Computer Gift Ideas for Under 50 Bucks

Dennis Faas's picture

Yeah, the wallet is on a major diet this year. So, I thought I'd spread some Holiday cheer and start this week off with some cool computer gift ideas for under $50 bucks.

At the end of my Top 10 list, I invite you to email your $budgeted$ gift ideas and I'll include them in tomorrow's issue of the Gazette.

#1. Optical mouse with a Scroll Wheel: Less than $25

If I had to go back to a ball mouse, I think I'd go insane.

Optical mice are very precise and don't suffer from jerky movements or get gummed up like ball mice do... plus you can use an optical mouse on just about any surface. An optical mouse with a scroll wheel on it makes surfing the net a breeze because you don't have to constantly move the mouse to the right of the screen to pull the page down a little further.

Some times when I'm surfing the 'net, I sit back comfortably in my chair and have the scroll mouse on my lap. Since it's optical, I don't need it to be on a flat surface because it reflects off my pants, believe it or not.

This gives my arms a rest from reaching forward as I normally do when I'm typing and clicking up a storm (writing a newsletter, for example). I recommend that you buy a good name brand optical mouse, such as Logitec.

#2. Keyboard: Less than $20

Next to mice, keyboards are dirt cheap these days. I personally prefer the plain-style keyboards without all the fancy bells and whistles on them. Features to look for in keyboard:

  • How it feels when you type
  • The number of keys available (101 is standard)
  • The weight of the keyboard (light vs. heavy, if you plan to move it around and put it on your lap)
  • The spacing and location of keys
  • Most important (to me): it doesn't make a lot of noise when keys are typed

Some keyboards also come with volume knobs and a programmable "hot keys" that launch programs like your web browser at the touch of a button.

#3. Blank CDs in a spindle (bulk, 50 pack): About $25

If you do a lot of CD burning you should look into buying CDs in a spindle. They don't come with jewel cases so the price per disc is very low.

My best advice on buying bulk is to stick with a recognizable brand name. You don't want cheapies or you'll end up burning a lot of duds! Ensure that the spindle clearly states the recording speed and it is acceptable for your CD Burner. Also, I recommend purchasing CDs that have a face on them to make labeling easier.

#4. CD Carrying Case (100 ~ 250): $25 ~ $50

If you took my suggestion above and you want save big $$ by buying in bulk, you'll definitely need a carrying case to stick all those newly recorded CDs.

#5. Make your own Music Compilation: $Free (+ price of blank CD)

This can be a lot of fun and doesn't cost much (except for time). Get online and search for your favorite songs using a file sharing program like Kazaa Lite.

Best of all -- you can spoof the wrap if you make a bunch of CDs:

I had fun one Christmas when I custom made 10 CDs for my brother. I grabbed a bunch of jewel cases for the newly recorded discs and placed the discs inside. I then used scotch tape to join the cases together and formed a house made of jewel cases. When complete, I wrapped it all together in Holiday Wrap and had him totally fooled.

#6. Headset for Speakers, with extension cord: $25 ~ $50

If your computer is in a central location in your home and you share it with others, consider purchasing a headset to save your sanity -- especially during quiet hours.

The speaker jack located in the back of the computer is the same as a headset jack. If your speakers don't have a headset outlet on them, you can simply unplug the speakers from the back of the computer and replace it with the headset. Some computers even have a headset plug in a front panel.

If you have to plug your headset into the back of the computer, consider buying an extension cord from a place like Radio Shack to make the headset wire longer.

#7. Joystick or Game Pad: $25 ~ $50

A few years back I picked up a Gravis Game Pad which is similar to game pad used on Sony Playstation, Nintendo, and X-Box. The price was about $25 bucks and it does the job nicely for gaming.

#8. CD Labeling Kit: $25 or less

Most CD labeling kits come with standard 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper with self-adhesive blank CD covers on the paper that you can print on with your printer. The labels are then guided onto the CD with a widget to ensure a centered fit. The Labeling Kit *should* include software that makes putting a graphic on a CD cover as easy as 1-2-3.

You can really jazz up a CD by making a cool cover for it, especially if it's a gift.

#9. Ink Refill Kit: $25 or less

Believe it or not, my Canon Bubble Jet printer (model BJ-200) is still alive and kicking. I've gone through a total of 3 print cartridges in the last 10 years because they've eventually worn out from all the printing. In my particular printer, the print head is built onto the cartridge... so, every time I buy a new cartridge, it's like buying a new printer.

Print cartridges cost about $30 bucks new, but ink refill kits cost only $25 or less and can usually refill the cartridge 6 times or more and save lots of $gringo$.

#10. eBooks and Videos made by Dennis: $9.95 ~ $24.95

I've made some pretty cool learning videos, and they're dirt cheap. Best of all, they're perfect for any Computer Dummy on your Ho-Ho list and can be downloaded immediately!

All purchases are available for immediate download through the infopackets web site, and may be purchased using Check, Credit Card, or PayPal by clicking here. Alternatively, you can find out more about each item by clicking on a link above.

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