Keeping costs down is important, though the holiday season doesn’t make it easy. What are some budget buys in Australia?
The year hasn’t been easy, what with the need to budget better thanks to the cost of living crisis, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend up big to get a great gift.
While the holiday season almost always means spending up a storm, you can find gadgets to match various budgets if you look and you know what you’re looking for. And if you don’t, we’ve compiled a few ideas to help you out.
Amazon Echo Pop
How much should a smart speaker cost? The answer to that one can get murky quickly, but Amazon’s Echo Pop is even less expensive than its Echo Dot, especially over the holiday season this year.
In Australia, the alarm clock-styled Echo Pop costs just under $30, making it a wallet-friendly gadget for the holiday season.
Google Nest Hub 2nd-gen
Another “smart” device, Google’s Nest Hub 2nd-gen is both a smart speaker and smart display, able to show pictures including family photos, control music, watch videos, and even monitor your sleep.
Consider this one part smart speaker for your home and another the modern alarm clock, making it an especially useful gift if you know someone in need of something for the bedside, desk, or kitchen.
Jabra Elite 4
Inexpensive noise cancelling earphones still tend to fetch over the $100 mark, but not the Jabra Elite 4 truly wireless earphones.
At the time this was written, Jabra’s entry-level ANC earphones had dropped a good $50 from their typical $139 cost, and could be found for $88-89 if you look around in Australia.
Earlier in the year, we reviewed the Elite 4 as offering balanced sound with some water resistance and an app, but they needed customisable controls. But we doubt most people will care, particularly if they get a pair of in-ears with ANC onboard, and you’ll save money, too.
Micro Retro Arcade Machines
Price: from $50
One of the more unusual surprises in our budget gadget gift guide list, the compact six inch retro arcade machines from “My Arcade” are a little bit different, but still very fun.
If you can imagine a full arcade machine that’s been run through a shrink ray of sorts, this is what you’d get, providing a stick and buttons, plus a screen and a game from one arcade unit. It needs batteries and probably a lighter touch than the full arcade, but you can find classics such as Bubble Bobble, Galaga, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and Street Fighter 2 for this one.
Nespresso Vertuo Pop
Price: under $200
Know someone in need of a coffee machine? They can sure get expensive, but if you look around, you may find this year’s compact $230 Nespresso Vertuo Pop for under the $200 mark, with prices ranging from $180 up to its regular $229 price.
Granted, it takes pods, so it won’t be a coffee machine for everyone, but if you’re after a present that makes caffeine easy for anyone, this could well be it.
Price: from $350
A laptop for under $500 can seem highly unlikely, but it is possible if you stick to a Chromebook. And if you are looking for a laptop for someone’s holiday gift, it is possible.
Chromebooks are basically laptops that run Google’s Chrome as an operating system, which means you’ll get web browsing, emails, document writing and such using Google Docs, files on Google Drive, and even web-based apps, too.
Most of what we use in the day-to-day is web-based, so for many people, particularly students, a Chromebook can make a lot of sense, making it an ideal gift for many people.
A gift card
Price: from $20
And if all else fails, consider a gift card. You can place it in a nice box, if you like.
While it might seem a touch impersonal, a gift card for a store or service allows the person you’re buying for to not only spend on what they want, but it also allows you to gift how much you want to. That could be $20 or maybe $50, but it doesn’t have to be a lot to be special.