Our Rules for Family Gadget Shopping
by the Gadget Gals
Gadgets are everywhere this holiday season and undoubtedly they have popped up on a few wish lists in your family. Whether you are a gadget person yourself or have been thrown into the role of designated gift purchaser, here are a few rules for gadget buying that may save your sanity and your hard-earned cash.
- Ask questions - Unless this gadget is meant to be a total surprise, ask a few questions about the gadget the person wants. Why do they want it? Have they ever seen or played with one? Do they have a specific one in mind? Are there other acceptable versions of the gadget? Do they know what this gadget costs? Do they know where you might be able to get a deal on one? (Kids often hear about great deals on television like early morning purchases at certain stores or one-day sales events - make sure they keep you posted.)
- Never buy on impulse and always do some homework - Just to get it off your shopping list it can be easy to buy a gadget on impulse. Before you do that, make sure you have done some price shopping. Many gadgets like the iPod, the popular MP3 player from Apple, will probably only vary in price by about five to ten dollars because it is the hot thing to have to have this year. But game systems like Microsoft's Xbox or Nintendo's GameCube have been around since last year and there are some deep discounts on them this year. Do some checking on prices online and by following ads in the newspaper.
- Shop around - If you are comfortable shopping online, it can save you time and money. For grandparents and others who may not be comfortable shopping online, remind them that almost all the online merchants allow you to order online and then send or call in your payment information. It takes longer, but it can be worth it. As always, we recommend looking at a site like http://www.computers.com for reviews and price comparisons.
- Look out for the shipping charges - The price might be great online, but the check out the shipping charges. They are the way that many online sites are making up for offering better prices. Don't get ripped off.
- Don't be a Scrooge. Yeah, you are probably right that next year there will be a better, smaller, faster and less inexpensive version of this gadget that has more features - but the person who has put the gadget on their wish list thinks they are ready for this gadget now. When it comes to gadgets, there will always be a better, less expensive version tomorrow. Get over it.
- Remember, everyone is NOT a gadget person - Even though you may love a gadget and think it will be perfect for someone else, that's not always the case. Some people love gadgets and some don't. This Gadget Gal sent a wonderful miniature scanner to her college professor brother and thought he'd love it to use for his research work. When he called to thank his gadget-crazy sister for the unique gift, he asked apologetically, "Would you mind if I exchange it?" ľAnd he got a flannel camping shirt instead.
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