We all know that having a consumer electronics habit isn’t cheap. Lucky for you, the holidays are rolling around, and you know what that means — we’re coming upon the prime time of the year to make your play for that spiffy new Wii U, Nexus 4, iPhone 5 or other device.
If you’re intent on getting your mitts on a particular product this season, there are a few ways to go about it:
1. Hit the sales, hit them hard. Once upon a time, Black Friday was just a marketing push geared toward fashionistas looking for style buys on the cheap and moms doing some early holiday shopping. Oh boy, have things changed. Black Friday/Cyber Monday has now become one of the most anticipated events of the year for technology shoppers looking bargains on the devices they’ve been waiting for all year long. (For tips on rocking this occasion like a pro, click here. Or for deals, sales announcements and other info, check out all our Black Friday 2012 posts here.)
2. Work for it: Some businesses burst at the seams during this time of year, and many could use help. So pick up some extra shifts at work or get a part-time seasonal job at a retailer. You could also advertise directly on Craigslist for dog-walking, babysitting or shopping services for individuals. After all, there could be a lot of time-crunched people with their own holiday lists to contend with.
3. Hint around to friends and family. If you haven’t been dropping hints like crazy, you’ll want to start immediately — particularly in front of Dad, the significant other or Grandma. These are, after all, your best targets for a high-ticket gift item. There are all sorts of ways to drop hints, from leaving sales clippings on the dining room table to telling the tale of your pal “Beth,” whose super-awesome-fantastic-generous boyfriend pre-ordered a Galaxy Note II for her. Instead of beating around the bush, however, you could go the straight-up direct route — create a wish list. Amazon, for example, has Wish Lists that make shopping super-simple for loved ones and guarantee that you get exactly what you want.
Or you could get even more creative. When I got married, I used a service called Honeyfund. Although it’s primarily targeted toward newlyweds looking to fund their honeymoons, really anyone can use it for any other type of gift registry.
Here’s how you can take advantage of it: Sign up for a free account, and then list the things you want — a device, accessory or other item. If it’s an expensive product, break up the amount into smaller gift portions so that, say, 10 friends can kick a little something toward your “tech fund” as holiday gifts. Honeyfund doesn’t actually collect the money — it comes straight to you — but it does give you a way of organizing things, as it keeps track of who contributed from your registry (so you can send Thank You notes). You can receive your gifts via PayPal, mailed checks or as cash (if the gift giver wants to hand it to you), and friends can even print out a certificate to give along with the money, to make the gift feel more festive.
Oh, and don’t forget to tell your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend or parents that you’ve created this. Chances are, if friends or relatives are racking their brains, trying to figure out what to give you for a gift, they’ll ask one of these key people.
4. Save up those gift cards: You’ll likely get a gift card or two from well-meaning people this season. Although you may not get enough from a single retailer to fully fund a big tech purchase, it could definitely help move you toward your goal… especially if you pair it with number 4 below.
5. Return unwanted gifts: If you get something you don’t want — a game you already own, a device case in the wrong color, or even an unattractive Target or Walmart sweater — don’t just stuff it in the back of your closet. If you got a gift receipt with it, return that item for cash or credit. If you didn’t, don’t despair. Contact your local store and see if they’ll accept it anyway for an exchange or credit. Depending on the gift, this could get you far in your pursuit of that hot device you’ve been eyeballing — especially if you happened to get a gift card at that retailer, to pair it with.
Got any other strategies for getting what your heart desires this holiday season? Share in the comments!