There’s no getting around the fact that technology is expensive, especially when it’s new. While you may be okay with settling for last year’s gadgetry for yourself in order to save a few bucks, gifting is a different story entirely. If you’re going to purchase a device as a present for a spouse, child, family member, or friend, you want to ensure that they’re getting the latest and greatest. But totally aside from figuring out what that must-have item might be, you also want to try to save some money in the process. And there are quite a few ways to steer clear of paying full retail price. Here are a handful you might want to look into this holiday season.
- Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you’re willing to brave the lines and crazed mom-fights in the aisles of stores then Black Friday can offer up some truly spectacular deals on hot and hard-to-find tech gadgets for the holidays. Most stores will stock limited amounts for this shopping holiday in order to drive up demand and exclusivity, so if there’s something you want in particular, figure out where it is in the store, get in line early, and make a beeline for it as soon as the doors open. As for those who simply can’t face the wall of bodies, Cyber Monday offers an excellent alternative. Although you won’t have the day off work, the sales often start at midnight, and most sites guarantee you’ll receive your shipment by Christmas.
- Club rewards. Plenty of stores that traffic in technology offer memberships that allow you to collect reward points, resulting in coupons and sometimes even gift certificates. Best Buy, for example, has Reward Zone, by which members rack up 1 point for every dollar spent and get a $5 gift certificate for every 250 points. They also send frequent discount coupons by mail or email for a percentage off of purchases, as well as additional discounts during the account-holder’s birthday month. And many tech retailers offer similar programs.
- Tech blogs. While blogs that focus on the latest technology news won’t actually deliver deals on the items they review, they are a good source for all kinds of information concerning the devices that may interest you during the holiday season. Sites like Kotaku, Gizmodo, Engadget, Wired, TechCrunch, and Mashable, just to name a few, will clue you in to new gadgets in production and other details like specs, release dates, and preorder options. But they could also let you know when special deals are in the works. In some cases they’ll even set up deals whereby their readers get special discounts by using an exclusive code. And since these are tech blogs, all offer RSS feeds to make your daily perusals a little easier.
- Tech DOTD. If you haven’t yet heard of Woot, prepare yourself for a pleasant surprise. This deal of the day site deals specifically in technology (although they have added pages for sports, shirts, and wine deals, amongst other things). So you can get amazing savings on everything from digital projectors to in-wall speakers to infrared heaters, and much more. Deals last only a day (or until they sell out), unless there is a Woot-off in progress, in which case steeply discounted items could sell out within minutes, only to be replaced by the next short-sale item.
- Shop around. This may sound pretty obvious, but it’s surprising how many people fail to comparison shop and end up overpaying as a result. What you may not realize is that tech dealers and service providers will definitely undercut each other to get your business. So if you’re looking to upgrade a phone, purchase a new computer, or snake deals for Fios triple play, make sure you go to competitive companies and let them know exactly what deals you’ve got waiting at another retailer. This is an especially good strategy for stores that work on commission.