It's fun to look back on the early gift guides see my recommendations back then. I replaced the Foreman grill this past week (with a Cuisinart Griddler) and have a cleaning service instead of the Roomba and automatic shower cleaner. I laugh as I reflect on how I felt like I was going to be (metaphorically) burned at the stake for suggesting that someone buy a flat screen television.
While some of those recommendations didn't exactly stand the test of time, last year's recommendations are still appropriate.
The problem with an annual gift guide is that things don't change that much year to year. When something new and cool comes out, it is expensive which makes it difficult for me to recommend. The original $500-ish Apple iPad is a great example. I couldn't recommend it at that price. Amazon was selling a $35 tablet this past weekend. That's much easier to recommend, but doesn't everyone have enough tablets by this point? It's hard to hit the sweet spot when it comes to technology. Unfortunately, the things that tend to change year after year are technology products.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let's move on to 2015's guide.
I continue to love this OLED Television. It was $15,000 a couple of years ago, so $1800 seems to be reasonable. On the other hand, it seems against my frugal nature to pay nearly $2000 for a non-4K television that is "only" 55-inches. So instead I'll wait for the prices to drop further.
I've only been back from Aruba for a few weeks, so I have still have some things from the trip on my mind. December might not be the best time for these, but sometimes you just have to break the rules.
- HTC RE Waterproof Camera - I wanted a waterproof camera for taking pictures of the kids in the Lazy River at our Marriott timeshare. Days before my trip HTC put these on sale on their site. It looks a little quirky, but it's like a handheld GoPro, which turned out to be perfect. I think that they didn't sell well at $200, but for under $80, it's a pretty good deal. Other waterproof cameras I were considering cost a couple of hundred dollars - ouch. It was so easy to use that even my 3-year old took some good pictures with it. Last year, I tried to use my phone in a waterproof case. That was a recipe for blurry, terrible pictures.
- Thermos Stainless Steel Beverage Can Insulator - If you want to keep a canned beverage cold (or warm) for a few hours this is a great stocking stuffer.
- Electronic Luggage Scale - Another good stocking stuffer at under $10. It saved me a lot of hassle at the airport as my wife and I were able to have perfectly weighted bags.
Not going on vacation for a bit? Here are some other things that were on my Christmas wishlist this year:
- TP-LINK Archer C7 AC1750 Router - It doesn't get more boring than a router, right? Well I'm setting up a new computer in the office (more on that later this week), and my wifi there is really slow. And upstairs I get almost nothing. I bought a wifi extender which brings wifi to most of the nooks and crannies in the house, but some devices refuse to connect with it plugged in. It's time to say goodbye to 802.11n and embrace 802.11ac and this Archer C7 model got rave reviews competing well with routers at twice the price.
I'd like to say that I've tried it myself, but Santa doesn't come for a few more weeks. (Hopefully, I've been a good boy.) From all the reviews, this will bring more speed/bandwidth and range to our internet in the house. As we watch more and more Netflix and Amazon Prime it is becoming important. So here's to boring computer networking!
I realize it is popular (and smart) of personal finance bloggers to suggest that you don't buy stuff and save your money. I lean towards the opposite approach mostly because I save money all year. If I were your financial planner, I'd rather you spend money in a small 10 day window buying stuff at great prices for people you love than try to shut you down from spending all the time.
In the coming days, I'll be adding more items to this list, so check back frequently. You may also want to follow me on Twitter as I'll tweet out deals as I see them.
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