2008 Holiday Shopping Tips: Part Two

By Insurance.com Posted : 11/20/2008

Gift ideas (big and small)

With budgets being tight, and stores realizing that they need to fight over what little spending money shoppers have this year, you can expect to see some fantastic deals.

Black Friday is considered the start of the holiday shopping season-"this year, it'll be shorter than usual, as Thanksgiving is a little later than usual.

That said, aside from some of the incredible early-bird specials you'll find on the 28th (if you're willing to get up at 4am to catch them!) you can expect to see these prices reflected in ongoing deals throughout the rest of the season.

We've left out the "early-bird" specials listed by each store, as those items might be limited to a handful per store, and unless you're there as soon as the doors open, there's little guarantee that you'll be able to pick them up. However, if you're interested in viewing the entire list of what they have coming out, visit GottaDeal.com's Black Friday Deals.

Budget Gifts for Car Enthusiasts (Under $20!)
Black Friday offers a relatively small selection of non-electronic gifts for motorists this year. However, any of these would make for a good, inexpensive present. Outside of Black Friday deals, be sure to check the automotive sections in your favorite discount stores, as they are packed full of gift ideas at this time of year, above and beyond the deals below.

Inline Ignition Spark Checker (Harbor Freight) $1.99
U.S. General Battery Cut-Off Switch (Harbor Freight) $3.99
Stainless Steel Heated Travel Mug (Ace Hardware) $4.99
WeatherHandler 36-Piece Glove Box Tool Kit (Kmart) $8.49
WeatherHandler 44-Piece Triangle Emergency Kit (Kmart) $9.87
Wet/Dry Auto Vacuum with 3' Hose (Ace Hardware) $9.99
Armor All Holiday Gift Pack (Target) $19.99

GPS Systems
This year, GPS systems are cheaper than ever, and there are a huge number of deals available on Black Friday, for all budgets. Bear in mind that you do get what you pay for, and that the less expensive GPS systems respond more slowly and have fewer features. More expensive units are faster and offer more functionality. Either way, they all do the same basic thing-"they get you from A to B. It's just a matter of style and function.

Some GPS features
Screen size-"Most GPS units describe the screen size in the product name-"this is a diagonal measurement like a TV screen, and obviously the larger the screen, the easier it is to read. For most purposes, the screen size won't affect the clarity of the directions given on the screen while driving-"but additional navigation details may benefit from a larger screen.

Text to Speech-"Most GPS units will have a voice prompt telling you which way to turn, how far it is to the next exit, and so on. Many will also have audible tones that assist with that. Text to Speech will actually read the name of the road instead of a generic "turn right ahead." How useful this is depends upon your personal preference.

For a list of more GPS features, check out ConsumerReport.org's analysis of the most important.

GPS Units under $100
As you can see below, the TomTom One 125 and the Magellan RoadMate 1200 are both on sale this year. Although the prices are similar across different stores, Macy's offers the RoadMate for nearly $5 less than Sears and Target.

TomTom One 125 GPS Navigation System $99.99 at Circuit City, Kmart and Office Max
Magellan RoadMate 1200 3.5" GPS Navigation System $95.00 at Macy's
Magellan RoadMate 1200 3.5" GPS Navigation System $99.99 at Target and Sears

GPS Units under $150
The model of interest here is the Garmin nuvi 205, and there's a $10 difference depending upon where you pick it up on the 28th. Best Buy has the least expensive units, but you can expect those to sell out quickly.

Garmin nuvi 205 3.5" GPS Navigation System $119.99 at Best Buy
Garmin nuvi 205 3.5" GPS Navigation System $124.99 at Sears
Garmin nuvi 205 3.5" GPS Navigation System $129.99 at OfficeMax
Garmin nuvi 200W GPS Navigation System $119.99 at Target
Garmin nuvi 260 3.5" GPS Navigation System $149.99 at Circuit City
Mio Moov 300 4.3" GPS Navigation System $129.99 at Radio Shack
Motorola 3.5" GPS with Text-to-Speech $149.99 at Radio Shack

Beyond Black Friday
Some of us may not be able to brave the lines on Friday morning, and though the deals mentioned above may well extend through December, there are certainly other options available for our holiday shopping.

Other Gifts for under $25
Websites like Amazon.com offer the canny online shopper many options for inexpensive automotive gifts. They have an entire section dedicated to automotive items under $25. There are 100+ items for that amount or less, but the selection changes often, and you can also find used items.

You can save money on shipping by doing most of your gift shopping at once through sites such as Amazon.com, and if you're unable to travel much this year, you can even have items gift-wrapped and mailed directly to the recipient's home.

Alternative Gift Ideas
The New York Times Store has a great selection of NASCAR collectibles, and much more-"you'll certainly find some great gift ideas here.

Budget Not a Problem?
Another unique gift idea is to give someone a once-in-a-lifetime driving experience. From Extreme Stock Car Driving to a Drag Race Ride Along, excitations.com offers a huge variety of driving adventures.

Do you have any great automotive gift ideas for the holidays? Let us know, and we'll share the best ones in a follow-up article!

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