Among the most-expensive items on many families' back-to-school
shopping lists are electronics, such as computers, tablets, MP3
players and smart phones. According to a National Retail Federation
survey, families are expected to spend about $218, on average, on
these items during the back-to-school shopping season this year.
That might cover the cost of smaller items, such as phones, but
families will have to shell out more if they want to buy laptop
computers or certain tablets.
The Kip Tips iPad App
However, there are ways to keep the cost of electronics under
control. Jon Rettinger, president of gadget review site
, offers these tips:
Shopping online makes it easy to compare prices from several
retailers. And there are plenty of sites that do the bargain
hunting for you by scouring the Web for the best deals. Our
favorite deal site, dealnews.com, has a page devoted to the
. Other sites that feature deals on computers and other tech items
Monitor daily deals.
You can find deeply discounted computers and other items on daily
deal sites that specialize in tech products, such as
. These sites feature just one product a day, but both offer e-mail
alerts so that you don't have to monitor the sites each day.
Set up price alerts.
If you want to buy a particular tech product (not just the
lowest-price computer, for example), sign up for price alerts so
that you can receive an e-mail when the price on that product
changes. There are a number of price alert sites that track
electronics, such as
You can save a lot by purchasing refurbished tech items, which are
used but restored to like-new condition and usually have a one-year
warranty. Among the sites where your can find refurbished
computers, tablets and other products are
Take advantage of trade-in programs.
One way to pay less for a new tech item is to trade in a used item.
A number of retailers, including Best Buy, Circuit City and Radio
Shack, have trade-in programs that offer cash, a gift card or
credit for the value of a used item that can be applied toward the
purchase of a new item.
Just say no to tech support and retailers' extended warranties,
Rettinger says. Your credit card might offer an extended warranty
How Credit Cards' Extended Warranty Coverage Stacks
). Or Rettinger suggests buying extended warranty coverage through
, which offers warranties 40% to 60% cheaper than retailers'
warranties. Another extra that he says to avoid is Microsoft Office
Home & Student edition ($120) because you can use
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