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In this day and age, we are constantly being bombarded by advertisements and new products to spend our hard earned money on at every turn.
This can make deciding to save or spend hard enough, but once you’ve decided that you can spend some of your capital on non-essential items, it becomes a different ball game.
There are millions of different products available for you to purchase in every category that you can think of.
With all of the product updates we see for our favorite electronic gaming systems and other technology, we are constantly pressured to stay current with the newly updated tech.
That may sound great to you in theory, but one of the biggest issues with staying current on your gadgets across the board is how expensive it is.
If you own even one technologically advanced item, such as a smartphone, then you know that highly useful high-tech gadgets are costly.
Dropping a cool thousand dollars on a phone because your screen broke is not something that will put a smile on your face.
It could be that you’ve had the same laptop for the last seven years and now you can’t start it up because it’s been used to its maximum.
Replacing a laptop can run you up to the range of a couple thousand dollars if you want the best of the best.
Trying to be frugal while staying on top of the ever changing tech market can leave your head spinning.
Dealing with the desire to have the best technology out there can leave you asking “How do I save money and get everything I want at the same time?”.
The answer is simpler than you think. A lot of major stores in the real world and online carry what are known as “Open-Box Items”.
These items are exactly what they seem – they were bought, opened, and returned for one reason or another.
Open-Box items don’t just have to be technology either, you can find open-box items for various categories ranging from furniture to clothing.
This makes open-box item buying an extremely easy way to save money while purchasing the products you want at quality standards.
Lets take a closer look at open-box items, the differences between the kinds of less-than-new items, and when, how and where to buy them.
What Does Open-Box Mean?
Open-box items are simply items that have been previously purchased and opened by the purchaser and then, shortly thereafter, returned.
You may initially think that there is something wrong with the item, but that is often the opposite of the truth.
A lot of open-box items have simply been opened and re-shelved for sale.
These items may in fact have been opened by the store to be used as display items or for demonstration purposes and have had limited to no use at all.
Occasionally, display items may have seen a lot of use, and this may mean you’ll have to reconsider, but this is not always the case.
A lot of times these items have been purchased and returned, but the reasons for returning an item vary.
It could be that the original purchaser may have encountered buyers remorse after the purchase, or discovered that what they bought could not be accommodated in their home.
It could also be as simple as the fact that they did not like what they’d purchased after they’d bought it.
The reasons why someone returns an opened item can be complex or very inconsequential.
An open-box item is likely to be in like-new working order, especially considering that most retailers will take a magnifying glass to the product and ensure that it is re-salable.
Occasionally there will be some cosmetic damage from light use, but this is usually minimal and does not affect the performance or longevity of most open-box items.
Depending on where you make your purchase, it could be that the open-box item was in the possession of the previous owner for a few weeks.
Every store and online retailer has a different return policy, some ranging from as little as twenty-four hours to as high as ninety days or more.
You’ll want to ask about the conditions in which your item became open-box if your purchasing from a retailer that has extended return policy dates.
Like any other purchase you’ll make in life, purchasing open-box items has its risks but these are usually comparatively low to the reward, and you’ll save money in the process!
Consider open-box versions of your most coveted items, especially electronics, and you’re bound to find a great deal every time.
What’s the Difference Between Open-Box, Used, and Refurbished?
When you’re purchasing an item from an online retailer that is not one hundred percent new, you want to make sure that you are purchasing an item in a condition you understand.
Living a frugal life still means that you want to get the most for your money, and knowing how to buy and when to buy is important.
That being said, it’s important to know that there are three main categories for less-than-new items that you can buy online or in a store.
Here is a quick look at these different types of retail items and how to differentiate between what you want and what options you are able to purchase.
When you purchase an open-box item, the item is supposed to feel as new as an unused product.
The wear should be as minimal as possible, there should not be extremely noticeable cosmetic damage.
Open-box items have been removed from their original packaging but there is a chance that these items have not been powered on, have been used only a handful of times, or were on display in a store and received minimal use.
These items are meant to be as like-new as possible.
Open-box items can be sold from various categories including instruments, clothing, furniture, electronics, and more.
These items are usually in excellent condition and are sold at discounted rates that help you save money.
Open-box items can be found online and in stores.
The discounted prices that you can find for open-box items can be substantial, and this makes buying open-box items a great idea for large expenses.
Usually open-box items come with a warranty, often this warranty is the original warranty that it would have if the item was never opened.
Used items are different in many ways.
These items tend to be considerably cheaper than other items that have been opened because they have been actually used for enough time to consider them fully pre-owned.
There is nothing wrong with buying a used item, but the risk is higher because the item may have been used for longer than described.
With careful searching, you can easily avoid buying a used item that is unfit for use.
