Dig into Internet, uncover big deals

  • Article by: RANDY A. SALAS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 3, 2008 - 4:55 PM

DVDs, video games and more can be found at great discounted prices if you know where to look.

When times are tough economically, you might put off major occasional purchases such as a digital camera, a computer or a DVD player. But it's hard not to spend money on the various media you need to use the electronic gear you already have -- DVDs, CDs, video games, blank discs, storage cards and more. You could cut back on such purchases, or you could spend more wisely. Here are some online resources offering tried-and-true tips for the techno-tightwad.

 

DVDs and CDs

Finding online deals on DVDs is easy; just bookmark DVD Price Search (www.dvdpricesearch.net). The continually updated database is geared solely toward DVDs -- including high-def discs -- and factors in current coupons and shipping charges when listing the lowest prices. It even has a shopping cart system that allows you to find the best deals when ordering several titles.

If you prefer not to search around, Deep Discount (www.deepdiscount. com, shown above), consistently offers some of the lowest CD and DVD prices, which include shipping. Amazon (www.amazon.com) is competitive when your order totals more than $25, which typically triggers free shipping.

Buying used is a great way to save. Half.com (www.half.com) is a sister site of eBay where individual sellers set fixed prices, but shipping charges are uniform. Even though Half.com originated as a used-item site, many of the wares are new -- categorized seller descriptions explain what you're buying.

Netflix (www.netflix.com) is the choice when renting DVDs online. Pricing options vary, but you can, for example, rent three DVDs at a time -- with the total number limited only by how fast you can watch and return them -- for $16.99 a month. That's less than the cost of buying one new DVD.

Come to think of it, who needs to spend money on CDs and DVDs at all? Check out the offerings at your local public library. For example, the Hennepin County Library system has thousands of CDs and DVDs in its holdings, including new releases. Search for titles throughout the system online (www.hclib.org), and then have them sent to your branch for pickup. DVDs can be borrowed for one week, CDs for three. Most other libraries have some kind of DVD and CD collection; ask your librarian to see what's available in your area.

Video games

Newly released video games are difficult to find for much lower than their exorbitant retail prices, so the various price-search engines offer little practical help. Games tend to follow a familiar pattern of being discounted heavily after being available for several months (whereas CDs and DVDs often have sale prices the week they come out).

If you're going to wait a few months anyway, buying used is still a great option for video games. Half.com is a fine resource, but I've found fantastic deals on used titles at EB Games (www.startribune.com/a4062). It often offers coupons on used games, such as the current code AFF25, good for 25 percent off when entered at checkout.

Online rentals are an option for video games, too, but they're not as good a deal as DVDs. GameFly (www.gamefly.com), for example, allows you to have one game out at a time for $15.95 a month, two at a time for $22.95 a month. You might find better options at a local rental store.

Other media

What about all of the other consumable items and other media you need for computers, printers and digital cameras? That means recordable discs, photo paper, ink, storage cards and more.

When it comes to finding the best prices on such techno media, I tend to search for the latest bargains posted at Dealnews (www.dealnews.com) first. It's easy to navigate and the deals often include context and info about applicable coupons. For example, a recent posting about a 2-gigabyte digital memory card for less than $12 shipped noted, "That's the lowest total price we could find for this particular card and one of the cheapest 2GB SD cards we've seen without rebate hassles."

 

Comparable sites include Fat Wallet (www.fatwallet.com) and Slick Deals (www. slickdeals.net), as well as the aggregator Boddit (www. boddit.com), which combs all of them. But I frequently never venture beyond Dealnews.

If you want to keep it simple, two reputable retailers that frequently come up when discussing tech deals are Newegg (www.newegg.com) and Shop4tech (www.shop4tech. com).

Randy A. Salas • 612-673-4542

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