Ways to save on back-to-school electronics
Aug 18, 2012 (Dayton Daily News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
As the school year begins, many parents will purchase back-to-school electronics for their children.
Parents estimate they will spend an average of $217.88 on electronics, according to the National Retail Federation's 2012 back-to-school spending survey. The NRF said 59.6 percent of parents will invest in some sort of electronic device, a "sharp increase" from the 51.9 percent who planned to do so in 2011.
Cameron Huddleston is a contributing editor for Kiplinger.com, the website for Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. Huddleston writes the daily Kip Tips column, which provides money-saving advice. Kiplinger is a Washington, D.C.-based publisher of business forecasts and personal finance advice, available in print, online, audio, video and software products.
"Families with children in kindergarten through 12th grade are expected (to) spend a total of $688.62 on average this year on back-to-school purchases," she said. "Among the most expensive items on their lists are electronics, such as computers, tablets, MP3 players and smartphones. There are ways, though, to keep the costs of these items under control. By finding deals on electronics, families will be able to lower their total back-to-school spending."
Here are Huddleston's expert tips for saving on back-to-school electronics.
-- Shop online. "This makes it easy to compare prices from several retailers. Plus, there are several sites that can help you find the best deals. Kiplinger's favorite deal site, dealnews.com, has a page devoted to the best computer deals. Other sites that feature deals on computers and other tech items include MacMall.com (Apple products), Offers.com, Shopping.com and Shopzilla.com."
-- 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 Gazaro, PriceSpider and Price!pinx."
-- Buy refurbished. "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 (you) can find refurbished computers, tablets and other products are Apple.com, BestBuy.com, CompUSA.com, Dell.com, Newegg.com and Walmart.com."
-- 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 RadioShack, 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."
-- Monitor daily deals. "You can find deeply discounted computers and other items on daily deal sites that specialize in tech products, such as RedTag.com and Woot.com. 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."
Local back-to-school electronics deals
-- Save up to $200 when you trade in your laptop for a new computer at OfficeMax stores or at OfficeMax.com. Go to http://www.officemax.com/home/custom.jsp id=m10010097 for more information.
-- Through Saturday, Sept. 8, students and teachers can boost their computer's performance with a free Premium Tune-Up ($19.99 value) when they bring their laptop or PC to any OfficeMax Crtlcenter® Computer Support.
Go to the OfficeMax Weekly Ad page at OfficeMax.com and enter your zip code for additional promotions that start each Sunday.
-- Target's Electronics Trade-In service enables patrons to enjoy savings on the latest gadgets by trading in their used games, Nintendo DS systems, iPhones, iPads, calculators and a wide variety of other electronics items. Individuals may receive credit that can be used toward the purchase of new consumer electronics, video games or other Target purchases. Go to Target.com for more information.
-- Go to the Target.com Weekly Ad page and enter your zip code for deals on electronics that start each Sunday.
-- Students who purchase select laptops and show a student ID or college acceptance letter will receive a $100 Visa prepaid card via EasyRebate.
Consumers who buy qualifying Windows 7-based PCs can update to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99. They will then receive free online training, free phone support and a $15 Visa prepaid card.
Students who show their ID in store and purchase the Staples Premier PC Setup, which costs $99 and includes computer setup, data transfer and more, will get a $25 Visa prepaid card via EasyRebate.
--These deals apply through Saturday, Sept. 15.
-- Visit www.BestBuy.com, and go to the "Shops & Deals" page to get information on deals of the day, and deals near you.
-- This summer, Best Buy launched a new College Student Deals promotion, giving students access to special offers on the season's most popular tech products including laptops, gift cards with purchase, discounts on Geek Squad Tech Support and more. To take advantage of the savings, college students can go to www.bestbuy.com/studentdeals and register using their school email address ending in ".edu". After registering, they will receive an email with a link to coupons which may be redeemed in Best Buy stores nationwide. Each coupon must be accompanied by a valid student ID at the time of purchase.
-- Through Saturday, Oct. 13, students and teachers will receive a 10 percent discount in 1,000 RadioShack locations near college campuses across America. These locations include:
-- 514 Wilmington Ave., Dayton, Ohio 45420
-- 2132 E. Dorothy Lane, Kettering, Ohio 45420
-- 2727 Fairfield Commons #W211, Beavercreek, Ohio 45431
-- 7755 Tylersville Road, West Chester, Ohio 45069
-- 270 S. Locust St., Oxford, Ohio 45056
-- RadioShack's hassle-free Trade & Save Program lets customers trade in pre-owned technology -- everything from mobile phones to cameras to video game consoles. Trade & Save accepts eligible electronics trade-ins no matter where they were purchased, there's no cost to you and no receipt is required. Customers can appraise their device online or come into any RadioShack location. Products traded in are refurbished or recycled, and the customer walks away with immediate store credit. To learn more about Trade & Save or appraise your device, visit a nearby RadioShack or go to www.radioshacktradeandsave.com.
-- RadioShack has a wide variety of products to fill back-to-school needs, including The Amazon Kindle(TM) Fire Full Color Wi-Fi® Tablet, which costs $199 at RadioShack, and the Apple® iPad 2® 16GB version with Wi-Fi®, which costs $399.99 at RadioShack.
Deals for the week of Sunday, Aug. 19
-- $1.99 -- Sharp Scientific Calculator
-- $139.00 -- Monster, Ncredible NTune headphones
-- $59.99 -- Monster, NCredible NErgy (magnetic Snap Together Earbuds)
-- $249.99 -- Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (seven inches); Get a free Samsung Galaxy Tab Book Cover with the purchase of Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 seven inch tablet.
-- $399.99 -- Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 inch; Get a free 16GB microSDHC card with the purchase of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 inch tablet.
-- $399.99 -- Toshiba Excite Tablet; Get a free $50 Visa gift card with the purchase of the Toshiba Excite Tablet.
-- $779.99 -- Toshiba Satellite Ultrabook laptop computer
-- $299.99 -- Toshiba Satellite laptop computer
-- Get a $200 mail-in savings Visa prepaid card when you purchase a qualifying student laptop and a Premium Protection plan with coverage for accidental damage.
-- Walmart is selling Ultrabooks, laptops, all-in-ones, tablets, smartphones, accessories and more this back-to-school season.
-- Walmart is offering the Samsung Galaxy SII as well as a new mobile broadband product called TruConnect, which has no activation fees, no annual contracts and no overage charges, so students can access the Internet when and where they want.
-- Go to Walmart.com or visit a local store for information on specific pricing and deals.
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