Graphing calculators are used extensively in both the high school and college environments. Their functionalities are far superior to the standard calculators used in everyday life, most notably the ability to graph data that is input into them. While the technology is far from new, it has not reached a point where the cost of a graphing calculator is affordable for everyone of those requiring their use.

When Is The Best Time To Buy A Graphing Calculator?TI-30XS Calculator (26463)

In terms of a big-picture scale of time, graphing calculators are rarely used until high school, and will be a great asset through college as well. That being said, it is extremely important to find a graphing calculator that is built to last several years of daily use.

On a smaller, and perhaps more useful scale, the best times of any given year to buy a graphing calculator are both at the beginning and the end of a standard school year. The back-to-school season brings along slashed prices and new models of calculators, while at the end of a school year, graduating students who no longer require the use of a graphing calculator will most likely resell or even give away their precious mathematical device.

Where Should You Look For Discounted Graphing Calculators?

To find a brand new graphing calculator is an easy task; they are readily available in electronics stores and office supply stores. The disadvantage to these is the outrageous prices of such devices, even during back-to-school sales. To find a graphing calculator that is cheap, up-to-date, and in good condition, is a much more daunting task. Luckily, the following resources will guide you on a smoother path to finding a quality graphing calculator for little money.

Places to look for cheap graphing calculators (scroll down for details):

  • eBay
  • Craigslist
  • Garage/Moving-Away Sales

eBay & Craigslist

Both Craigslist and eBay are treasure troves, brimming with deals on just about everything, including graphing calculators. The best time of the year to check these websites for cheap graphing calculators is during the early summer months. It is during this time that high school and college graduates are looking to get rid of their no longer needed school supplies. Both sites have their advantages and disadvantages.

On Craigslist, you are depending purely on chance that persons in your immediate region are looking to sell or give away a graphing calculator. If you are fortunate to find such a posting, you will have the advantage of being able to physically use the item before paying for it. Of course, this advantage can backfire. Be sure to pick up the calculator in an area that is well in the open, in the view of onlookers (as to prevent any chance of a scam or robbery from taking place).

On eBay, you must keep in mind that you will not know whether the calculator functions properly until it arrives at your doorstep. Plus, there are shipping costs associated with obtaining your graphing calculator, which can make up for an insignificant discount that you may be getting from the seller.

Garage Sales & Moving-Away Sales
TI-30XS Calculator
While high school and college students are more likely to take advantage of the internet selling tools at their disposal, some may resort to the old-fashioned route by selling their graphing calculators at a garage sale. Again, you will have the advantage of testing the calculator out before deciding to buy it. Garage sales take place frequently in suburban neighborhoods, and take little effort to find. The majority of them take place on weekends.