Even with these risks, buying a used item has its benefits.
These items may have been used heavily or lightly, yet they still are functional and can be used for much longer.
This means that a buyer is going to pay greatly discounted prices and get an item that functions and has longevity.
The only other downside is that these items tend to be cosmetically damaged, and this cosmetic damage can range from light to moderate.
Heavily damaged items, no matter whether they’re electronics or furniture, can rarely be adequately used.
Aim to purchase items that have cosmetic damage that is light. This usually means small scratches, dings, tears or dents.
Moderately damaged items can have visible warping or denting, substantially deep scratches or tears, and may have some functional issues.
This is not ideal, but can mean acquiring an item for extremely cheap prices.
Compared to open-box purchases, used items can have a vast array of problems and usually do not come with a warranty or an inspection to assess functionality.
Although it’s a great money saving option, buying a used product may result in your having more frustrations on your plate than not.
Refurbished items are another buying option if you want to save a little bit of money on the initial cost.
Refurbished items are in a category all their own because they can be used or like-new items that had significantly defective parts replace.
These items are either returned to the retailer or directly to the manufacturer because there are aspects of the product that are defective or no longer working.
These parts are then sent back to the manufacturer by the retailer or directly to the manufacturer to asses the damage and repair all the defective aspects.
These items are then put through whatever service tests the manufacturer has in place for these items to ensure that they are back to working order and in salable condition.
These items are often perceived as lesser quality, but in fact, due to the extensive repairs and testing these items go through to be resold they are often comparable to like-new or open-box items.
These items are usually very reliable, but there is still a chance that these items may fail again shortly after being resold if there are other components that do not function.
Many electronics go through a refurbishing process for resale if they are returned to the manufacturer as defective, and these are usually tested to the highest standards.
If you’re going to buy refurbished electronics, you should always do so from a reputable source to avoid buying counterfeit, damaged, or stolen items.
Furniture, clothes, instruments and other items should also be bought from a reputable retailer to avoid purchasing counterfeit or badly repaired products.
Why Should I Purchase Open-Box Items instead of Used or Refurbished?
Buying open-box items may appear as if it has a significant risk, but the fact is that it usually does not have as much a risk as you’d imagine.
Open-box items can help you bring in valuable items you’ll love into your life for less than they originally cost.
Open-box items are sold in excellent condition and do not require any special repairs or maintenance once purchased.
These items are sold at discounted prices that can save you a little off the top on big ticket items, especially electronics.
Only about 5% of returned items are ever truly defective.
When these items are returned to the store the original purchaser is asked to express whether this was the case or not.
This means that an open-box item has a high chance of being an almost-new item that was not used or barely used at all.
Another up-side to purchasing open-box items is that they often come with their warranty intact, meaning if the item was to fail after purchase you still have a large window of time to replace or repair the item if there are problems.
Open-Box Versus Used Items
Open-box items have an advantage over used items because they have not been used extensively.
Used items are resold as having knowingly been used extensively before resale.
This means that these items could come with various issues and defects that you may not be aware of upon purchase.
Open-box items are usually sold with little to no cosmetic damage, like-new components and function seamlessly.
Used items do not have any such decree attached to their purchase, and this means that there is an increased risk for purchasing faulty items.
Open-box items are carefully looked over and tested before being returned to the sales floor, and if they’re electronics this happens all the more because these items are investments.
There are no guarantees when purchasing a pre-owned item, and the risk is much higher than when purchasing an open-box item that it will be cosmetically or won’t operate as advertised.
If you’re looking to make a reliable purchase, want to save some money, and want to ensure your item is as close to new as possible, you should buy an open-box item over a used item every time.
Open-Box Versus Refurbished Items
The best part about purchasing a refurbished item like a smartphone or laptop is that you know it’s been thoroughly looked over by the manufacturer and you’re now purchasing an item that is in perfect condition. Right?
Well, not necessarily.
There are refurbished items on the market that are in excellent condition after all repairs and diagnostics tests have been done, but that’s not always the case.
There is a great risk of purchasing high ticket items that are refurbished and discovering that they work for a period without any problems but then suddenly they do not operate the way they were intended to.
This can be extremely frustrating, especially considering that refurbished items come with a limited warranty due to the fact that the items are already known to have significant problems.
When you purchase open-box items you do not have to worry about an already once defective item.
Open-box items are items that have not been used significantly and are sold as like-new only because these items have been removed from their packaging.
It’s not always guarantee that open-box items have even been used, but occasionally these items are used in stores as display items and encounter some use.
Open-box items are not the same as refurbished items because they won’t have a history of defect and repair.
You may encounter that an open-box item is defective but the chances of this happening are slim.
