new tvDid you miss the big Black Friday sales this year? If you were paying attention to old Gadget Dad, you'd know that pre-Christmas sales aren't always the best time to buy electronics. In fact, the best thing you could do if you're looking to save money is to wait for the after-Christmas sales.
If you held off picking up new gear, you're in luck: Prices will drop considerably over the next few weeks as sellers look to clear their shelves for new hardware.
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Here is my cheat sheet for your post-holiday shopping. The shelves may be bare of Lalaloopsy and Wii games, but prices on cameras, laptops, and TVs are about to drop like a rock.
First, remember that inventory will be priced to move after Christmas. PCs, laptops, TVs, cellphones -- all this stuff is just itching to fly out of stores. Also check Amazon and eBay: Many online sellers who couldn't clear their wares over the holiday are now ready to bargain.
Keep your eye open for upgraders. Many folks will get new hardware or cameras around the holidays and are ready to sell last year's model. Do your research, but if you're in the market for a DSLR or video camera, a 2010 model will work just as well as the latest and greatest.
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Also, remember that Windows 8 is right around the corner. Be patient. If you have to upgrade, look for more powerful PCs that will be able to run Microsoft's new platform. It's not coming in 2012, and may not even hit in 2013. But you still have to be ready for it.
2012 will the year of the thin and light ultrabook. These laptops will look a lot like the Macbook Air and feature powerful processors, big screens, and will probably be Windows 8-ready (if you're not a Mac family). If you can afford to wait, give manufacturers a few months to build out their inventory and then go shopping. Prices on older models will go down, and ultrabook prices will fall around Back-To-School season.
TV prices will go down after January. TV prices will drop right around Super Bowl time. Stores need to get bulky gear out of their warehouses, and newer models are muscling in as we speak.
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As a corollary, Apple prices never go down. Waiting for a steal on an iPad? Ain't gonna happen. Apple doesn't discount, so if you're in the market for a device visit Apple.com and check out the refurbished deals. The laptops are as good as new, and the service and support are excellent.
Finally, keep your wits about you and know when to ask for help. Don't buy extended warranties, and don't worry about insurance. Standard warranties are enough and companies are paying more attention to Twitter and other social media, so if something happens, seek out social media resources. Be sure to make your geekier friends happy this season by dropping off fresh-baked cookies and a bottle of something so they can help you upgrade and repair your gear down the line.
Image via Alan_D/Flickr
Written by John Biggs for CafeMom's blog, The Stir.
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