Aside from fear, one of the excuses that I keep hearing from people as to why they don't want to build a computer is that it is expensive. They do their research online and get inspired by these stunningly beautiful computers, then they find out that they cost about two months paycheck and that's the end of it. I have been building computers for quite a while and it saddens me that people would shy away from building their own rig because of the price, when there are other avenues to secure the parts that they need.
So where do you get cheaper parts?
I am a cheapskate and about 75% of my computer parts are used or discounted items. I suck at writing so I will just put everything in bullet points.
Overclock.Net - Or any good tech forum that has a marketplace. Aside from getting tons of valuable information, OCN members sell very good items in the marketplace at a decent price. It is not always the cheapest out there but it is definitely cheaper than buying new The biggest benefit buying in tech forums is that there is some sense of confidence that the item is in good working condition and most likely was taken cared of properly. And if for some reason something goes wrong, you can always reach out for help from the member in troubleshooting or may even give a refund.
Local electronic stores - Be on the look out for sales, refurbs, or open box items. The great thing about buying in your local store is that you can always return it if the item turned out to be a piece of crap (always check the store's return policy). I have recently scored an ASUS P8Z77-V PRO for $50 because it is a display item, and an Antec Kuhler 620 for $25 because its mounting brackets are missing and with a few bent fins. Both items are in great working condition still. Another benefit is that most local stores do price matching.
Online stores - Newegg for instance releases some sort of discount items almost daily. You may get 10%, 15% or if you watch their shell shocker deals, sometimes you can get more. Be wary though, sometimes online shops will say that their item is on sale but in reality it is not. Sometimes these shops will boast a 20% discount then when you check another website like Amazon or Tigerdirect, you will find that they have the item priced just the same. Always cross check with several websites and with your local stores.
eBay - Sure you can buy used items but I am always wary about the quality of the item that I will get. And most of the time you pay for returning the item so it's a big PITA. The only reason why I use eBay nowadays is to just bid on an item. Sometimes people will start an auction for a dollar, 10 days have past and you will see that it is still a dollar and if you are lucky, you will get the item for a dollar. Things like these doesn't happen often but sometimes it is worth it. Here's one rant from an OCN member http://www.overclock.net/t/1345368/rant-shouldve-just-burned-my-money.
Craigslist - Last on my list and I rarely buy anything here. My main concern is safety and the ability to return the item. The only time I used Craigslist is to buy a case locally. Other than that I stay away from it.
Beware: The biggest disadvantage of buying used items is its warranty. If you buy a product that is out of warranty then it died after two weeks, you are most likely stuck with it and you just have to cry over the money that you spent. This is the price that you have to pay for being cheap. I do not mean to scare you but you just have to be ready to take this loss if the product that you bought failed.
If you have any money saving tips, let me know
All of the items above were bought with high discount rates or in used condition except for the CPU, the Asetek cooler and the hard drives.