By Jonathan Langer – Contributing Writer
The holiday season provides a great opportunity to purchase an electronic item for your family or friends. While the selection process may appear extremely involved and entail high spending, it by no means has to be that way.
With Christmas quickly approaching, many are likely scrambling to finish (or in some cases begin) their holiday shopping. It can prove mind-boggling to sort through the wide assortment of products marketed toward consumers.
In my opinion, a valuable gift is one that can prove itself useful throughout the duration of its lifetime. While some gifts exhibiting this characteristic may appear dull or boring, they are often the most practical. That fancy iPod dock with loads of features or a high-tech charging pad might seem pretty appealing on the shelf, but each may lose its appeal after a few months in a hectic lifestyle.
When choosing a gift for someone, consider that person’s interests and hobbies. Don’t overlook simple traits. For example, if your friend loves music but has a tough time managing his/her endless assortment of CDs, consider purchasing an iPod or MP3 player for them. If someone has recently enrolled in college or has acquired a job which involves lots of travel, think about a laptop or netbook, granted he/she does not already own one.
When confronted with the term ‘electronics’ or ‘technology’, many automatically assume the purchase will involve a high price tag. While sometimes true, this is often not the case. An excellent example of this is a USB thumb/flash drive. Most can be purchased for under $20, and are handy for just about anyone, regardless of job or age. Additionally, countless peripherals or accessories are available for larger items already owned.
While exceptional deals can typically be found on Black Friday, most retailers offer specials throughout the holiday season, as well. Often one can spot a bargain by checking prices year-round online. Several stores intermittently offer perks such as free shipping or combo deals, providing the potential for big savings. Finding a great deal doesn’t necessarily require getting out of bed at 3 am. Web sites such as Froogle are dedicated to ensuring you are offered the lowest price available, regardless of time of purchase.
Extended warranties are almost guaranteed to be pushed upon the purchaser of that new piece of technology. More times than not, this is an unnecessary expense. Research and track records have shown today’s computers, televisions, and other equipment to be very reliable. Cell phones and portable items prone to drops or damages are exceptions, however. In these cases, an extended warranty or service contract may be a good idea to consider.
All in all, the classic line that mother always preached, “It’s the thought that counts,” just might be pretty accurate, after all.