You will be surprised what you can find

Whatever the reason cash is tight — paying credit card bills from holiday shopping, losing a job due to the pandemic, or a New Year’s resolution to limit your spending — there may be less to do in February.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t afford a new tech toy, because you might be surprised at what’s available at your local “dollar store.”

OK, so it might not really be a dollar anymore, if you’ve read the news or experienced it for yourself, but there are still great deals to be had on consumer electronics.

Even if you’re not on a budget, why spend $30 for an HDMI cable at a big box store when you can buy one for a buck or two, and you won’t be able to see or hear the difference between the of them ?

So, we review “dollar store” technology from time to time in this column, and here are half a dozen recent choices seen at stores such as Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Dollar General, 99¢ Depot, and Dollarama. (in Canada).

Be careful though, not all stores offer the same products. Or you might find a very similar one under a different brand name.

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Brilliant Ideas Color Changing LED Shower Head ($5)

Brighten up your shower time with this high-tech solution from Brilliant Ideas.

This “hydro-powered” color changing LED shower head fits any standard wall mounted shower neck (not shower hoses) and gives you a colorful light show while you bathe .

For best effect, turn off the bathroom lights and only use this plastic doohickey to colorfully illuminate your tub or cubicle.

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E-Circuit Round On-Ear Headphones ($1.25)

Resist buying expensive headphones for young children, as they could get lost or broken.  For $1.25 each, the E-Circuit headphones may be more ideal.  They are available in one of four colors and have an adjustable band.

Parents of young children are probably tired of hearing “Baby Shark” on an iPad in the back. But at the same time, you might not want your little ones wearing headphones just yet.

There are three benefits to a product like the E-Circuit Round Earphones: they go over your ears rather than inside; they are not able to get too loud (32 Ohm impedance); and if they’re broken or lost, at $1.25 a pair, you might not be too upset.

Available in four colors, the E-Circuit headphones are also adjustable to fit different head sizes.

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Step Gear Pedometer ($3)

If all you need is a device to count your steps (and capture other basic information), a pedometer is all you need when you're walking or running.  Available in multiple colors, this $3 Step Gear Pedometer can do the trick.

If you don’t want to blow your budget on a Fitbit or Apple Watch, you can get the $3 Step Gear Pedometer, a small wrist-mounted activity tracker that counts your steps, tracks your distance, and estimates calories burned. and displays it. on the small LCD screen.

It also tells you the time with its built-in digital clock. Available in several colors and with an adjustable strap, this pedometer includes an AG4 battery (already in the tracker).

Press the small “Mode” button to start.

Tech-1 Wireless Optical Mouse ($3)

Plug the tiny transceiver into the USB port of a Windows laptop or desktop computer and use the wired mouse to work or play - without cables.  For $3, it's a good backup, at least.

While you may know that you can get a wired mouse at your local dollar store, you can also get a wireless mouse.

This Tech -1 branded computer accessory features a tiny transceiver that plugs into an available USB-A port on your Windows PC to establish a wireless handshake with the device.

This black, ambidextrous mouse has three buttons, including a central scroll wheel, and requires a double A battery (not included).

Adjustable White LED Clamp Reading Light ($1.25)

Fix this bright light on a book or an e-reader, to read in the dark.  The adjustable arm allows you to position the LED to your liking.  At just $1.25 (including batteries), it's a no-brainer for nighttime bookworms.

How to read a book in bed without distributing it to your partner?

Rather than lighting a lamp on, say, a nightstand, Dollar Tree sells this no-name adjustable LED clip-on reading lamp that clips onto your paperback, hardcover, or unlit eReader.

Simply position the arm to your liking and the (surprisingly) bright LED will illuminate the page.

Three small AG13 batteries are required and included.

Momentum Universal Remote ($2)

Perfect for a TV in a guest bedroom or summer house, this inexpensive universal remote includes a codebook to program all your components - up to eight of them.

Found at 99¢ Depot, this universal remote can control up to 8 devices, such as a TV, cable box, or DVD player (if you still have one).

To program the remote, press and hold the button for the device you want to control (such as a TV), then enter the TV’s manufacturer’s code in the manual, or press Channel Up to scan through possible codes until until the device turns off. Press the “Set” button to confirm that it works.

The remote also includes controls for volume, mute, play/pause/skip, menu, and more.

Although not included, two AA batteries are required.