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3 Ways to Save Money on Gadgets in Singapore

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Joanne Poh

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“Is there wifi here?” is the favourite phrase of a Singaporean on holiday. Here in Singapore, we love our gadgets. It’s not uncommon to see a woman crossing the road with her eyes glued to the screen of her Korean drama-playing iPad and wearing earphones.

Students now carry smartphones and laptops to school instead of ring binders. If you’re gadget-mad (if you’re replacing your smartphone at least once every two years, you are), here are some tips to help you save a bit of money.

 

Sell your smartphone before it loses its value

If you’re a car owner, you know it pays to monitor the number of years remaining on your COE and try to sell your vehicle before you reach the point where there are only 2 or 3 years left, because your asking price is going to plummet. The same goes for phones—unless you plan to use a phone until it dies a natural death, don’t wait too long to sell it or you’ll risk losing lots of money on your purchase.

In fact, if you wait more than two years to sell your smartphone, it might be too late to get a decent price. If you want to upgrade your phone frequently, you’ll need to sell your existing phone swiftly before its value drops too much. In this way, the cost of your new phone will be paid for in large part by the sale proceeds of the old. Keep this up and you’ll be able to change your phone every year without paying much.

The most popular option for selling things online these days is Carousell, but eBay is also fairly popular amongst Singaporeans. Other than posting good pictures, you’ll also want to make sure you post closeups that show that the item is in good condition, as many second hand buyers are concerned that they’ll receiving a less than perfect item. Spending a few extra minutes crafting a good post can earn you a lot more money when the item gets sold.

 

Buy refurbished laptops from established retailers

Many computer retailers sell refurbished laptops at a lower price than brand new. These laptops have been given a complete overhaul and look brand new. As their hard disks have been wiped out or replaced, they basically behave exactly as a brand new laptop does.

That’s not to say that buying refurbished laptops isn’t without its risks. Buying from the next big Sim Lim scam artist is obviously going to yield different results than buying a refurbished MacBook online from the Apple store. Buying from big name retailers tends to be safer.

In addition, intensive users might (or not) find that wear and tear happens slightly more quickly with a refurbished machine. Still, you’re essentially getting the same specs at a lower price and in a package that looks brand new.

 

Buy cameras on photography forums

A friend of mine once got scammed when buying a used MacBook on eBay. When she arrived at home she realised the laptop would shut down on its own after 10 minutes of use. Of all the sellers hawking second hand smartphones, tablets and laptops on eBay, a not insignificant number are scammers.

However, the same cannot be said of cameras and photographic equipment if you buy them on hobby sites like Clubsnap. According to friends who are photography enthusiasts, many photographers buy equipment just to test drive it and then sell it one year later, barely used, so local photography forums are a hotbed of equipment in fantastic condition that costs a fraction of the original retail price.

Furthermore, in hobby communities users tend to be more trustworthy than anonymous sellers on eBay, and an active user who’s racked up many participation points is unlikely to scam you.

How do you save money on gadgets? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.

  • ymmud

    Generally, I’ll recommend NOT buying anything from local hobbyist forums unless (1) you don’t travel (2) you don’t know how to shop online and (3) you don’t mind paying more money for your gadgets.

    In general, local hobbyist forums are frequented by those with limited capital. They hardly understand the concept of depreciation. They will buy an item at $1000, and expect to sell it at $800 just because they hardly use it after a couple of years.

    Let’s translate that to something easily understandable. Someone bought a handphone $1000. After using it “lightly” for a year and the phone is in “perfect cosmetic” condition, and they want to sell it to you for $800.

    Really.

    (1) I know someone who regularly buys expensive dSLRs from HK, used them for a few months, and then sell it on clubsnap as secondhand for a higher price than he bought it for in HK – Yes,a new camera in HK is normally cheaper than a 2nd hand one in Singapore.

    (2) If you look around and do your maths, you will see that it may be cheaper to buy a new piece from US through amazon, ship it to Singapore than to buy a 2nd hand one in Singapore.

    *note – a second hand camera often has as much warranty as a “new” imported item.