Save v. Splurge: What to buy or skip on Cyber Monday

Best Cyber Monday deals

Cyber Monday is one of the biggest e-retail holiday of the year, so it’s natural to see it as way to penny pinch on presents or new year gadget investments. But before you click ‘Buy’ there are a few things to think about. Just because a tablet is 63 percent off retail value, that doesn’t mean it’s going to save you a lot of money down the road. Here are some tips on what the skip or buy while you’re roaming today’s deals.

Buy: Televisions

TVs are easily the biggest sales category on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Although some of the televisions up for grabs today may be older models, it’s safe to say you don’t necessarily need the latest versions of TVs to get the most out of home entertainment. Look for a brand name device that is upgraded with the latest tech you know you’ll utilize, such as Wi-Fi or smart TV apps. No need to spend the extra couple hundred bucks on 3D technology if you won’t find yourself using it. Besides, extra pairs of 3D glasses start at $20, which tacks on a huge expense if you’ve got a larger family.

Skip: Off-brand devices

If you really want a tablet but can’t afford the Apple iPad sticker price (even with the small discount), do not opt for the cheaper, off-brand editions like AGPTek, Mach Speed, or SVP. Many major manufacturers are releasing budget tablets with great specs at half the cost of an iPad – all designed to deliver at a great value. Today, the Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7 are both reasonably discounted. Would you rather spend $200 on a brand name item that is guaranteed first tier of updates, or a random knockoff with mediocre specs just because it’s $50 cheaper? We promise that you won’t be using that latter tablet for as long.

Buy: Latest generation Apple products

ipod touch vertical colors apple announcement sept 12You could wait six months for a new Apple product that hasn’t even been announced yet, or you can get your hands on one now at a small discount because let’s face it: Apple products are rarely offered at huge discounts anyway. If you’re sitting around waiting for the new iPod Touch to drop an extra $75, you may as well just get the older, non-colored models. They work just as well and will be compatible with all the apps and updates … and still have that Retina screen you’ve ogled over ever since the Apple keynote.

Skip: Toys

Big savings on toy trucks and Furby’s may be great for the kids, but the sales are yet to come for children’s toys this holiday season. The majority of toy sales will occur during the two weeks before Christmas, leaving you lots of time to still score savings on your kids’ must-have list without feeling like you missed out on a great deal. Unless, of course, if you want to get all your shopping done in one trip, that extra splurge might be worth the time and effort.

Buy: Smartphones

HTC One X frontUnlike toys, Smartphones rarely go on sale around the holidays, so to get a hot item like the Samsung Galaxy S3 for $50 with new activation is a reasonable buy. The same can be said for other 2012 model phones, such as the HTC One X or the Nokia Lumia 920. Chances are, the prices will stay either the same or slightly above what the currently are, so if you need a new phone, today’s as good a day as any to buy it. 

Skip: Bikes

Any gear that isn’t a TV, camera, or computer will see a fair share of price drops after the holiday season’s come and gone. If you can wait till January, sales on bikes and other non-techy accessories will give you tons of options to consider. The best rule of thumb when it comes to sales is to determine whether or not you need the product immediately. If you don’t forsee yourself riding a bike very much this coming winter, wait until a really good sale comes along after the new year to invest for the spring season.