When you're shopping for anything, it's important to look at the big picture. Although consumers can often be turned off of high-price items, some goods can actually go a long way in helping you save money. And while people tend to be fixated on the outlay costs of an item, they may completely ignore the potential cost savings they might realize by owning it. Here we look at some money-saving items that may be worth owning. (For related reading, also take a look at The Apple Ecosystem.)

TUTORIAL: Budgeting Basics

The New York Times ran an interesting piece in late March, "Spoiled by the All-in One Gadget," which addresses the numerous and often unrealized benefits of owning a smartphone. Basically, one of the main takeaway points from the argument was that a refurbished iPhone 3GS has a total cumulative two-year cost of $1800, but allows for savings of $2000.

Some of the everyday products which an iPhone 4 can replace include: music player, GPS, watch, calculator, portable DVD, camera, camcorder and a generic cell phone. Depending on the quality of the replaced items, their cost could easily amount to well over the initially estimated $2,000. Furthermore, smartphones provide the added convenience of having all of the aforementioned accessories in one compact device.

With the numerous capabilities offered by the iPad, tablets can also serve as a replacement for many consumer goods. Savvy technology buffs can use the iPad for many similar purposes to those offered by a computer. Tablets can serve as convenient substitutes for laptops, electronic picture frames, basic handheld gaming device and e-readers. Since Netflix, YouTube and iTunes are also easily accessible through the iPad, it can even be used as a replacement for the television. These few items alone can cost nearly $2,000 - more than double the amount of a 64 GB iPad.

The array of available apps presents another means of saving money on every day products. For example, rather than buying Microsoft Office for $150 (student edition), consumers can purchase the trio of iWorks programs: Pages, Numbers and Keynotes for only $30 to have quick access fundamental business software programs. The number of cost saving applications continues growing daily to include such applications as DJ and drawing programs.

Additional Considerations
While many of the apps offered on tablets are fairly sophisticated, they generally offer a good starting platform for users in addition to a certain level of convenience. Professionals, on the other hand, may still require the expensive versions of the programs. Despite that the free DJ Mixer Pro app might be sufficient for novices, seasoned users might find paying $330 for OtsAV DJ Pro 1.85 worthwhile.

TUTORIAL: What To Know About Credit Cards

Plug-in Hybrids
Although the discussion has focused mainly on Apple products, the same type of reasoning can be applied to other items such as plug-in hybrid
cars. For example, the manufacturer's suggested retail price for a Chevy Volt is currently $40,280. After factoring in the $7,500 federal tax credit, plus any state or corporate incentives, the cost realized by the consumer can drop to approximately $30,000. This price tag is $1,600 greater than that for the average new car purchased in the U.S.

Based on the fuel efficiency offered by plug-in hybrids, the payback period for the Volt to the comparable average automobile level can be around one year. According to the Federal Highway Administration, the average American drives 13,476 miles per year. With estimated average automobile fuel efficiency in the states at 23.2 miles per gallon and gas prices hovering around $3.80, the average American spends over $2,200 per year on gas.

The Volt, on the other hand, lets a driver travel 40 miles per day solely on electricity at an approximate daily cost of $1.50. As 40 miles is close to what the typical American drives on any given day, a common driver will incur a yearly car charging expense of $550, for annual savings of $1,650. For those who are unable to attain state or corporate tax credits, the payback period would generally be around four years, after which steady significant annual savings would be realized. (For more on the volt, see How Does The GM Volt Stack Up?)

The Bottom Line
When making a purchase for a big item, do not immediately be turned off by the price tag; instead, consider the potential long-term cost savings of the item that you'll experience.

Related Articles
  1. Investing

    10 Cheap Vacations for the Ultimate Foodie

    If you are a foodie then explore one of these destinations in 2016.
  2. Entrepreneurship

    How an Internet Sales Tax Will Affect Your Small Business

    Learn about how the Marketplace Fairness Act may impact small business owners should it pass in the House and what the act requires from business owners.
  3. Wealth Management

    Importance of Title in Art Transactions

    A work of art can be a valuable investment, but it’s important to verify that it isn’t stolen property when you purchase it.
  4. Savings

    Craft Beer Clubs – Bargain or Not?

    If you're an aficionado of artisanal brews (or would like to be), a beer club can be a palate-pleasing, albeit pricey, way to expand your hops horizon.
  5. Stock Analysis

    When Will Dick's Sporting Goods Bounce Back? (DKS)

    Is DKS a bargain here?
  6. Stock Analysis

    Has Urban Outfitters Lost its Way? (URBN)

    Urban Outfitters just made a bold move. Will it pay off?
  7. Stock Analysis

    Is Walmart's Rally Sustainable? (WMT)

    Walmart is enjoying a short-term rally. Is it sustainable? Is Amazon still a better bet?
  8. Savings

    Avoid the Worst Air/Rail Travel Fee Rip-Offs

    Airline fees can vary tremendously. We've compared them side-by-side – along with Amtrak's new charges – to determine who charges the most (and least).
  9. Savings

    The Worst Financial Problems Ultra-High-Net-Worth-Individuals (UHNWIs) Face

    Understand how the problems of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) are different from ordinary problems, and identify the unique financial challenges they face.
  10. Savings

    Are Wine Clubs Worth It?

    Some points to consider, before committing to a membership for yourself – or as a gift. The right club can also help you save money over the holidays.
  1. Where can you buy NetSpend reload packs?

    You can only purchase NetSpend reload packs at Giant Eagle, Albertsons, Roundy's and Pathmark supermarkets. NetSpend cards ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Can your car insurance company check your driving record?

    While your auto insurance company cannot pull your full motor vehicle report, or MVR, it does pull a record summary that ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What does marginal utility tell us about consumer choice?

    In microeconomics, utility represents a way to relate the amount of goods consumed to the amount of happiness or satisfaction ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What are some common ways product differentiation is achieved?

    There are many ways to achieve product differentiation, some more common than others. Horizontal Differentiation Horizontal ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What role does the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) play in the finished product?

    Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) do not typically play much of direct role in determining the finished product. However, ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and a VAR ...

    An original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is a company that manufactures a basic product or a component product, such as a ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Barefoot Pilgrim

    A slang term for an unsophisticated investor who loses all of his or her wealth by trading equities in the stock market. ...
  2. Quick Ratio

    The quick ratio is an indicator of a company’s short-term liquidity. The quick ratio measures a company’s ability to meet ...
  3. Black Tuesday

    October 29, 1929, when the DJIA fell 12% - one of the largest one-day drops in stock market history. More than 16 million ...
  4. Black Monday

    October 19, 1987, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost almost 22% in a single day. That event marked the beginning ...
  5. Monetary Policy

    Monetary policy is the actions of a central bank, currency board or other regulatory committee that determine the size and ...
  6. Indemnity

    Indemnity is compensation for damages or loss. Indemnity in the legal sense may also refer to an exemption from liability ...
Trading Center