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Dedicated to helping satisfy those tech and gadget cravings without breaking the bank.

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Happy April Fool's to You Too, Starbucks!

Wed, 03/31/2010 - 10:15PM by Toddie 0 Comments -

I'm used to checking the web for the yearly Google April Fool's prank, or listening to NPR for their too-outrageous-to-be-true April 1st story. But I have to admit, Starbucks snuck up on me. I started to read their press release about introducing new sizes in a limited number of U.S. and Canadian stores. And then I looked at the pictures. And then I laughed. I laughed hard. I laughed so hard that had I been drinking coffee, I'd be wearing it.

Congratulations, Starbucks. You made me snarf.



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Online Deal-Finders

Mon, 03/22/2010 - 11:55AM by Toddie 0 Comments -
My first go-to place is Brad's Deals. I don't know how he does it, or even if it's a real person named Brad, but there are deals to be had on a daily basis. You can sign up to be emailed a daily alert on items you're interested in, such as shoes, houseware items, laptops and all kinds of other electronic nirvana. Today, for example, the site is showing off a HP 14 inch notebook for $530, about $150 cheaper than it's being sold without discounts. Another site like Brad's Deals that looks for the top deals of the day is FatWallet.

Another fun site is Woot. This site offers one deal a day, and one only. The deal is only good for one day or until it sells out, whichever occurs first. Obviously, the timing has to be right on this website; if your heart is set on a Panasonic Lumix camera, today's Woot offering of a  Kodak C180 camera won't excite you. But with a price tag of less than $50, maybe the Kodak could do in a pinch. Woot is definitely a site to check on a daily basis, because if the stars have aligned and they're selling what you're wanting, you can get a real steal.

What are your favorite websites for finding the best deals? What's the best deal you've ever gotten?
So you're looking for a new camera, netbook, PSP, or other gadget of your dreams. But you'd really rather not pay full retail price for it. Where can you go to find some deals?



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The Most Kick-Butt Movie Trailer Ever

Sat, 03/13/2010 - 12:55PM by Toddie 0 Comments -

It's probably a cliche to link geeks and gadget-nerds to comics and superheroes, but so be it. Kick-Ass, a comedy about normal people who decide to transform themselves into real-life superheroes,  premiered at SXSW on Friday. Sadly, I'm not actually at SXSW, but I have seen the trailer, and I cannot WAIT for this film. I will spend money on a babysitter for this one, folks.



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Get Your Game On . . . Cheaply

Wed, 03/10/2010 - 11:47AM by Toddie 0 Comments -

True confessions: I am a total video game hound. I like the hidden object games, the puzzle games, the arcade games, even the Lego series. If I had not found a way to get my video games relatively cheaply, my spouse would surely have gotten me an intervention by now. But since I have found ways, my marriage survives intact.

My favorite source for video games is Goozex. This website lets you trade the video games you've grown tired of for video games that you want. You're allocated points for every game you trade in; the points vary on how popular the game is. The nice thing is you can bank up your points and save them for the future; then, when a game shows up that you really want, you spend your points on that game. There is a downside. If you're someone who wants the new Zelda as soon as it comes out, this may not be the site for you. There are waiting lists for the most popular games, so it can take awhile for your name to make it to the top of the queue. But if you don't mind a wait, Goozex is the perfect way to reduce your stash and get the new games you want for free.

Another option is
Gamefly. Gamefly operates alot like Netflix. For a monthly membership fee ($15.95 per month for one game at a time, $22.95 for two games), you can rent video games and play them as long as you want, returning them when you're done. This may be a good option for those who want the new releases as soon as they're released. But crunch the numbers before you decide whether this kind of membership is for you. A year's membership at the lowest price would be almost $200, the equivalent of 10 cheap $20 video games, or 4-5 more expensive video games. If you'd spend more than that in a year purchasing games, then this is a good bargain.

What other options have you all heard about for finding games on the cheap?

