Forget e-books – the latest must-have gadget is the iPad, a 9.7 inch multi-touch tablet device that is something of a halfway house between a laptop and a smartphone.
Ever since Steve Job, Apple’s chief executive, unveiled the touch screen device on Wednesday (27 January 2010), the internet has been buzzing with news and views on what has been described as the “best browsing experience you have ever had”.
The iPad, which allows users to watch films, play games and browse the web, will cost between $499 and $829 when it is launched in the US at the end of March. Consumers will be able to choose between a wi-fi only model, or those with both wi-fi and 3G.
|The Price (US)||16GB||32GB||64GB|
|Wi-fi + 3G||$629||$729||$829|
The iPad will also be available in the UK from March, or April for the 3G version. However, the price won’t be revealed until just before launch because of the fluctuating value of the pound against the dollar.
Bloggers say UK consumers should expect to pay between £400 and £600 for a model.
With that in mind, what can you do to save £500 between now and launch?
Here are some Moneywise suggestions:
1. Swap branded goods for supermarket own-brands
A 750g box of Kelloggs cornflakes costs £2.26, while Asda's own version only costs £1. So if you buy a box of cereal a week, in a year it would cost you £117.52 for the brand name but only £52 for the supermarket's own version.
2. Get on your bike
Not all commuters will be in a position to swap four wheels for two, but even if you can't cycle to work, using a bike for local errands will not only reduce your petrol costs, but also means you can wave goodbye to expensive parking charges.
Alternatively, local transport is, by and large, a cheaper alternative to driving.
3. Make your own coffee
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but a cup of takeout coffee a day will quickly empty your purse. An average takeaway coffee costs £2, so a cup every working day costs £10 a week.
Meanwhile, a coffee machine costs as little as £24.99, and if you add in the cost of coffee beans, a cup of home-brewed coffee could work out at just 5p a day, according to Kelkoo.co.uk.
4. Change your bottled water for tap water
Tap water is essentially free, although with water rates taken into account it costs on average 0.22p a litre. However, this is 39 times cheaper than a litre of supermarket own-brand water and 182 times cheaper than a litre of Evian mineral water.
Tap water in the UK is perfectly safe to drink, but if you're one of those who believes it has a strange taste, you can buy a water filter. Although a top-of-the-range filter can set you back £100-plus, a Brita Elemaris filter jug costs just £9.99.
5. Read your news online
As well as the BBC, all the national newspapers have websites with up-to-date news. If you couple these with the 24-hour news available on digital TV channels, the 90p a day you spend on what is - if not literally, then metaphorically - tomorrow's fish-and-chip wrapping seems a bit of a waste.
6. Bring your own lunch to work
Homemade sarnies are a fraction of the cost of shop-bought sandwiches, but not everyone is a fan of soggy bread combos. However, if you've got a microwave at work, pasta dishes or jacket potatoes are easy to fix the night before.
7. Staying in is the new going out
Whether you invite friends round for a bottle of wine and a DVD or host a full-blown dinner party, staying in needn't be dull.
Board games are growing in popularity, with Scrabble sales up by 12% and Monopoly by 8%, according to eBay.
8. Ditch the gym membership
Pricey gym memberships can strike you as even more expensive when you realise just how little you use them. Divide a £50 monthly membership by four and your weekly visit costs £12.50 - considerably more costly than a one-off trip to your local leisure centre.
The Great Outdoor Gym company has also teamed up with local councils to fit out parks with gym equipment. Go to tgogc.com to find your nearest free gym and watch Moneywise TV’s guide to keeping fit for less.
9. Go second hand
Charity shops and second-hand stores require a certain amount of patience but potentially offer great bargains. Undoubtedly the leader of the charity-shop pack, Oxfam has over 120 bookshops and a number of specialist boutique shops.
Go to oxfam.org to find your nearest stores. Alternatively, take advantage of swap shops, or arrange your own clothes- or book-swapping party.
Finally, if you register with your local library, you can find a wealth of books or DVDs to suit most tastes.
10. Review your services
If you employ a gardener, window cleaner or dog walker, or use a car wash, for example, consider whether you’re paying for a service you don’t need. In many cases, you can probably do it yourself. If you haven’t already done this, it’s a sure-fire way to make some savings.
11. Use vouchers and coupons
Vouchers and coupons are more valuable than ever: whether it’s a discount on the weekly grocery shop, a two-for-one deal at a restaurant or a few quid off at the petrol pump, it’s really worth the effort.
Scour magazines and newspapers and check out websites such as vouchercodes.co.uk and myvouchercodes.co.uk before hitting the shops. Also make sure you are getting the most out of loyalty cards, such as Tesco’s Clubcard or Boots’ Advantage card.