The Holidays are coming at you fast. Did you save? Make a list? Check it twice? Of course not. We live on the eve of Amazon drone delivery. Everyone is expected to take care of life in time we once wasted staring into space at stop lights. In the face of unreasonable modern expectations, we offer these hacks to help you do it, use it, and even pay for it. Don’t give up and buy everyone a bottle of gin. You’ve got this.
Get the Ungettable Gear
You know it’s coming, the first question at every holiday party. “Did you get an iPhone X?” Apple co-founder Woz may not be buying but everyone else is. Preorders sold out in 10 minutes and the line keeps getting longer. With Apple (maybe) experiencing supply problems, Santa might be looking for alternative super gifts to drop under the tree.
Unless, that is, you are a smart –and well-funded – Santa. Even before the X made it to stores, there were iPhone Xs for sale on eBay, though the prices were much higher than the $999 Apple was asking for preorders.. We saw auctions climbing to above $2,000 and reports of them exceeding $3,000. But if price is no object, you can be the Santa with the goods.
Remember, though, every new iPhone spawns huge innovation in the knock-off market. And it is very hard to tell the difference. Check out eBay’s guide to spotting a fake iPhone.
Perhaps the smarter play in the face of a new iPhone? You could outfit Tiny Tim’s entire family with older model iPhones for the price of one iPhone X.
Get Your Free Money!
According to the National Retail Foundation, American consumers will spend $678.75 billion shopping for the holidays this year. That’s a lot of paper. If you are planning a big spend, leave the folding money home and slap down a cash-back credit card. It will kick a small percent of your outlay back to you.
If your purchases climb anywhere near the $968 the NRF reckons is your portion of the holiday shopping frenzy and you charge it all to a credit card that gets 2 percent back on all purchases – such as the one that PayPal is promoting this year – you will find an extra $20 in your account next month. That may not pay the mortgage, but it’s better than a slap with a cold fish. Just be sure to pay off the balance or the interest will be more than the bonus.
Stop that Hole in Your Wallet
You are leaking money. We all are. It happens like this: A store guarantees the lowest price – or they’ll pay you the difference. Reassured, you buy. But unless you are buying something on the order of a refrigerator, you never comparison shop after you buy.
Here is the patch for that leak: Sign up for Earny or Paribus. These services will watch all of your purchases, take note of price drops, mail in the receipts and refund request letters, and deposit the refunds into your account.
So easy! And the best part? They are free!
Except that nothing is free. The price here? Your privacy. You give Earny access to your credit card statement or Paribus access to your email. That’s how they track your purchases. That sort of data on consumer spending is valuable. Do you want to pay that price? That’s up to you.
Buy gadget gifts! Do tech support on Christmas!
No good deed goes unpunished. You spring for the awesome gadgets the kids have been asking for. You even got Mom a new tablet. Now, instead of basking in gratitude (and overdosing on chocolate), you are on the phone explaining how to configure an incoming mail server.
There is a very easy solution to this – and all – of your tech support problems: Buy a nerd. From a service like HelloTech or even Amazon (especially for smart home setup), you can pay a reasonable fee to have someone come out and set up that new gear for you.
If someone calls (emails or pops up online), unannounced, and offers tech support though, do not accept. This is very common scam. They will take your money and install malware on your computer. Now you really need tech support.
Pennies in your couch cushions?
Coming up with the cash to fund a tree laden with awesome gifts is a lot to ask, especially if you have a house full of guests to feed and house. How about this? Since you are cleaning the house anyway, start listing that stuff on Decluttr, Amazon, the Facebook Marketplace, your NextDoor classifieds, or Craigslist?
It’s easy. We think, in fact, that it’s easier than finding a place to store that old cell phone, Ikea couch, stuffed animal, or rarely used appliance. And, often, you meet nice people trying to buy gifts on a budget smaller than yours.
We can’t find any warning to go with cleaning your house, funding your own holiday, and helping a child whose parents are going through rough financial times enjoy Christmas all at the same time. Isn’t this why we have this holiday?