Free and Nearly Free Computers
There are many ways to get free computers and if not free, then very very cheap. The world is full of computer hardware at pennies on the dollar. Even brand new computers can be had for a song these days. Seniors, school age children and their families, and anyone on a limited income can take advantage of special programs for cheap computers. Some internet connectivity vendors have been persuaded by the FCC to provide free and cheap internet access bundled with brand new or carefully refurbished computers which often are priced below $150.00, even some as low as $79.00. These programs have specific qualifying parameters and are for all low income citizens of any age with a special focus on school age children. In addition to corporate and government programs to help families with school age children enter the digital age and worthy private non-profit companies wishing to place computers in the hands of all the people, there is much to be said for personal initiative and outreach into the immediate world around you.
Free computer contests are held online and locally all the time. You can get free computers sometimes from local community giveaways or non-profits. The donors may require some sort of essay for you to write or competition to win. Oftentimes it is as simple as your name or ticket being drawn.
Ads for a free computer (and other freebies like a huge TV or an old car) have been sighted in Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and some of the Freecycler websites. California has the Recycler, for instance. You can place an ad yourself that says you are looking for a free computer and list your requirements. It doesn’t even have to be an ad, it can be a post on a bulletin board at your local library or senior center. Regularly, a search of Craigslist ads will turn up sources of free computer hardware that can be picked up and put to personal use.
Goodwill recycles computers, and if you can locate a technician, you can ask if they have any that are still working.
You might not be surprised to know that many of your friends very likely have a spare or even two spares of computers they are not using. People buy new computers all the time and don’t have the time or energy to deal with selling it online. And so they look for a good home for the older computer to go to. A quick post on Facebook to the effect of: “Hi there! Does anyone have a computer they are no longer getting use of and want a good home for?” will probably get you a machine faster than you can say “New Computer!”.
One needs to be on the ball and get to the donor pronto, as the free items go very quickly. Once you put your feelers out keep your eyes peeled for the results. You may find you end up with more than one free computer to choose from.
How To Get Cheap But Good Quality Computers
There are many reputable sources for very inexpensive good quality refurbished computers that can get you online pronto. You can choose between a desktop, laptop or tablet. Laptops are great to take along if you need to use it away from home. Some of the internet providers for low income households add a cheap computer to the service, usually under $150.00. In addition to that, there are endless reputable sites where you can pick up a very inexpensive computer. Remember that a computer can be just a hard drive, so make sure you get one bundled with a keypad, mouse and other peripherals. You can also buy these items a la carte. They are usually available on the same site.
Here is a quick roundup of sites where you can buy an affordable computer:
EveryoneOn.org is a website dedicated to helping low income families gain access to extremely affordable computers. The best deals are for groups, where you can buy a 5 computer bundle for only $250.00. These computers are completely refurbished, re-conditioned, and ready to go.
InternetEssentials.com offers affordable internet access, computers, and educational programs for qualifying individuals. You can not only get very low cost internet access there but you can also buy a computer for just $149.99 + tax.
Craigslist.org is a great website for finding used computers. Every day there is a person listing a computer for sale who is offering a basic desktop or laptop that is probably, at worst, a little outdated and overloaded with useless programs. These sellers will usually either sell the computer to you for a song or even give you the computer for free if you go pick it up. Most of the time all you need to do is poke around a bit for ads that have been posted several times or have been up a while. It will take you very little time to email the seller and let them know you’re interested. You can also offer to trade for something you have or can do. On Craigslist you are unlikely to find a warranty or guarantee of any kind on your new-used computer if you source it this way.