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Smart Buying

Clunkers, Part II-and III and IV

Appliance and Electronics stores mimic the trade-in program.

Got stuff? Chances are someone will dangle a discount, gift card or rebate to entice you to trade it in for new merchandise. Toys “R” Us is now taking trade-ins on video games. Amazon.com will take video games and DVDs in exchange for an Amazon gift card. For example, Madden NFL 10 for the Nintendo Wii was recently valued at $28.75. Trade in hardware-MP3 players, laptops, digital cameras and more-at retailers such as RadioShack or manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard. RadioShack might give you close to $140 (on a RadioShack gift card) for an 8-gigabyte Apple iPhone 3G, for instance; get a quote online or visit a store. Electronics recycler Gazelle runs trade-in programs for Amazon and Costco.

Thinking bigger? Some $300 million in economic-stimulus Money is earmarked for rebates on Energy Star appliances. Rebates are expected to range from $50 to $250. States decide which appliances qualify and how much the rebate will be (no need to lug in your old clunker).

Jeff Arndt, a 34-year-old landscaper for TV and movie studios in Burbank, Cal., got a jump on Uncle Sam with a $200 “clunker” rebate from Thor Appliance Co. on its signature all-in-one washer-dryer, which retails for more than $1,200. A $100 Energy Star rebate from Burbank sweetened the deal for single-guy Arndt, who says he loves his new washer but still hates doing laundry.