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How to raise your kids without going broke

5. Computers
Think netbooks. Compared with laptops, these mobile machines are smaller, simpler, and cheaper — they cost from $200 to $450. They aren't great for photos, videos, or gaming. But for portability and the basics, netbooks do just about anything a teen needs to do, says Sam Costello, technology expert at Though your teenager may lobby for an iPad, be wary. Apple's blockbuster gizmo is more expensive than most netbooks, and its color touch screen is tricky to type on. If your child will be using the machine for homework, reports, or any other heavy-duty word processing for school, a keyboard-equipped netbook is the way to go.

6. Games
For new and used games, watch for deals from online retailers such as and or the retail chain GameStop. Swap sites such as and can help your teen unload old games and get something new. (These sites are also a great way to trade books, CDs, and DVDs.)

7. Musical instruments
Go low-tech: your local music store. You'll want your child to try out anything he or she is serious about learning ( impossible via the Internet). Opt for buying (or renting ) used instruments, especially for beginners.

8. Sports equipment
The Play It Again Sports retail chain sells new and used equipment. It also accepts trade-ins for a variety of sports gear. (Don't buy used helmets; they can be unsafe.)

9. Tickets offers deals for concerts, shows, and other events. For cheap airline tickets and hotel rooms,,, and are good bets. caters to the youth-hostel crowd with lots of good travel information and savings advice.

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