cash advances like installment loans or lines of credit for assistance. Some cash advances have quick online applications, making them a convenient option if you require money right away to get back to work.
3. Be Flexible
Narrow in on the bare minimum, non-negotiable specs you need in a computer. Working with this list in mind, keep an eye open for any possible option that fits these parameters. Being as flexible as possible will increase the chances you find a high-performing device for less money.
Here are some tips to help you stay more open-minded:
- Focus on raw specs rather than staying married to a brand
- Comparison shop box stores, manufacturers’ websites, and local computer shops
- Consider a desktop, laptop, and Chromebook
4. Buy Refurbished
If a brand-new computer is too expensive, shop like-new instead. A certified pre-owned or certified refurbished device has been tested to perform at factory standards, but it costs roughly 75% of the original price tag.
Just be sure to purchase one from a trusted retailer that offers a warranty on all their refurbished items to ensure you aren’t getting a lemon.
You might face higher prices for tech today, but there are ways to handle this new cost. And if you’re stuck upgrading your computer, make sure you invest in its ongoing maintenance. A long-lasting computer can take the sting out of the sticker shock.
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