A computer can often be one of the largest purchases you make, aside from home and auto, running well over $1,500 if you get a top model. However, if your budget doesn't allow for a purchase this large, don't fret — there are ways to buy a computer for a bargain and keep your budget intact.
Friends and family. The first place to start looking for a deal on a computer is from your friends and family. Often, they've just made a new computer purchase and are looking to get rid of their old one, for a small price (or even free). The only way to find out is by asking. Send out an email to everyone you know, and let them know that you need a working computer. See what comes back. Sure, it's not the latest model, but if all you need to do is do some word processing, email, games, spreadsheets and web browsing, you don't need a lot of power.
Other donated computers. Next, look for places online (try Freecycle.org) or offline that are getting rid of computers people don't need. Often you can get a free one that's perfectly workable. You just need to look around.
Buy used. Again, if you're willing to forgo the latest model (and you pay a high premium for the latest models), you can get some great deals on used (or "pre-owned") computers. Check your local classified ads, Craigslist, and garage sales.
Refurbished. The best online computer sites will take a used computer, fix it up with some new parts, and sell it as "refurbished". These are often excellent deals, and good quality if you go to a reputable buyer. See this article for more info. Plus, companies like Apple and Dell have a great refurb section with factory-reconditioned models at a discount.
Do your research. If you want a good deal, you should know what's out there, what models are good, what should be included and what shouldn't. Spend some time browsing some of the sites with the best deals: Newegg.com, Geeks.com, Buy.com, Amazon.com, and others.
Ebay, other auction sites. Ebay and other online auction sites are great places to look for new and used computers. You'll need to spend a little time looking for a good deal, putting in bids, and seeing if you win, but the time you spend can net you a great price on a good computer.
Build it yourself. If you have a little technical know-how, or are willing to put in the time to learn, you can buy a "bare-bones" computer for $50, and then add in a motherboard, CPU, RAM, and hard drive to get a computer for under $300. Then you can look around for a free monitor and peripherals, and you've got a bargain-basement deal. Read this for more.
Linux boxes. If you're willing to try something other than Windows, you can get a good deal on cheap computers sold with the Linux operating system. Or build one yourself (see above tip) and then install the free Linux operating system (Ubuntu is a popular version of Linux that's easy to use). The great thing about Ubuntu and other Linux brands is that they often come with lots of great software that's open source and free, including office software suites, browsers, games and much more.
Mac Mini. For those who are into the Mac OS for its aesthetics, simplicity, and lack of viruses, the Mac Mini is a great deal. It comes in at a little over $500, although you'll have to get peripherals such as monitor and keyboard separately. Although this is a bare-bones Mac system, it's perfectly usable for the average user, and you can always upgrade with more RAM if you'd like. Plus, it looks cool and it's so tiny that it takes up very little space on your desk.
Don't take financing. However you buy your computer, don't take the financing deals offered by computer vendors. While it may seem like buying something now and paying later is a good deal, and that it fits perfectly into your budget (only $20 a month!), you end up paying much more in the long run as these "deals" come with a very high interest percentage. Save up for a few hundred dollars and get a cheap computer on cash instead.
* Hot deals expire quickly. This deal may no longer be valid.
It's all treats and no tricks at many retailers this Halloween. Here you'll find a list of stores and restaurants we've comprised that are offering up special deals and maybe even a freebie or two to celebrate the spooky holiday. Keep checking back, we'll be adding new ones as we find them!
Bass Pro Shops - Through 10/31/2016 at visit Bass Pro Shops, families can participate in free arts and crafts activities with their children. On Halloween night, they will be hosting its own festivities, including a costume parade, pumpkin decorating and, of course, trick or treating–all for free.
Beef O’Brady’s – Free kids menu meal when the kids arrive in costume. They’ll also be giving away free treat bags while they last. Offer valid only on 10/31/2016.
Chipotle – Both adults and kids can snag a “Boorito”, “Boorito” bowl, salad or order of tacos for just $3 on 10/31/2016 when they arrive in costume.
Cici’s – Kids 10 and under that arrive at Cici’s Pizza dress in Halloween costumes will be able to snag a free kids buffet on 10/31/2016. Offer is limited to 1 free kdis buffet per adult buffet and regular drink purchased.
Chuck E. Cheese - Chuck E. Cheese locations are giving out 50 free tickets any day in October – also known as “Chucktober”, that kids arrive dressed in costume. These tickets can then be traded in for free candy. This offer is good at Chuck E. Cheese locations in 47 states. Offer ends 10/31/2016.
IHOP - On October 31, kids 12 and under can dig into Scary Face Pancakes for free from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at participating IHOP restaurants. Offer valid only on 10/31/2016.
Joe’s Crab Shack – Kids can eat free at Joe’s Crab Shack on Halloween. Get up to 1 free kids meals per each adult entrée purchased with a limit of 3 kids meals per ticket with this printable coupon. Offer valid only on 10/31/2016.
Krispy Kreme – Each person that arrives at their local Krispy Kreme store in costume can receive a free doughnut of choice. This offer includes their popular Zombie doughnut as long as they’re still in abundance. No purchase necessary. Offer valid all day on 10/31/2016.
Michael’s – This Saturday and Sunday (10/29/2016 and 10/30/2016), Michael’s craft stores will be offering various activities such as a treat bag craft, costume parade, face painting and more.
Spaghetti Warehouse - Spaghetti Warehouse has its Halloween Kids Eat Free offer going on 10/29/2016 - 10/31/2016. Kids 10 and under, will receive a free Kid's Menu Meal with any adult entree purchase. A coupon is required for the dine-in only offer, and there is a limit of (2) free Kid's Menu Meals per adult entree purchase. You can get that coupon off the Spaghetti Warehouse website.