52 weeks of saving: Is it smart to buy a refurbished iMac? What about a used TV?


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Editor’s note: Each week, 1 of Bankrate’s personal finance reporters is reporting on a new way to save and chronicling the savings journey. This week, I investigated how much money I could save by purchasing open-box electronics. See what happened.

Confession: I take way too many pictures and use an extraordinary amount of storage on any given electronic device. To prove I’m not exaggerating, when I went to the Apple Store to see if they could back up a nearly dead laptop, the 7-year-veteran Apple Genius said I had used more gigabytes than anyone he had ever helped before … and that was just on my desktop!

After the death of that laptop, I decided to get a desktop computer. I looked around for cheaper options, because it seems unreasonable to pay $4,000 for a brand-new iMac. That’s why I decided to go the open-box route.

I compared prices and features on eBay, Apple, Best Buy and Amazon. I checked regular prices, as well as refurbished and open-box prices.

Here’s what I found.