Thanks to factors like high import tariffs and unfavorable exchange rates, Australia has never been the best place in the world to live if you’re a gadget lover. Australians consistently complain about paying higher prices than people in other countries for everything ranging from laptops and computer components to smartphones and high-end audio equipment. To make matters worse, prices for tech gear have only continued to go up in today’s age of inflation, semiconductor shortages and supply chain issues. You want a way to buy tech gear without overpaying for it – and you definitely don’t want to enrich a scalper by buying hard-to-find products for higher than the retail price. Here’s how to save money on tech gear in Australia.
Buy Last Year’s Model
One of the main characteristics of electronics is that they tend to lose their value quickly due to the rapid progression of the underlying technology. As processors get faster and storage devices get larger, older devices become obsolete and drop in price.
There are a few prominent exceptions to the above rule.
- The technology behind high-end audio equipment doesn’t evolve as quickly as the manufacturers would like you to believe, so stereo gear doesn’t really drop in price until it’s quite old.
- Apple products are always in demand regardless of their age. If you want to save money on an iPhone, you might be better off buying a used device.
- As long as there are large-scale cryptocurrency mining operations, the demand for video cards – even older ones – will continue to exceed supply. That trend appears to be changing in 2022, but it’s impossible to know whether video card prices will continue to drop.
For almost all other types of tech gear, you can expect to enjoy significant savings if you buy a model that’s a year or two old. This rule typically holds true for computer components such as CPUs, non-Apple laptops and phones and most other types of gadgets.
Do the Importing Yourself
One of the reasons why electronics are so expensive in Australia is because it’s a remote island continent. Importing a pallet of products represents an enormous investment for an Australian company, and the company will recoup its investment by building the shipping costs into its prices. With that in mind, you’re probably going to pay top dollar when you buy gadgets from a local seller. If you want to save money on tech gear in Australia, you can sometimes get the best deal if you do the importing yourself. Many companies elsewhere in the world are perfectly happy to ship to Australia if you pay the shipping fees.
Because of legal regulations, it’s actually necessary in some cases to import certain products into Australia if you want to buy them. That’s true, for instance, of vaping products that contain nicotine. The only way to buy Puff Bar in Australia is by importing the devices from overseas. Even with products that nave no legal restrictions, though, you can potentially save a lot of money by buying from a large company that’s based elsewhere in the world. Large companies buy and sell products in high volumes and can offer those products at lower prices as a result. Although you’ll have to pay a shipping charge in most cases, you’ll often find that the shipping charge won’t be large enough to negate your savings.
Take Part in a Group Purchase
One of the best ways to save money on anything is by buying it in bulk. That’s not always easy with electronics, though, due to the high cost of the products. It’s not likely that you can afford to buy an entire pallet of video cards, for instance, on your own – and you probably wouldn’t want to anyway. So, how do you buy gadgets in bulk when the products cost as much as they do? You can band together with friends and family members to make a group purchase.
In the case of niche products like video cards, it may not be easy for you to find enough people interested in purchasing the item and may have to search for a group online. In that case, you need to look out for scams. It’s still worthwhile to explore the possibility, though, because buying as a group can enable you to save a significant amount of money on both product costs and shipping expenses.
Use the Tourist Refund Scheme
This money-saving tip only applies to those who are leaving Australia, but it might be worthwhile for you to consider if you’re planning a vacation. Through the Tourist Refund Scheme, you’re eligible to receive a refund on the 10-percent Goods and Services Tax (GST) on certain large purchases if you’re planning to take the purchased items out of the country. Using the Tourist Refund Scheme, you can save money on big-ticket purchases if you’re planning to travel outside Australia – but you’ll need to take the purchased items with you.
Here’s an overview of how the Tourist Refund Scheme works.
- The refund only applies if you purchase at least $300 worth of items from a single retailer.
- The retailer must provide an invoice with your name and address. The information must match what’s on your passport.
- You must make the purchases within 60 days of leaving Australia.
- Bring your purchased items with you when claiming the refund. Arrive early because you need to complete the refund process within 30 minutes of your scheduled departure.
- Purchase no more than $900 in goods for each adult and $450 for each child in your family. That’s the most you’re allowed to bring back into Australia.
Wait for the Best Sales
So far, the money-saving tips that we’ve given in this article require you to take an active role in the buying process by buying electronics and doing whatever is necessary to save money on the prices currently being asked. An alternative, though, is to take a more passive role and simply wait for prices to come down.
If there’s a particular gadget that you’d like to buy – and you’re not too choosy about when you buy it – then you should find the product at as many retailers as possible and join all of those retailers’ mailing lists. From there, all that you need to do is wait. Eventually, one of those sellers will lower the price on that product or have a big holiday sale. At that point, you can buy the item – hopefully for well below the current price. Although waiting for a product to go on sale does delay gratification for a while, it is the easiest way to save money on electronics in Australia because you don’t need to do anything but wait for the price to come down.