Who says there are no bargains to be found today? They are there, you just have to look for them. If you are willing to be patient, and do some leg work, you can get cheap hardware and cheap software.
Amazon and Audible currently have a deal that will get you a hundred dollars off of the cost of any ‘qualifying’ media player. From what I could tell, pretty much any portable device that Amazon sells will qualify, except for netbooks and laptops. This includes, by the way, the iPod Touch and the Kindle 2. That means you can get an iPod Touch, new, for about $70 since they are currently on sale for around $170. A Kindle 2 could be had for $89. Quite a bargain. The catch, though, is that you have to subscribe to Audible for one year. The subscription is $14.95 a month and that nets one book credit and discounts on purchases. Audible, if you don’t know, specializes in audio books. The quality is superb. I recently got the eight hour, unabridged, Star Trek Movie novelization. It is performed by Zachary Quinto (who was Spock in the movie.)
On the software front, there are tons of bargains to be found. Currently, Palm is selling all apps in the App Catalog at half price. In addition, Glu Mobile is selling its games for .99 on the Palm, Android and iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad. On the Palm, that means you get them for .50.
If you are a Microsoft professional, writer/reviewer, enthusiast or developer then you need to get yourself a TechNet Standard subscription. For $200, you get access to all of Microsoft’s non-Enterprise operating systems, Office Suites, developer tools and more. In addition, you also get the beta releases for those products. The catch is that you cannot use these for production environments or for commercial purposes.
Speaking of Office, if all you need is Word, Excel and Powerpoint, then the Home and Student Edition is the ticket. Here’s where you have to do some legwork, though. This particular release, retail, is $149, which is quite a bit off of the normal price. However, some places like Office Max may sell it for $119. You may also find it at such places as CostCo for $79. Check online too. There are many web sites that sell to students and you could get it for as little as $49. If you are a college student, then Microsoft may even sell or give it to you for much less than that. Do your research first.
Stardock and Steam regularly have weekend sales of games. Many current games can be had for as little as $9.99. Much of the older catalog stuff is even cheaper.
Finally, there’s eBay. I know, it’s eBay. But, you really can find some genuine bargains as well as the genuine ripoff. If stick to merchants who have the better ratings, your chances of not getting ripped are far greater. But, you also need to be aware: if something seems to be too good of a bargain, it is probably not worth it. For example, there are a ton of cheap laptops, well, make that sub-netbooks, for under $100. These things are slow, have no space and run Windows CE. Windows CE has little support and, in these cases, are saddled with slow, slow processors. Yes, you can surf the net and write a letter, but they don’t either very well. And the shipping on these things is often as much as the item is, so be careful. Like I said, just be careful and do a little homework before buying.
For those on a budget, shopping online or just doing some research can yield some genuine bargains.