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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Be the hero under the tree: Here's the secret on saving 30-50% off name-brand, high-tech Christmas presents.

Christmas sure has changed since I was a kid.

When I was eight, as my youngest is now, I looked forward to GI Joe action figures, a new football or even my dream present: a 5.5 HP cherry-red go-kart with a genuine vinyl driver's seat. The Sears catalog was my obsession and the closet thing to electronics I experienced was my sister's EZ Bake Oven.

Now, unless the present goes beep or has rechargeable batteries, my kids are just not interested. Subjectively, this isn't an issue until it comes time to pull out my wallet and pay for these miracles of technology. As soon as my AmEx card starts to cry from all of the overuse, I start looking for alternatives that deliver the same quality, but is easier on my bank account.

Then, I found out about certified, reconditioned products. These are often lightly used or completely untouched items returned to the manufacturer by the original purchasers. By law, they cannot be resold as new, so the manufacturer sells them at a discount- sometimes a big discount- to smart consumers looking for a great deal. The reasons for return are many: the buyer may have changed their minds, the product is the wrong color, there was a minor repair needed or simply there was no one to sign for the delivery.
Is this Kindle 8.9 HD new or used?
If you can't tell, why not save some money?
The manufacturer takes the returns, repairs them if necessary and thoroughly tests them to confirm they're operating properly. Then, they're resold with the manufacturer's full warranty.

The pros of this kind of purchase are obvious. The price is lower- sometimes 30-50% lower than the identical brand-new product. The testing procedure after repair is often more rigorous than at the factory of origin and can spot and correct problems before the product heads out of the door.

Cons? Sometimes, selection is severely limited to stock on hand and your choices of colors, sizes, memory capacity, etc. may change every week. Older models may be your only choice or the reconditioned products may be completely sold out, forcing you to spend more to buy new.

Here are three of the most popular companies that recondition and sell their products:


The secret to buying reconditioned at Apple is checking back daily and buying as early as possible as these bargains go fast. Everything from iMacs, iPods and iPads are available as well as closeouts and clearance products.  Everything is guaranteed and the prices are pretty good too, And,'s Apple!

Go to this URL to shop:


Not long ago, I bought a certified, factory reconditioned 8.9" Kindle HD tablet for around $125 less than new. It works perfectly and with the savings, I was able to upgrade from 32 gigs of memory to 64 gigs and I also bought a case and extra charger and still saved around $85 from the identical new product. If anything does go wrong, the excellent Amazon customer service will take care of business and repair or replace my tablet with no trouble. But, so far, my tablet is humming along nicely. Remember to ensure that the tablet is reconditioned and certified by Amazon itself and no other 3rd party.

Go here to see more reconditioned Amazon products: Certified Reconditioned Kindles


As one of the largest manufacturers of all things computer, Dell has a thriving refurbishment and clearance business not only for home or casual use, but also business and corporate products for the big boys. Selection may be small, but with persistence and a bit of luck, you just might run across a terrific deal for yourself.

Go here to spend your money: Dell Outlet

If you can't find your ideal gift on these sites, simply Google "reconditioned ---------" along with the item of your choice. For the most peace of mind, ensure the product is reconditioned and guaranteed by the original manufacturer and you'll have the happiest 8 year-old in the neighborhood.

Now, let's see if anyone reconditions 5.5 HP cherry-red go-karts with a genuine vinyl driver's seat...