The following post is from Michelle of Mommy Misadventures:
Even if you do not have any students in your household, back-to-school sales make August one of the best months to upgrade your home office tech. Take advantage of the lower prices and package deals that are geared towards the back-to-school crowd can save you some cash.
Before You Buy
When it comes to tech buys, it pays to shop around. Prices for the same item — particularly laptops and printers — can vary widely between different stores. The same store may offer different prices for the same item online and via their retail outlet.
Some stores may offer price matching which can help save you money (and time!) with shipping costs. Be careful to review each store’s policy carefully. Some price matching only applies to other local, retail store ads while some stores will price match Internet prices as well.
What to Buy
At this time of the year, you’re likely to get some great deals on some of the heavy hitters in your office: laptop, printers, and accessories. And remember that it isn’t just techie stuff either — this is also a great time to stock up on essential office supplies like folders, binders, and other paper goods.
A good laptop that suits your business style is a cornerstone for any small business. If you work primarily from home, and only occasionally take your laptop out, a good desktop replacement is a good investment. Desktop replacements are powerful notebooks tend to be bigger laptops (16” or more) and are heavier but are great for working mostly from one place. PC World lists their top 10 desktop replacement notebooks here.
If you are a road warrior and are always on the go, choosing an ultra-portable laptop can help you keep your office mobile. Ultra-portable laptops are business grade laptops, often 12″ – 14″ with a light, slim design. Lots of power in a small size does come at a cost, though; ultraportables can cost quite a bit more than similarly powered full-sized laptops. PC World has a great list of their top 10 ultraportables here.
Most every home office needs a good printer for everyday business use. For many home-based businesses, a multifunction printer that prints, scans, copies and faxes, are very handy and come in all price ranges. Lower-end models may have limited copying/scanning capabilities (one page at a time, etc.) while higher end models may include advanced paper handling options.
The Brother MFC-J825DW is a PC Mag Editor’s pick for a mid-range multifunction printer, designed for home office use. At an affordable $150, the Brother MFC J825DW offers a variety of business features like legal-sized scanning and a built-in duplexer.
Don’t forget your accessories. For homebound workers, make your workspace more comfortable by setting up your laptop as a workstation. Invest in a comfortable USB keyboard, mouse, speakers and monitor. This gives you the advantage of a comfortable workstation with the option of portability when you need it.
If you’re a mobile type of worker, a laptop bag that provides plenty of cushioning with storage for all your accessories is a must have. Springing for an extra AC adapter to keep in your bag is a time (and sanity) saving investment. (I have always hated reaching behind my desk to unplug my laptop when I go out! It’s the small things.)
A small power strip like this Belkin 3-Outlet Mini Surge Protector Dual USB Charger allows you to keep your devices charged without feeling like a power hog at the coffee shop.
Laptop locks like this Kensington MicroSaver Keyed Rectractable Notebook Lock can give you an extra physical layer of security if you have to leave your laptop momentarily unattended to go to the bathroom or get another cup of coffee.
What are you planning to buy for your home office?
|Michelle Mista is an IT professional, writer and blogger with a love for all kinds of technology. She writes about tech tips and trends for work at home professionals on her portfolio blog and muses about motherhood at Mommy Misadventures. She is on the constant quest to balance life, work and geekery.|