What's out: New gadgets. What's in: Refurbished gadgets

My last TV cost me $20,000.

Well, the TV itself didn't actually cost twenty grand, but being the serial home improver that I am, that single appliance purchase ignited a viral home improvement spree that spanned two floors. It included new furniture to fit the TV, new paint -- because you can't put a new TV in a room with walls needing paint, and newly finished hardwood floors -- because what would the neighbors think seeing a new TV on a floor that was dull and scratched? Not willing to leave well enough alone, I took the project upstairs where new wall to wall carpet, paint and furniture made absolutely sure that new TV would fit in just perfectly.

That was then, this is now. Not only would I not buy another new TV, millions of Americans (who I'm sure think a TV would look fine in their homes just the way they are) won't be buying a new TV either. Instead they'll invest in one of the hottest trends in gadget purchasing: buying refurbished.

A refurbished gadget isn't "used." But it is fair to say that it was "previously owned." In most cases, a refurbished product is one that was purchased but then returned to the retailer who sends the unit back to the factory to be tested and repackaged. Deals are a many with some refurbished products selling for 25% less and include the original full factory warranty.