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There are so many tech gadgets on the market. It’s hard to know what to buy. You don’t want to invest a lot of money on a piece of junk.  I’m pretty frugal with my money and always do some serious research before investing in a new technical gadget. However, its always fun buying a new gadget to play with. For me, I love buying a new camera or lens. So to make your holiday tech shopping a little easier I thought I would share some tech buying tips.

1. Make sure it is an item you need and not just want: Often times its so easy to get caught up in the hoopla surrounding the release of a new item (ipad anyone?). Yes, it often looks like a really cool gadget, but if its just going to sit on the counter collecting dust after the first month was it really worth it?  Really, truly  think about what you would use the item for and how often. Is there something else you already own that would do the same thing? Is it something that will go on sale after the hype has calmed down? If so, wait a month or so after it’s release to see if the price changes.

2. Read Reviews: I can’t harp on this one enough. Read, read, read. Find a forum that reviews tech gadgets and read their reviews. Post questions, ask for input.  You may want to ask about how well the item has held up, does it perform as promised, is there any quirks that make it difficult to use, or would they choose to buy that same item again. Now, remember that everyone is going to have a different opinion. Some may hate an item and some may love it. Personally, I toss out the gushing love reviews and the evil hate reviews and look at the average comments about the item.  Don’t know where to start looking??? Google is your friend. Just type in “Tech gadget I must have reviews” and hit enter. I promise there will be many sites to choose from.

3. Check Batter Type: Oh, this one comes directly from the man :)  Alan wanted me to be sure to include this one. Battery issues drive us nuts.  I swear we should take stock out in a battery company.  Alan says to check to see if the gadget uses a good rechargeable battery or if it takes disposables that you are going to have to replace every week.  Yes, you can buy rechargeable double a batteries and that is a great idea, but it’s even better when the gadget  comes with a battery that you recharge by plugging in.  My cameras take batteries like that. Just pop out the Canon battery, pop it into the charger and a couple hours later I’m ready to go. I hate searching around the house for double a’s or, worse yet, having to run to the store to buy new ones.  Save yourself the hassle and buy gadgets that are produced with a rechargeable battery

4. Shop Around: There are lots of stores competing for your hard earned dollars. Do yourself a favor and shop around for the best deal. Just because a store has an item listed in their sale ad doesn’t mean they are offering the best price for it. I seen this a few times with the Black Friday ads. They would have an item listed like it was a great deal and it was their regular everyday price–that is rude, but I think that is what commerce is coming to :( So, be the smart savvy shopper that I know you are and check around to see who will give you the most bang for your buck. Don’t be afraid to shop online. Sometimes you can find great prices, but make sure you check shipping rates AND return policies.

5. Try Before You Buy: Go to a local store and actually play with an item before you shell out some money for it. This is especially true for tech gadgets. You might see a great deal online and it looks really sweet, but when you get to a brick and mortar store and actually use the item you may find its not such a good deal after all.  Not to harp on the ipad, but my sister was convinced that she wanted one. I encouraged her to try it out a bit before she paid out that much money. After following my suggestion and actually going to the store and handling it she changed her mind. It might be a pain to track down the actual item, but in the long run it can save you some money. Now, I know that you might not always be able to try before you buy. In that case make sure you purchase the item from a reliable source and you completely understand their return policy.

There you go….5 tips to help you make informed tech purchases this holiday season.  Do you have any tips to share?? Please leave me a comment.

disclaimer: I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Staples blogging program, making me eligible for a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.


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