The IT Guy: Save money with these 7 tech tools

July 3, 2011 

  • Morgan Bonner answers your computer questions and offers technology tips and suggestions.

    Send your questions to: theitguy@island packet.com

    Follow him on Twitter: @packetITguy

    If you're like me, you are probably looking to keep every possible penny in your bank account that you can these days. Thankfully there are lots of ways to scrimp and save online, and even a few to help you make a little extra cash. Here are a few services that I use, as well as some other tips I've picked up along the way:

  • Fat Wallet (www.fatwallet.com): If you love deals -- especially on gadgets -- this is the site for you. The Fat Wallet team curates the best deals from around the Web and partners with major retailers to offer coupons and other discounts every day. They also offer a cash-back service, in which you earn actual cold, hard cash for shopping with them. Using their service, I earned $40 dollars cash back on the last computer I bought. Not too shabby! The real action happens in the Fat Wallet forums though, as other consumers post new deals all day long that they've found online.

  • Gazelle (www.gazelle.com): Another great way to get a little extra dough, Gazelle will take your used gadgets (cell phones, computers, cameras, etc.) off your hands. Simply tell them what you want to sell -- if they're buying (which they almost always are for anything made in the past three years) simply tell them what condition your gadget is in and they'll make you an offer which you can accept or decline. If you accept, they'll email you a pre-paid shipping label for you to send your gadget to them. And when they receive it, if it's like you said it was, a check arrives in the mail a few weeks later.

  • Even if your gadget isn't worth anything, they'll still offer to recycle it for you. I use this service constantly and can't recommend it enough.

  • Amazon Mom (www.amazon.com/gp/mom/signup/info): If you have a baby at home, this service from Amazon is unbeatable. Get up to 30 percent off select diapers and wipes and 15 percent off almost everything else. In my case, the real value of the service is that with the free standard shipping (or free two-day shipping if you're also an Amazon Prime member), a box of diapers just shows up on my doorstep every month right on time so that's one less thing I have to worry about. And that, if you're the parent of a toddler, is worth its weight in gold.

  • Check gas prices: Use a gas price checker app on your smartphone or go to www.gasbuddy.com. You can easily find the cheapest gas in the area with just a tap of your finger or a click of the mouse. And with the way gas prices are now I have no problem going a few miles out of my way to save 5 cents on a gallon.

  • Use a barcode scanner on your smartphone: Numerous barcode scanning applications exist for both the iPhone and Android platforms. Using your phone's camera, the app can scan barcodes and tell you immediately if a cheaper price can be found either at another local retailer or online.

  • Corporate discounts on cell phone bills: If you work for a large company, check to see if you are eligible for a corporate discount with your wireless provider. All of the major carriers offer discounts on phone hardware and monthly rates to many companies, and those companies don't always remember to inform new employees that they are eligible to participate.

  • Buy cheap HDMI cables: This one won't win me any friends at Best Buy, but the fact is, if you paid more than $5 dollars for an HDMI cable, then you got swindled. Unlike with the old analog cables, HDMI cables are purely digital -- ones and zeros. No amount of 24K gold plating or nitrogen-injected whatever makes any difference with a digital signal. Buy them on Amazon.com for a couple bucks each and tell everyone you know how not to get taken. Sorry, Best Buy, but I still love you guys!

  • Morgan Bonner is Pre-Press Manager and a systems administrator for the Packet and Gazette

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