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Spending: consumer tips from the pros

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Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Two tech writers share their strategies for saving on your cell-phone plan and personal tech.

Maggie Reardon, author of's "Ask Maggie" column

Which cell phone plan do you use and why?

My husband and I have separate phone plans with unlimited data usage -- his plan is with Verizon, and mine is with AT&T. When we looked at our budget, we saw that we were spending too much on phone plans. We're each paying more than $100 a month, and we realized that we use our phones mostly at home or at the office, where we have access to Wi-Fi and don't need to use our data plans. To save money, we're probably going to join Verizon's Share Everything plan. My husband gets a discount on Verizon plans through his company, and Verizon's network seems more reliable than AT&T's in the New York area, where we live. We'll each get unlimited talking and text messaging, and we plan to share 4 gigabytes of data. We expect to save about $30 a month on our phone bill.

Louis Ramirez, senior features writer at

Where can you find the best deals on tech products?

You'd be amazed at how much money you can save by doing a Google search. When you're out shopping, get out your smart phone and compare prices. Find out whether the store you're visiting will match prices from other stores. And never buy accessories -- a cable for your TV, a case for your phone, a memory card for your camera -- in a brick-and-mortar store. Accessories are always cheaper online, at sites such as, and

If you're not a tech fiend, buy last year's model to save money. A product will often fall in price when a new version comes out, and the differences are usually so subtle that you won't miss them. Early adopters can sell gadgets to or to get some extra cash before a new product comes out. If you're going to pay full price for something, look for bundles to sweeten the deal. You may be able to get a video game or a gift card included when you buy a new Xbox One or PS4 gaming console.

Don't buy a new device directly from Apple -- you'll pay full retail price. A lot of other retailers have deals on Apple products. Walmart sold the 16GB iPad Air at a $20 discount the minute it came out. But consider buying refurbished items from Apple. They come with a one-year warranty.

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