Dr. Mac’s Rules of Bargain Hunting

| Dr. Mac's Rants & Raves

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #188

I like a good bargain on anything, but I love bargain hunting for tech toys. My friends call me thrifty or conscientious but the fact is I’m a cheapskate. It irks me to pay too much for anything, especially tech goodies, which is why I’m so obsessed with finding great products at rock bottom prices. So here are some rules for bargain hunting:

The First Rule of Bargain Hunting

First, I always look at Amazon.com before committing to a purchase elsewhere. As often as not Amazon has the lowest price, and its product selection can’t be beat.

I've bought 47 things from Amazon so far this year...

I’ve bought 47 items from Amazon so far this year…

Here’s an example: I love Apple’s Leather Loop band for Apple Watch, but $149 for a watchband is an outrage. A quick search of Amazon.com revealed dozens of high-quality leather loop strap knock-offs; I ordered one for just $21.99—a black Bandkin Leather Loop Strap with Magnet Lock Replacement Band—which looks as good as Apple’s at a fraction of the cost. I’ve been wearing it for months and it’s wearing so nicely I just ordered another in Midnight Blue.

It looks like the $149 Apple band for just $22.

It looks like the $149 Apple band for just $22.

Here’s another example: I like tempered glass screen protectors for my iPhone. Unfortunately, they don’t last long—I’ve never had one that lasted more than a few months before I chipped or broke it. So paying $34.95 for one at the Apple Store was out of the question. Amazon.com saved the day again with three LaoHe Premium Tempered Glass Screen Protectors for $9.99 ($3.33 each).

Finally, I’ve been using BlueAnt Wireless HD Sportbuds for years. They’re waterproof, sweatproof, and everything else-proof Bluetooth earbuds that I recommended when they were over $100. I recommend them even more strongly today. Although they’ve been discontinued by the manufacturer, you can still order them for as little as $28.99 at Amazon.com. I recently bought sets for my wife and both kids and everyone loves them.

The Second Rule of Bargain Hunting

Second, my favorite store on the Internet after Amazon.com is Monoprice.com, which has the best prices around on commodity items such as cables and batteries. For example, a 1.8 meter HDMI cable will run you $19.00 at the Apple Store, and it’s available in any color you like as long as it’s black. Monoprice has a plethora of similar HDMI cables, but its prices start at around $2.00, with many available in multiple colors.

Why pay $19 or more for an HDMI cable— Monoprice has 'em in a variety of lengths and colors starting at $1.67!

Why pay $19 or more for an HDMI cable— Monoprice has ’em in a variety of lengths and colors starting at $1.67!

The Third Rule of Bargain Hunting

One more thing: I buy a lot of iOS apps and am always looking for bargains on them, so I joined a couple of iOS app discovery web sites—http://www.appshopper.com/ and http://www.appsliced.co/. I’ve got both configured to notify me whenever the price drops on an app I’m interested in; I try to only buy expensive apps when they’re on sale.

I’ve saved over $500 so far this year bargain hunting; I hope you save even more.

P. S. If you start your Amazon.com shopping at smile.amazon.com.05% of the purchase price goes to the charity of your choice, which is kind of sweet.

And that’s all he wrote…

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