Give the gift for less…or “buy this, not that”

Have you ever seen those look for less stories in fashion magazines?

They tell you how to get the look of a $50,000 red-carpet dress spotted on the latest celebrity for something like $55…

Well, the folks at DealNews recently released a similar feature for 10 popular gifts this holiday season. The first five are listed below. Check the website to see all 10.

They want an iPad mini? Give them an iPad 2 instead.

The reason: Everyone is talking about the new mini, but when it comes to value, at $329 for the 16GB model, the iPad mini costs $10 more than a refurbished iPad 2 16GB WiFi Tablet …and the iPad2 gives you more screen space.

They want a NOOK HD? Give them a Kindle Fire HD instead.

The reason: When you compare Barnes & Noble (NOOK) to Amazon (Kindle Fire), Amazon has more consistently offered aggressive pricing on media like eBooks and MP3s, it has a more robust app marketplace, and Fire owners can stream Prime-related film and TV whenever they want.

They want an iPhone 5? Give them an iPhone 4 or 4S instead.

The reason: While it’s now possible to find deals on a refurb iPhone 5, when it comes to saving money, the iPhone 4 and 4S are still your best options. The 4s comes as low as $1 with a contract and the 4 is free with a contract.

They want a handheld game console? Give them an iPod touch instead.

The reason: The smartphone has made many small devices unnecessary, like the handheld game console. A device like the WiFi-enabled iPod touch now satisfies the desires of most casual gamers with its endless library of games.

They want a Starbucks Gift Card? Give them a Keurig K-Cup Machine.

The reason: It may not save you money, but the recipient of the popular Keurig K-Cup could save a lot more money in the long run by dropping the Starbucks habit. The Keurig B130 In-Room K-Cup Brewing System dropped as low as $50 on Thanksgiving Day.

What other “Buy this, not that” pairings can you think of to help save on holiday shopping?

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– Nedra Rhone, for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog

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