The most important tech item for a lot of people is a laptop. Laptops started out a devices mostly used by businessmen to something that almost everyone needs and has. After having decided what laptop is perfect for you, and what works for your budget, it's time to start shopping. When we used to live in America, we did purchase tech on credit, but since we moved to Asia, everything is done strictly with cash. This means that my next laptop will be paid in full in cash. Doing this will probably give me an extra 5-10% off. If it takes you a few months to save up, it's just something that you'll have to live with. There's nothing like paying cash for such a big ticked item. Checking a variety of online stores and real stores is usually he way to go. Most of my biggest items are purchased in cash from real stores. If you're involved in photography, then another important tech-related item that you probably have or want is a DSLR. There are a lot of cameras out there. Our family uses Nikons. My wife has recently purchased a Nikon D700, an upgrade from the Fuji S2-Pro she had, and before you ask, yes, she paid cash for it. I own a Nikon D200. Since we both have Nikons, we can easily switch lenses. It makes a lot of sense if your partner also has a DSLR to purchase the same brand, or at least a compatible brand. I bought my D200 in 2006. I still use it everyday and the only reason why I'd upgrade to another camera would be to get a full frame, FX, sensor that's available with the D700 and the professional grade D3X cameras. However, the D3X is too big for my taste and too expensive. I'll probably upgrade to the Nikon D800 when it comes out. It's supposed to be able to record HD video footage as well.
Lastly, a lot of people will want to purchase mobile devices. While this isn't my case, my cell phone is from 2007 and my iPod Classic 160GB is from 2008, it's a given that a lot of people will want a smart phone of some kind. Most people have realized that some Apple products are converging into one multi-functional device. Why get an iPod Touch when your iPhone does almost the same thing? I find that the iPad is a nice device, but since Apple will be revising this product line very soon, I won't purchase the current generation. One of the reasons why I don't really that much about smart phones is that I don't really need to be aware of every new email in my inbox. Since I rock Inbox Zero, my inbox is emptied several times a day. [top image by Continuum Photography, additional images by Peter Hellberg] MORE LAPTOPS What to Look For In A Laptop Purchase