The holiday season is here again, which means that the time for shopping lists and gift-buying has returned as well. Shoppers long have relied on Black Friday deals to save some money and streamline shopping excursions. But now Thanksgiving Day sales and additional retail holidays like Plaid Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday have made it easier than ever to score holiday deals. The following tips can make holiday shopping more fruitful.
Know your prices
Shoppers who would do well on TV’s “The Price is Right” can save money. It’s important to have a general idea of what items cost, especially those that will be on holiday lists. Shoppers can set up price alert notifications on the gifts they plan to buy to compare prices in advance of holiday sales. This way they will have a better idea if the Black Friday/Cyber Monday “deal” is just a markdown on an exaggerated price or if it’s a legitimate bargain.
Before shoppers run all over to a dozen stores in the name of saving a few bucks, learn about stores’ price-matching policies. For example, Best Buy may be willing to give the same price on a printer if you can prove that Staples is offering it for $30 cheaper. Keep in mind that many stores are even willing to match Amazon’s prices.
Utilize a shopping app or coupon aggregator
Online shopping is here to stay, and one way retailers provide deals is with coupon codes. Shopping applications can help shoppers save money and time. Some, like Rakuten, offer cash-back and instant discount opportunities, particularly during the holiday season. Others, like Honey, for example, are apps as well as browser extensions that will automatically search for and apply coupon codes on retailers’ sites to ensure a shopper is getting the lowest price.
Shop ahead and pick up
Be aware of retailers who offer a lower online price for merchandise than what the same item sells for in store. For example, a six-pack of socks may be $9.99 when purchased online, or $13.99 in store. If the store offers free pickup for online orders shipped to the store, then consumers can use this option to get the discount but avoid shipping fees. Plus, pickup kiosks generally are less crowded than waiting for the checkout registers.
Buy now, resize later
Shoppers who can’t find their needed size or color in clothing or merchandise can buy any size or color on sale day at the discounted price, then exchange a few days later for the item they need.
Think beyond the usual retailers
Lowe’s, Home Depot and even pharmacies have lesser-known, but advantageous deals as well. Don’t overlook these retailers for holiday decor or stocking stuffers.