by Rick Broida January 11, 2017 5:12 AM PST @cheapskateblog
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When life gets me down, I have two go-to salves: great books and great TV. Last great book I read: "The Nightingale," by Kristin Hannah. Last great show I watched: "Good Girls Revolt" on Amazon. Though, ironically, the latter's got me down because Amazon cancelled it after one season. Bad, Amazon. Bad!
If you're looking for book deals, head below for three freebies. As for TV, here's my philosophy: Buy the biggest model you can afford, even if it's from a lesser-known brand. I say that because many moons ago, my pricey Toshiba died literally weeks after its warranty expired, while its replacement (from Sigmac -- Sigmac?) is still humming along after five-plus years.
Your mileage may vary, of course, but it's something to consider if you typically bypass deals like this one. For a limited time, Best Buy is offering the Insignia NS-55D510NA17 55-inch HDTV for $279.99 shipped (plus tax). It normally runs $379.99. That's one of the best prices I've seen for a 55-inch model outside of Black Friday.
For those unfamiliar with Insignia, it's Best Buy's house brand. Like most TVs, this one comes with a one-year warranty. I don't mention this very often, but before making your purchase, check with your credit-card company to see if you're entitled to extended warranty coverage. You probably are, meaning you should be covered for a second year.
This model is about as basic as they come, which is fine. A 60Hz refresh rate means you won't encounter the dreaded soap-opera effect, and the omission of "smart" features means you can use the streaming box or stick of your choice. To that end, the TV comes with three HDMI ports.
(Aside: Best Buy is also offering the Sharp 55-inch Roku TV for $349.99, but the math doesn't add up -- not when you can buy a Roku stick for as little as $30.)
There's not much else to tell except this: The Insignia earned a 4.5-star average rating from over 700 buyers, and a whopping 96 percent would recommend it to their friends.
I was just looking at older posts of mine on big TVs. Would you believe that back in 2012, a 55-inch Insignia model was a great deal at $899.99? This is literally less than one-third of the price. Wow.
Bonus deal: Speaking of cheap screens, Best Buy (them again!) also has the Acer KA240H 24-inch desktop monitor for $79.99 shipped (plus tax where applicable). You can also pick it up in-store if it's available locally. Noteworthy features include a blue-light filter and the "big three" inputs: VGA, DVI and HDMI. (No speakers, though.) The only thing that has me scratching my head: There's no warranty info listed, even on Acer's product page.
Bonus deal 2: Yesterday I shared three motivation-minded self-help ebooks, all of them free for Kindle. Today: three more! All have very positive ratings, and all normally sell for $2.99 on up to $9.99. Why not grab 'em?
"From Good to Amazing"
"Motivation: Discover the Magic of Motivation Now"
"Slipstream Time Hacking: How to Cheat Time, Live More, And Enhance Happiness"