Aug 10 2010

New gadgets — a printer and a GPS

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Our GPS, Betty, had been senile for awhile. She started to give us bizarre directions — once sending me through a parking lot and back out onto the main road where I started. Maybe to see if I’d actually do it? And then she started having trouble finding streets, finding the satellite signal and other things.

We had the option of purchasing updated maps, but it’s kind of pricey and didn’t seem worth it.

Then one day recently, Betty died. Just wouldn’t turn on anymore. Not sure what happened. She was old in gadget years and I guess it was her time.

We drove around for awhile without GPS help and instead relied on our own knowledge and a few maps. Went on a simple trip this weekend up north to some Amish areas and when we realized we were on a road that turned into a toll road (and had no money to pay the toll), we got a bit lost.

Ended up in Ohio for a minute, unintentionally. AND we had a map. It just wasn’t a very detailed one.

If you’ve ever driven in Pittsburgh then you know that this city doesn’t make a darn bit of sense. Roads go all over the place. Downtown, Forbes is one-way eastbound at a certain point, and then it’s one-way westbound at another. Who thought that was a good idea?

Some “roads” are actually just steep sidewalks or stairs that no car could ever go on. I am not kidding.

You can’t necessarily make a series of right turns to reverse your direction. Sometimes a series of right turns will make you end up on another side of a river, or on the highway, or who-knows-where.

So there are absolutely times when you need a GPS around here.

I chose a refurbished Garmin* on Amazon based on positive reviews and the price (it was listed at $89). The refurbished models are quite a bit cheaper than the brand-new models ($119) and are just as good.

I used a few Amazon gift cards I earned via Swagbucks* to lower my cost.

Hopefully we’ll get a lot of use out of this GPS. It’s interesting (though not surprising) that it’s probably half the cost of what we paid for our first one. I love how technology gets cheaper as time goes on!

Our printer/scanner/copier also decided it was time to be junked. I bought it before my freshman year in college back in 2003, so I think it had a pretty long life.

It was an HP and an ink hog. I bought cartridges on eBay for much cheaper than they would be at a retail store, but it still went through ink a lot faster than I thought it should.

So with this new printer, I wanted a different brand in the hopes that I could find a more efficient machine.

Because really, when you pay less than $100 for a printer, the company is going to make their profits in the ink.

I posted a question on Facebook asking my friends to give me some suggestions. Jessie told me about her Brother printer that uses really cheap ink available on Amazon. There’s some other bulk options that make the cost even better.

Those ink prices were really appealing so I thought I’d give Brother a shot. I ended up choosing this model from Best Buy. At $69 on sale, it was a good price for a printer/scanner/copier/fax (I won’t use the fax — don’t have a phone line!). And it’s also about half the price I paid for my HP back in the day.

I chose it because the reviews were quite positive. I picked it up in-store and set it up last night and I think it will fit our needs.

Sometimes it’s worth it to try and repair a gadget before replacing it, but it’s not always practical to do so. It was best for us to just replace these items and I like to think I got reasonable deals for both. Hope they last!

*Affiliate link

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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