Great cheap accessories for all the stuff you bought on Black Friday

Quick note: If you live in SE Michigan, come check me out tonight at the Livonia Public Library at 7 p.m. Learn my favorite money-saving secrets and enjoy a good chance at winning some raffle prizes!

I’ll admit it — I’m glad Black Friday and Cyber Monday are in the rear view. Because although there were some colossal deals this year, it’s exhausting to sort, track and share them all!

That said, you cannot imagine the Herculean efforts of countless CNET writers and editors, who’ve been doing all that sorting, tracking and sharing for weeks. To say this was a team effort is an understatement. I was a tiny cog in the much greater Black Friday machine, and my fellow deal finders deserve a ton of credit. (And a beer — next round’s on me!)

Before we dive into today’s deals, which are all about improving the products you might have scored during the past few days, let me pause to talk about charity. Today is Giving Tuesday, and even if your wallet is empty, you can support worthy causes without spending a dime. Please consider helping those less fortunate. It’s much quicker and easier than you think.

On to business. Did you score an awesome new toy during the sale madness of the past couple weeks? Let’s talk about some accessories you might want to add — and some surprisingly cheap ones at that.

speck-stay-clear-iphone-xr
Don’t overpay for a phone case; anything over $10-15 is probably too much.

Sarah Tew/CNET

It doesn’t matter if you spent $200 or $1,200 — the first order of business is a case. Because, let’s face it, gravity happens. Here’s what you shouldn’t do: Buy an expensive case from Apple, AT&T, Verizon or some other retailer. You may have bought your phone there, but cases are best sourced elsewhere.

My advice: Hit up Amazon and Ebay. Just search for cases for your phone model and you’ll find a dizzying array of choices. Hard cases, soft cases, clear ones, colored ones and so on. Even better, you’ll find lots of them priced around $10-15 — much better than the $30-50 you’re likely to pay in store.

Read more: iPhone XR cases: 4 cheap alternatives to Apple’s $40 one

Of course, putting your phone in a case doesn’t guarantee 100-percent protection against pavement encounters. The best protection is not dropping your phone in the first place, which is why I continue to champion Phone Straps (formerly Ninja Loops).

See it at Phone Loops

A mere $5 buys you a stylish strap that attaches to just about any phone case. Once you get accustomed to sliding your fingers underneath it, you’ll find it much easier to grip your phone — and you’ll be much less likely to drop it.

This remains one of my all-time favorite products. It makes a great gift, too, which is why you should buy at least three (which bags you free shipping).

You bought a Nintendo Switch

Switch deals were everywhere this year — and often quite fleeting. Now that you have the console, though, you might want to consider a couple accessories — starting with a mobile charger.

The Switch relies on a USB-C input, though you don’t necessarily need a power bank that has a USB-C output. Those tend to cost a bit more, though they have the advantage of recharging your console more quickly than a standard 5V USB-A port.

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