How to find great tech deals this Christmas

My mother-in-law is obsessed with flyers. *Obsessed*.  She is a hardcore bargain cartshopper, and the flyers are her lifeline to savings.  Each week when the flyers arrive, she studies them cover-to-cover committing each sale to memory.  If I want 2L of Diet Pepsi, all I need to do is call her up and ask her who has the best price in Quispamsis – she knows it.  When she’s finished with the flyers, she hand-delivers the juicy secrets of weekly savings to our family, along with her top 10 picks of the best deals in town.  What’s not to like about that, huh?

When it comes to tech deals though, the student has become the master.  You and I don’t need to study paper flyers week to week to find the best deals.  This information has all moved to the online world in the 21st century, and if you know where to look, you can find the best deals in tech all week, every week.

Here are my top sites for tech savings this holiday season:

Dell’s Red Hot Deal of the Day – I know people think of Dell as a computer vendor, but their online site also has some of the best deals in tech.  Each day, they have a Red Hot Deal of the Day, which is a one-day sale on a random item usually at a substantial discount.  Dell also has weekly specials on HDTV’s, monitors, gaming, and cameras.  Also, don’t miss Dell.ca Days of Deals.  Every so often, they put on this promotion with amazing sales on good quality brand name tech.  Did I mention free shipping on just about everything?  And their Clearance Center?  Whenever I’m shopping for a tech deal, this is my first stop.

The Source’s “Circuit Breaker” – Each and every day, TheSource.ca has a Circuit Breaker sale item. The on-sale item is usually something that they are trying to clear out, but I’ve found several unbelievable deals here.  Many people on my Christmas lists have received formerly-pricey items from The Source’s Circuit Breaker sales.  Stock is often limited, so check early and often.  Also, don’t miss The Source’s online Clearance Outlet and Doorcrashers for the same reasons. Finally, take advantage of free shipping to any The Source store in Canada; why pay more?

NewEgg.ca Shell Shocker – Similar to the Source’s Circuit Breaker, NewEgg.ca has a daily deal on brand name tech called the Shell Shocker.   Again, I’ve shell-shocked many tech lovers on my Christmas list with these deals. The only downside about NewEgg is their shipping isn’t always free, and when it is not free it’s usually pricey. Often I’ve found great deals on this site and not pulled the trigger due to the cost of shipping.

Best Buy’s Daily Deal – BestBuy.ca also has a daily sale item.  Truthfully, I’ve never bought from BuyBuy.ca and they aren’t well known in Atlantic Canada.  But, I wouldn’t hesitate to jump on a sale from these guys if the right one popped up.

Apple.ca’s Refurbished Products – I love Apple products; they are just hands-down some of the best tech around these days. However, the best never came cheap, and this is definitely the case with Apple products.  They never go on sale, and when they do, the sales are usually for 5-10% off tops.  But, you can get Apple products at deep discounts if you purchase refurbished gear from their web site. These products are usually returned products in pristine condition. The items tend to be “last year’s tech”, but if you have someone on your list that wouldn’t mind something less than the absolutely newest model of iPod, this is for you.  For example, right now the last generation 8GB iPod Touch is available for $169, and the current generation 160GB iPod classic for $229.

Futureshop.ca  – I like Futureshop.ca, but it’s at the bottom of the list for a reason. FutureShop has great sales from time to time, but I find them consistently hard to find.  FutureShop’s goal is to bring you into their bricks-and-mortar store, so they don’t excel at bringing the best tech sales to the web. That said, you can sometimes find worthwhile deals in their Clearance Outlet. My last tip is to watch the web sites for refurbished equipment sales.  These goldmines are by far your best bet for finding the best prices in tech year around.  When the online stores need to clear space in the stockroom, this gear gets given away for next to nothing when compared to the MRSP.  Sign up for the online fliers from The Source, FutureShop, Dell and Best Buy.  I know I just panned flyers and I’m contradicting myself a bit here.  But, signing up for the online flyers is the only way to get notification of special sales that never appear in the paper flyers. Signing up for this “bacon” (as opposed to “spam”) can definitely be worth your while.

Bottom line: Don’t pay full-price for your tech; your mother-in-law will be proud of you.  Did I miss anything?  What are your secrets for finding great tech deals?

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