Tagged With buying

Shared from Kotaku

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After much anticipation, a package rocked up at the office this week. We get a lot of packages coming through the doors, especially when you share space with fashion journalists, video game experts and tech reviewers.

But this package was special. It was a mouse, not that I needed another. But it was new and that was enough to be exciting.

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Whether it's poorly reported stories of hacked Samsung TVs, sadly hilarious tales of hacked teddy bears, or even more bizarre claims about wiretapped microwaves, real, fake and overblown accounts of all the things that can happen with the devices we choose to connect to the internet dominate the news. We've brought this stupid future on ourselves.

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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Like it or not, eBay is the biggest auction website in Australia and often has some excellent bargains. But it also has loads of competition from other buyers, a not very intuitive search system and oodles of identical products to wade through. Fortunately there are some essential tricks to become an eBay master.

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US-centric: Got a product you want to find for a steal, but not enough time to run through Fatwallet, Slickdeals, BensBargains, or any other of the deep-discount sites? Deal aggregator Combyo gives you results on any product, filtered by date, source, or category, and lets you set email price alerts for anything that's just not cheap enough yet. It's fairly similar in purpose to previously-mentioned Dealighted, but the interface is a lot cleaner and easier to run through (Original Dealighted post).

Combyo

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Wired's How-To Wiki takes a group-edited look at the digital camera market and how a newcomer (or, more likely at this point, a buyer replacing their first, outdated model) can parse all the features and statistics to come out with a reasonable bargain. Their advice on megapixels, one of the most hyped features on any camera, is pretty reasonable:

Then there is the fact that even a 3.1 MP camera, which is obsolete for non-camphones, can take a perfectly passable 6" by 8" photograph. The current standard for the low end of consumer digital cameras is between 5 and 7 megapixels, allowing flawless 8x10s. Really, when any camera you buy lets you print 8x10s, do more mexapixels matter?

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You already love the one-stop convenience of shopping online at Amazon.com, but chances are you're not getting everything you can out of this feature-packed shopping engine. Did you know Amazon can email you suggestions from Mom's wish list two weeks before her birthday? Automatically ship you a new case of toilet paper every two months? Refund the difference on the price of an item you purchased that went on sale? Several advanced Amazon features and third party apps and add-ons can help you get the best deals and the stuff you want delivered to your door right on time. After the jump, add our favourite 10 Amazon power-shopper tools to your cart.

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US-centric: Web site FreeShipping.org rounds up free shipping coupons to over 600 stores, helping you save cash on your next online purchase. Similar to previously mentioned Free Shipping On, FreeShipping.org appears to have a slightly broader reach and better navigation. The two sites also appear to showcase slightly different coupons for some sites, so both might be worth a look before you check out and pay for shipping. Alternately, if Amazon is your online retailer of choice, the Amazon Filler Item Finder is a must-bookmark site for getting to free shipping on your Amazon purchases.

FreeShipping.org

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Over at the Get Rich Slowly personal finance blog, one buy-savvy reader shares the techniques and thinking she's used to improve her haggling, a skill many of us have neglected or ignored entirely. Whether at a yard sale or big-box electronics store, changing your angle of approach can often yield solid savings. A few of her suggestions:

If I'm at a yard sale or buying a bunch of things, I pile them up and ask for a better price because I'm buying a lot. I always ask if there's a discount for good customers, and that's often all it takes to get a discount. I ask, "Can you take $XXX if I promise to give it a good home?" I say, "It's so cute, I don't need it, but it's really attractive, can you take $XXX for it?" It's amazing how minor a nudge it takes to get something off the price.

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Ramit at I Will Teach You To Be Rich shares a system his friend uses to set a firm amount of discretionary spending each month and then not spend more. It's a take on the "cash in envelopes" system (represented digitally in programs like Budget, and it's just as grok-able—when the money's gone for the month, it's gone. Obviously, you'd want to ensure you don't draw serious overdraft fees, and you'd have to have a handle on your monthly budget to begin with, but it's at least as effective as deducting credit charges as you go, and possibly moreso, with the thought of having a card turned down a nice social conditioner. For those with a fuzzy grip on spending, this technique could make the numbers seem pretty firm.

How to use a separate debit card for discretionary spending

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US-centric: Easily find items sold online with free shipping on sites like Amazon, eBay, and more than 500 other online stores with website Free Shipping On. The website sports easy navigation: two tabs that allow you to perform searches for items available on Amazon and eBay with free shipping, and then a third tab takes you to a page that offers free shipping coupons for over five hundred stores, from Apple to Walmart and organized by category as well. If shipping costs usually cause you to scratch your head and decide to wait for a better deal on retail, you may now want to reconsider.

Free Shipping On

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You've probably proved this theory to yourself and groaned about it, but researchers at the Stanford Graduate School of Business can prove it—buying one item reduces the amount of deliberation that goes into buying the next item, and the next one, and so on. In other words, as Get Rich Slowly's J.D. puts it:

Once a person decides to buy one thing, this creates "shopping momentum," increasing the likelihood that he will buy additional items. If you pick up an impulse item (like a magazine or candy bar) as you enter a store, this can serve as a trigger to encourage you to buy more.

It's a good reason to find your impulse buy weaknesses and stay clear of them, if possible, to avoid arriving home with a long, unexplainable receipt in your pocket.

How Shopping Momentum Leads to More Shopping

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US-centric: Dying to catch those last few tickets for an upcoming show but don't want to be stuck with the worst seats in the room? New ticket search website SeatQuest drills down on the tickets still available in your price range (or offered for auction on eBay or elsewhere) and shows you exactly where they are. The site is still in a somewhat limited beta, so not all venues or shows are listed, but SeatQuest could save some ticket-hunting time and help late-comers find seats near their friends.

SeatQuest