written by: Mark-James McDougall•edited by: Sarah Malburg•updated: 5/12/2010
Laptops are essential for students these days, and finding an affordable laptop as an adult student can sometimes be difficult. However, by following a few guidelines, it is possible to purchase a quality laptop at a reasonable price.
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Laptops are increasingly becoming a popular and useful tool for students of all ages. They allow you to edit documents in a multitude of locations (such as a library), and they allow for easy in-class note taking. Finding a cheap laptop as an adult student can be quite easy, if you know where to look and what to look for. By using certain websites as tools, it is easy to get a good deal on a laptop without much effort.
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Evaluate Your Needs
The first step which must be taken into consideration before purchasing your laptop is deciding on what the laptop will be used for. Do you need to do simple word processing, or will you be doing a lot of advanced calculations and 3D rendering? In order to decide what kind of laptop you need, check out this handy guide.
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Used or Refurbished Laptops
Once you have selected a laptop type that will suit your needs, it is now time to choose what kind of laptop to buy.
If you don't mind not being on the cutting edge, used or refurbished laptops can be purchased at a much cheaper rate than their new counterparts. Refurbished laptops are laptops that have been returned to the manufacturer, repaired, certified, and then sold at a discount. They no longer have any problems with them, and generally come with a warranty. Apple is a popular retailer known to sell refurbished Apple laptops at excellent prices.
One easy way to find used laptops from local sellers is on Craigslist (www.craigslist.org). Craigslist is an online classifieds service that allows people to place listings for items they wish to sell. A lot of times people are looking to get rid of their laptops for numerous reasons, and are willing to sell them at reasonable prices locally. Keep in mind that these laptops will be mostly secondhand, so make sure to inspect them thoroughly and make sure that they work before purchasing.
Another good site to use is eBay. eBay is an online auctions site, and is used by millions of people across the world. The advantage of eBay over Craigslist is that a reputation system exists. Users with a higher reputation on the site will tend to sell products honestly, and will not try to scam you. Although, since you will not be dealing with people locally (like you would with Craiglist), be prepared to have to pay a shipping cost in order to receive the laptop, which can be costly. To minimize shipping costs, try finding sellers from your country who have laptops for sale, as domestic shipping rates tend to be much lower than international ones.
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Buying New Laptops
If you insist on buying new, some deals still can be had! Many online retailers tend to have discounts and sales on laptops on certain days, so keep on the lookout. Newegg has a daily deals section, and so does Dell. If you use another online retailer, try searching the site for daily deals or a discount section in order to purchase your student laptop cheap.