New Reviews and Updates
New Buying Guides and Updates
Here's a roundup of new content on Cheapism, which includes new reviews, updates, and blog posts:
Scooters and Toys.If it's something that gets kids moving (and outdoors), most parents are interested. Cheap scooters are one of those things, and a low-cost option that's increasingly popular. The best part? Kids don't outgrow a scooter for years. The popular Razor A kick scooter has happy fans from pre-schoolers all the way up to teens and adults (mind the 143 pound weight limit). A scooter won't set you back much, either. The Razor A is going for about $25. We also reviewed motorized scooters and three- wheeled scooters. You can read the full cheap scooters buying guide for more information.
Photo by AngryJulieMonday
Or, if you're looking for a rainy-day activity, our cheap toy collectibles article presents two new child-expert video reviews. Seven-year-old Jack reviews Bakugans and Beyblade Metal Fusion toy collectibles, both available for less than $10.
Hiking Backpacks.Hiking is a top-of-the-line cheap activity. It keeps you healthy, gets you out of your comfort zone, and costs very little, if you know how to shop. We found several cheap hiking backpacks that will fulfill most hikers' needs. Internal frame backpacks create a support system that keeps the weight of the pack off your shoulders. Most of the bags we chose are internal frame backpacks that hold enough supplies for short overnight treks. But for a more casual trip (a day hike, say, or a pack that can double as a carry-on or bookbag) we like the REI Flash 18 Pack, which goes for around $30. Our favorite cheap internal frame backpack is the High Sierra Explorer 55, starting at $80.
Your choice of a hiking backpack will depend on how you intend to use it. Are you a weekend camper or do you have a favorite trail for daytripping? Are you backpacking across Europe or going rock climbing? Capacity is an obvious consideration; the Outbound Manchester disappointed several consumers in part because it simply doesn't hold enough. You'll also want to be sure the straps are comfortable (user reviews are especially helpful here--a pack might feel great in the store but not fare so well after a few hours with 30 pounds inside) and the fabric is durable. Other "smaller" features are critical, too. Will the bag protect its contents in the rain? Will you be able to reach your snack or water bottle without unpacking everything else? The Kelty Redwing, a hiking backpack designed especially for women, offers several compartments and loops but no rainfly.
Photo by kevindooley
If you're new to buying a hiking backpack, make sure to read the full best hiking backpacks article so you know what to look for.
Laptops and Smartphones.With rapidly changing technology, more and more devices are are falling into the budget price range. We've completed a full update on our cheap laptops and cheap smartphones articles to reflect these changes. You can now get a laptop with 6 GB of memory and a 640GB hard drive for about $500. Most cheap laptops come with Windows 7 and a six-cell battery (battery life varies by model). Check out our top picks in the cheap laptops buying guide.
Cell phone contract coming up for renewal? We found some high-quality smartphones that won't break the bank. If you're looking for a phone that lets you use apps, you can choose among Android, iPhone, or BlackBerry; there are plenty of apps available for each type of smartphone, but you'll find the most free apps in the Android market. You'll also want to give some thought to what kind of battery life you need, whether you're comfortable using a touchscreen keyboard or prefer a physical version, and whether you want to try out the new fast 4G network. Our cheap smartphones buying guide lays out these details and more.
Elliptical Trainers.Having your own cheap elliptical trainer can save valuable time that might otherwise be spent schlepping to and from the gym, not to mention saving you tons of money on gym fees. Our updated cheap elliptical trainers buying guide includes the best picks available now. Ellipticals are a favorite among exercisers who are wary of knee and hip strain caused by running but still want cardio, toning, and strengthening exercise. When shopping for a cheap elliptical, it's important to look at the stride length (less than 16 inches will make your workout bouncy and awkward) and how close together the foot pedals are (we set six inches as a maximum, which will protect your posture and hips).
Of course, an elliptical trainer is only valuable if it's used, so we've included user opinions about features such as pre-programmed workouts and resistance levels and about the workout experience. After all, what can be more motivating than results? Workout options range from low-intensity fat-burning workouts to help a user slim down to higher-intensity performance workouts take you over "hills" by adjusting the machine's resistance. The Nautilis E514 even lets you customize workouts for two separate users. For more information, read our full cheap ellipticals buying guide.
Recent Blog Posts:
Photo by Uncle Catherine
We're always looking for ways to save you money, and one of the best ways is to buy second-hand. Certain items are particularly good buys when gently used -- boats, for example -- because you're more likely to reap the rewards of someone else's impulse buy. Want more details? We have a full blog post on the subject.
We also blogged about where to buy cheap shoes online and, for all the football fans out there, we posted a rundown of the best fall TV sales. Despite Target's claims of mounting the "biggest TV event ever", you may do better elsewhere (much depends on the size screen you're looking for). Costco, BJ's, and Sam's Club are also running promotions (have you seen our Sams vs. Costco showdown?); read the full blog post for all the flat screen TV deals.
Did you know that Cheapism is on foursquare? We have recommendations all over the country, and as of this week we have new cheap activities, hotels, and restaurants that we recommend in Salt Lake City, Utah and Omaha, Nebraska.