Dollars & Sense: Tech shopping the truly Scrooge way - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Voices

Dollars & Sense: Tech shopping the truly Scrooge way

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Linda Hutchings is a Gilbert resident and a life-long frugal consumer—uh, cheap skate. Please reach her at: uberfrugal@outlook.com. Send her your penny-pinching ideas.

Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 6:12 pm | Updated: 6:19 pm, Wed Dec 19, 2012.

Ask Santa for new tech stuff and, most importantly, ask for a techno-wizard elf to keep your stuff running.

For me the word “computer” is a six-lettered word spelled “V-O-O-D-O-O.” Decades ago, Santa brought me my own computer expert, my very own voodoo witch doctor, and I wouldn’t trade him for a free, life-time supply of Godiva chocolates. Here are some great ways to save on tech-stuff. And giddy up, giddy up let’s go, so you have time to get your toys before Christmas!

My voodooist came up with a great Christmas present. When my significant husband needed a new monitor, my elf bought a 32-inch TV instead of another monitor. The TV cost only $200. To do this, make sure that your TV has inputs for both your TV receiver and for your computer. So, Baby Boomers, you’ll be able to read your computer screen better, while eliminating fights over what to watch on TV. Now I can watch “Finding Bigfoot” on the family TV (I found Bigfoot, and I swear it is my gardener, Brock) while my husband can stonily watch his TV monitor as the Suns struggle to avoid going down in flames.

First, let’s talk about where to buy. Get good at shopping online as it is easy, frugal and quick. You typically save money with no sales tax and can often avoid shipping charges. Best of all, you save the most precious and finite resource of all — time! Truly frugal people weigh the amount of money saved against the amount of time spent. Time is money after all.

Second, let’s choose when to buy. My computerized Bernina sewing machine is 15 years old but still runs perfectly. So, I struggle to understand that a 5-year-old PC or Mac is the human equivalent of a 100-year-old man with an oxygen mask over his mouth, IV tubes in his arms, and a Hoveround chair under his buttocks. Your computer may look OK on the outside, but the innards are old. If your computer after five years is asking for Metamucil to speed things up, it may be time to replace it. Throw your old computer out in the desert and completely enjoy your computer for the very first time with your choice of a sledgehammer or a 12-gauge shotgun. Then spit, drink something cool, and clean up the litter.

Finally, let’s decide what to buy. Many websites do all the comparison shopping for you. Dealnews.com showcases its electronic hot deals by giving you an easy interface, a variety of deals, and great visual appeal. With thorough descriptions, Dealnews offers some of the best hot-deal listings found online.

Slickdeals.net, another comparison website, fosters deal-sharing input and accepts no paid placements. The latest deals are updated continually. Slickdeals claims to have the lowest prices, best deals and hottest coupons. There are other similar websites to check out: deals.woot.com; fatwallet.com; bensbargains.net; and apple.com for its refurbished stuff.

Monoprice.com, while not a comparison site, has its own “best-quality products at the lowest price — always.” Here you’ll find high-grade cables, adapters, switches, accessories, inks and toners at low prices. Monoprice has a 30-day money-back guarantee with easy returns. Also, they have a life-time warranty on cables and on non-electronic items. Monoprice gives free life-time support.

Newegg.com is an e-retailer that specializes in electronics, computers and accessories. You will be hard-pressed to find lower prices and Newegg is known for superior shopping, rapid delivery and stellar customer service. Check prices on Newegg and then use its prices to recognize deals from all sources.

Amazon.com boasts that it offers anything that you might want to buy online. Amazon says that it has the lowest possible prices, but you should confirm that claim with due diligence. Amazon is the home for the famous Kindle tablet. Also, find MP3s, audio books, electronics and computers.

For a good local place to shop, Fry’s Electronics is a huge store in Tempe on West Baseline Road just northwest of where U.S. 60 and Interstate 10 cross. Watch for their newspaper sale ads or view them on their website — frys.com. Did you know that Fry’s will price match? Read their “30-Day Price Match Promise” on their site for details. Find a screaming good deal somewhere and see if Fry’s will match it. You could avoid the wait for UPS delivery and quickly drive your prize home in your 300 horse-power sleigh.

Costco has a fantastic, free, two-year warranty on its TVs, and it offers other warranty-purchase plans on the rest of its electronics. Verify details, but don’t ask the guy at guest services; ask the guy working the electronics department.

Well, I hope that Santa brings you lots of gadgets along with a computer voodoo witch-elf — the gift that goes on giving.

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