Don’t Get Shocked: 3 Tips for Smart Electronics Shopping


What's Hot


2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

Giving high-tech gifts this holiday season? Here are some low-tech tips for saving money on them.

Even with a struggling economy, tech toys – for kids and adults – are predicted to be the hot gift items this holiday season. Which makes sense if you think about it …

“Dropping prices on mature products like TVs and laptops, and some hot new categories like tablet computers and e-book readers, have helped keep electronics on the top of many gift lists this holiday season,” says Paul Reynolds, electronics editor of Consumer Reports.

Reynold’s magazine recently conducted a poll of holiday shoppers and found:

  • In households with kids under 12, 59 percent plan to give video games as gifts – even without kids, 39 percent of adults are considering it.
  • Other popular electronics gifts include MP3 players or iPods (18 percent), digital cameras (14 percent), digital photo frames (11 percent) and GPS devices (10 percent).
  • Despite lower prices and new 3D technology, only 8 percent are planning on giving a TV as a gift.

Besides the ailing economy, which explains why holiday shoppers don’t want to drop thousands on a new TV or computer, there’s another reason these big-ticket items aren’t higher on Santa’s list: It’s hard to figure out when you’re getting ripped off. But if there is that special someone you want to splurge on, here are three crucial pieces of advice …

  1. The showroom is not the best room: Many novice tech buyers figure shopping for an expensive TV in person is better than doing it online, because you get to watch the TVs. Problem is, electronic stores are perfectly lit for the products they’re trying to sell. Get that TV or computer home, and you may notice the TV screen isn’t as bright in your living room and the computer screen has too much glare in your bedroom. So go online first. Start with easy-to-understand sites like Consumer Reports TV buying guide, which outlines the type of products without pushing a brand.  When you figure out what you want – plasma vs. LCD television, or PC vs. Mac – Google those specific products and read the customer reviews. Then go to the store and look at those big-ticket items in literally a whole new light.
  2. Used is not abused: In the car business, they’re called “pre-owned.” In the computer business, they’re “refurbished.” But in both cases, they’re a heck of a lot cheaper. For instance, a “Refurbished iMac 27-inch 2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5” on Apple’s own site is $1,529. That’s $400 – 23 percent – off the price of a new machine. And it comes with a limited one-year warranty. If you shop in store, ask to see the returns or the floor models.
  3. Be wary of warranties: It’s not usually the price that’s the ripoff – it’s the often unnecessary and always expensive warranties the sales staff pushes on you at the point of purchase.  If you really want that extra peace of mind, be aware that  some credit cards offer free extended warranties if you use that card for your purchase.  You can also buy a warranty later from a different company – try comparison-shopping on the web. When it comes to theft and damage, you may already be covered. “Many homeowners and renter’s insurance policies cover electronics and other expensive goods up to a certain limit,” says Jane L. Cline, president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). “It’s important to do your research ahead of time so you make financially responsible choices at the register and avoid spending more than you need to.” If your policy has actual cash-value coverage, you’ll be reimbursed for the current cost of the property at the time of the claim, minus the deductible. And if you have replacement cost coverage, you’ll be reimbursed for the full value of the replacement item.

See our video Are Extended Warranties Worth It? as well as 7 Tips to Trim Your Tech Spending.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: Lookin’ Good! How to Get a Killer Deal on Eyeglasses

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,983 more deals!