Tech expert and blogger Liz Gumbinner was kind enough to chat with us in this exclusive interview, which we know all of you lovely ladies will enjoy! In the interview, Liz gives valuable tips on holiday shopping, including budget-friendly electronic gifts, product recommendations for busy moms and more! The full interview is available after the break.Q: How do you shop for electronics when you’re on a budget?
A: One of the things I love about Target over the holidays is that I never feel like I could have gotten a better deal somewhere else. (The worst feeling!) First of all, they’ve got a price-match program right now that’s so smart—you can use your Smartphone in store to look up the product you want, and if it happens to go on sale at Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, or Toys R Us they’ll honor the lower price right at register. (Great, right?) I think what’s great about that is that you never feel unprepared in the store. If you happen to be in there buying pjs for your kids, and realize you need an Xbox 360 Kinect game immediately (this has happened to me) you don’t have to wait until you get home to price compare.
The other thing is that you should always consider trade-in programs for your old tech. There are plenty of websites and companies that will offer cash for your products, but it can be a bit of a hassle. Target happens to have their own electronics trade-in program so that right on the spot you can trade in that old camera and get a gift card you can apply to say, a new Sony Cybershot. I’ve poked around and the trade-in values are comparable to what you’d get anywhere else—plus less back and forth.
Finally, it can be worthwhile to get a store card if you shop there a lot, especially if it offers decent benefits. The Target REDCard gives you 5% off almost all purchases, plus free shipping when you order online. That can add up!
One last tip and this is a good one: If you’re online shopping, there are some really great extensions for your browsers that can save you money. Install Priceblink on any browser and a drop-down menu appears that tells you who else is offering that same product for less. And a new extension (Chrome only right now) called Honey installs a button underneath the “add promo code here” box in your cart. Press the button, and it will try out the top promo codes online (so you don’t have to visit discount code sites and scan through them yourself) and it automatically applies one that works on that select site. Hooray—Target is one of them!
Q: What products are good for busy moms on the go?
A: I think that a Smartphone has really become a mom’s lifeline in this day and age. It’s our map, our address book, our day planner, our photo album, our remote control, our library. For that reason, I’ve got to say the number one most important product is a great Smartphone that you feel comfortable with and allows you to connect with your family easily.
If she’s an iOS gal, the iPhone 5 is pretty sweet, although you can get great deals on the 4 or 4S. There are also so many great Android phones now, like the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze (and the HD video recording is a mom favorite). And the new Windows 8 OS is becoming a real contender, especially in phones like the gorgeous Nokia Lumia 900 (love the hot pink!) which is one of the best rated phones of the year and available in Target Mobile Centers.
Either way, if you’ve got a phone where you have to hit the 4 button twice to type the letter “H” it’s definitely time to trade up.
Q: What products are good for kids between the ages of 2 and 6?
A: I’m a big fan of educational toys of all sorts, especially for the preschool ages. B Toys is a wonderful company that makes fun learning toys like the B. Symphony in B, which brings music to life in a fun interactive way. I also like the Battat Global Glowball which can get the youngest kids excited to learn more about the planet we’re on.
For kids in the 5-6 range, I love that there are so many great tablets now that are kid safe, (fairly) impervious to drops and bangs, and frankly, keep your kids from stealing your own tablets! The Leapfrog LeapPad 2 Learning tab and the VTech Innotab are both great values under $100, and your kids will get several years out of them. If you want to make more of an investment, I’m a huge fan of the new Nabi 2 Tablet which is a real, functioning Android tablet—albeit one with very good parental controls and curated eBooks, apps and videos that you can feel good about your kids seeing. While it does cost $199, this is a tablet your kids can use well into their tween years and not feel like it’s a “baby toy,” because it’s not.
A huge thank you to Liz for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer some of our most pressing tech-related questions. We hope you enjoyed the interview, and that these tips will help you make the most of your holiday shopping!