 



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Best Time-Wasting iPhone Apps for Younger Kids

Mon, 03/08/2010 - 2:10PM by Toddie 0 Comments -
Weet Woo - $3.99

WeetWoo has done all the hard work of finding and compiling kid-safe videos from YouTube so that you don't have to. Nicely organized into age ranges and channels, your kids can video surf safely - and with channels like Animals, Music, and People, you may even find them choosing to learn about gorillas in the wild over the latest Hannah Montana video.

Education 4 Free LLC - $.99

MATHO is a Bingo styled math game with adjustable levels of difficulty that tests addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. This is a perfect way to sneak in some math practice in a fun way. My 7 year old loves this app.

Stylem Media - $.99

This application lets you and your kids create simple scenes by choosing from categories like Animals, Clouds, People, etc, and positioning them on the "canvas" of the iPhone.  The graphics are sweet and you can save the finished masterpieces to your Photo folder. For 99 cents, this app is a steal.
Just to be clear - I'm not advocating that children be allowed to have iPhones. They should have to earn them, just like I earned mine. BUT. . .there are times when you're at a restaurant waiting for a meal, or in line at the ATM, or at the movie theater waiting for the feature to start. These are the times when a good iPhone app can make the difference between a happy child and a child who, despite your undying love, you want to lock in a room.

These are the apps I currently have on my iPhone that my kids (aged 5 and 7) come to again and again:



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The Best Exercise Programs for Wii

Wed, 03/03/2010 - 1:43PM by Toddie 0 Comments -

Gym memberships are expensive. And I'm frugal. Add to that my body image problems, and Wii exercise programs have been the answer to a prayer. Here are some of my favorite programs.



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A Few of My Favorite Things

Mon, 03/01/2010 - 1:46PM by Toddie 0 Comments -

So what do I currently own that I have been willing to spend my hard-earned dollars on?

iPhone

Granted, this isn't exactly what one would call a "budget" item. But it has been worth every penny. When my prior phone contract ended, I was spending close to $50 a month for a phone that had no data plan, and whose only bells and whistles were a pretty nice calendar and contacts list. So yeah, I'm willing to spend $30 more a month for a phone that has become nigh indispensable to my daily life. Watch for a post soon on my favorite iPhone apps.

Flip Video Ultra

I found a refurbished Flip Ultra for $70. Consider the following. The video camera we owned prior to the Flip (and which my husband still prefers, frankly) gets dragged out on rare occasion - the recitals, school programs, etc. Once I got the Flip, however, it's so portable that I use it to tape pretty much all the time. The kids riding bikes out in the alley? Check. Opening presents Christmas morning? Check. I love that you can send video postcards through the Flip website; it added an easy and fun way to send out Christmas thank-you notes.


Wii

Our Nintendo Wii has gotten so much play over the two years that we've had it, that I figure it's pretty much paid for itself. Especially since I use it as a home gym using a lot of its exercise software. Trust me - a $30 Wii software exercise program is far more inexpensive than a gym membership. Plus, you don't have to worry about if your exercise clothes have holes, or if you're sweating like a pig. Your Wii will never talk back to you (although the Wii Fit will tell you if you're overweight). Look for a posting soon on the best Wii exercise programs.

I'm sure I'll think of more things to come. In the meantime, 'fess up - What are your favorite gadgets?

 

 



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Welcome to the Frugal Geek

Mon, 03/01/2010 - 10:34AM by Toddie 0 Comments -

If you're reading this post, then you hopefully have something in common with me: you love all things gadgety, but perhaps also like me, you don't have the money to buy everything that sings its siren call to you.

If this describes you, then we have much to talk about, my friends. Because I am like a ferret at sniffing out deals, and I always do my homework. If I am going to shell out money which I should be putting into my retirement account or other responsible venue, then I am going to be darn certain that what I am getting is the best that my limited wallet can afford.

And I want to hear from you all as well. What's the most you've ever spent on a device, whether it's a netbook, video camera, smartphone or the like? Was it a good investment for you?

I'm looking forward to having some great conversations and helping you find some great deals. Oh, and just maybe I can win the iPad as well. That'd be nice for my wallet.