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Five Steps to Save on Electronics

One area where you can spend a lot of money is buying electronic gadgets. But you don't always have to spend a fortune to have the latest technology.

If you prepare and follow a plan, you can satisfy your appetite for electronics, such as digital cameras, MP3 players and video game consoles, and not break the bank in the process.

Here are some tips that you may want to use and then adjust according to your particular needs:

1. Give Yourself Time

If you have to purchase something in a rush, you are going to end up spending more and have a higher likelihood of getting something that doesn't meet all your needs.

To get a good deal, you're going to have to do a bit of research and comparison shopping. This is time-intensive, but if you don't do the proper research, you'll likely pay more in the end.

In addition to leaving time to research your purchase, time will also give you the opportunity to step back and ask yourself if you truly need the gadget. Impulse purchases not only cost more money, but are often made for gadgets that don't meet the buyer's needs. According to Martha Stewart , 80% of all the stuff in your house is never used, and you want to make sure that the gadget you're about to purchase won't join the ranks of the unused.

2. Read Product Reviews

Take the time to read reviews on whatever you are looking to buy. Reading reviews from major tech and consumer research sites is a good place to start.

Many are free online, but some of the best, such as Consumer Reports , require a subscription. If you have a library card, you may be able to gain access to their reports from your computer. Many libraries have online databases you can access from your home with your library card that carry back issues of these magazines. Contact your local library to see if this is available for you.

3. Consult Friends and Family

Take the time to check with friends and co-workers who may have knowledge with the gadget you're looking to purchase. This will allow you to see what their likes and dislikes are and possibly use it firsthand.

Someone who already uses the gadget will be able to give you insight into what is good and what possibly could be a problem with the gadget you are considering purchasing. This can be quite helpful when making a decision about what to purchase and will help ensure that you buy a product that has the functions that you need. For example, if you need a camera to use for landscape photography, you would want different features than if you needed one to take close-up photos of items to place on auction sites.

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