Open-box items will oftentimes only be defective and discovered as such after purchase because the item was not used extensively enough to decipher the defect earlier on.
Thankfully, most open-box items come with a warranty and can be repaired or replaced if some such defect is discovered later down the line.
The main difference between a refurbished product and an open-box one is that a refurbished product has been used, discovered to be defective, repaired, and then resold.
Open-box items do not go through these processes.
They are simply opened, very lightly used, and then resold because they were an unwanted items or some other trivial choice was made to return the item.
Where Can I Purchase Open-Box Items?
Open-box items can be sold in many places, including online and in store retailers.
Some of the most popular retailers we know sell open-box items.
These websites, along with other reputable sources, will tell you within the item description if it is an open-box item or not.
Some of these online retailers have extensive open-box options for you to choose from.
Best Buy in particular is excellent for electronics, laptops and appliances that are open-box.
Amazon is a marketplace that has hundreds upon thousands of millions of items available online for purchase, and their open-box items are not limited to just electronics and appliances.
If online shopping isn’t your deal, you can often find open-box items in large stores, especially department stores, if you’re looking for a good deal.
Purchasing In-Store Versus Online
The quickest and easiest way to purchase significantly discounted open-box items is to do so online.
You can compare and contrast prices on different websites for multiple items that are similar and have comparable features.
If you purchase an open-box item in a store, you may find that you have limited options for your final purchase.
The only downside to purchasing online is that you can not tangibly examine the product yourself.
In this situation, you must trust the online retailer to honestly describe the item you wish to purchase to the best of their ability.
Although this may seem risky, due to the nature of operating a credible business, these descriptions are usually as accurate as possible.
When Should I Purchase Open-Box Items?
You’re probably well aware that whenever you’re going to make a significant purchase, especially an electronics purchase or a significant home item like furniture, you should take your time to shop around and find the best option.
It’s smart to take your time when you plan to make a big ticket purchase because that means you’re able to ensure you’ll finding the best deal for your dollar.
Whenever you’re planning to go through the buyers journey, you should take that opportunity to look for open-box items.
The chances that you’ll be able to find the exact item you’re looking for at a lesser price with an open-box item is reason enough to take that advice seriously.
If you’ve found that the item you’re looking to purchase has open box items, take the time to compare and contrast the different items available.
Retailers usually will write full descriptions for the state of the merchandise if it is high-tech gear like phones, laptops, or gaming systems.
These details should be looked over very carefully because if there is anything noteworthy about your item, it’ll be listed there.
Since the item already has an open-box, you’ll be able to test it out if you’re purchasing it from a physical store.
Make sure to test all the available buttons, volume controls, and the screen response time.
Look for cosmetic damage such as dents, scratches and marks to the outer body and screen of any electronics you’re looking to purchase.
If there are any significant dents to any electronics you purchase, this can indicate that you may have problems operating the integrated system later.
Make sure that the item is useable and matches the description for the open-box item as best you can, and if you feel comfortable making the purchase, you should do so with peace of mind.
How Can I Purchase Open-Box Items?
If you’re looking to purchase only open-box items, you can do so by doing some online research about the best retailers that sell open-box items.
There are available reviews for many websites and the open-box items they sell.
Use these reviews to your advantage to decide if the retailer is reputable before you begin online purchasing.
Many online retailers will allow you to compare and contrast the available specifics that they have for each open box item.
This will allow you to compare and contrast available features.
Because of the nature of an open-box purchase, you won’t be able to customize aspects of your purchase.
Items like laptops and gaming systems often have advanced features that can be added to upgrade many facets of the system.
If you’re purchasing open-box, you’re purchasing the item as is.
Some of the open-box options may have the features you’re looking for, others may not.
It is best to take your time in discovering what available options hold the features that are closest to what you want.
Depending on what you’re purchasing, you may even be able to upgrade the product for a minimal fee after your initial purchase.
Often, you can review an open-box item in a nearby store if they have it listed available online from that store.
Best Buy features this option on their website, and you can filter for open-box items by available location.
This gives you the option of going to the physical store to review the product in person.
Reviewing open-box items in-store is ideal.
When you physically examine the item, you can more closely determine if the purchase is right for you.
Take the opportunity to go to you local retailers and explore their open-box options.
This is another way to purchase an item at a discounted rate easily.
You may even be able to bring the price down lower if you notice things about your potential purchase that are not listed in the description.
This is a great way to make sure that you’re getting the best deal possible for your money.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to purchasing open-box products, chances are you’re getting the best deal for your money.
The items available for open-box purchase are usually in stellar condition and are warrantied for the sake of securing your purchase.
This makes open-box purchases an excellent option for anyone looking to stay frugal.