We have all become fascinated with the deals we can get on Black Friday! I love a great deal, yet don’t love to shop with crowds early in the morning. So I skip black friday. Yet, I still get plenty of deals while doing my holiday shopping (and regular shopping throughout the year). Here are a few of my techniques for both in store and on-line shopping, hopefully you can pick up at least one new one!
- Gift Card Sites- these sites allow you to buy and sell gift cards. While I have yet to sell any, I love to buy them. You get discounts on gift cards that someone else is not going to use and wants to get the cash! You get a discount off the face value (anywhere from about 3 – 15%). On a regular basis I try to collect Target, Ann Taylor and some of my other favorite stores. When the holiday’s or birthday’s are coming up I start looking for stores that my gift receiver may like, they are harder to come by during the holidays but you can even sign up for notifications when stores you like are available. While 3% might not seem like a lot to save, remember that every penny adds up! (Gift Card Granny is a great aggregate site.)
- Ebates* – I was in heaven when I found this site, not to mention a bit amazed it took me so long to find it! If you do a lot of online shopping (which I do) then it is like having a credit card that offers cash back. When you shop online first go to ebates and click to the site from there. Then when you complete your order you get a certain percentage of money back. Cash is paid out quarterly. Just to give you an idea of all the great stores: drugstore.com, Barnes & Noble, Disney Store, Macy’s and Target. Very worth the extra page open required to shop!
- Coupons folders – I keep file folders on the stores I frequent the most and put all coupons and receipts in those folders. This way when I get coupons and don’t need them I can keep them in an easy to find place for when I do need them. This is really great for those stores that never let their coupons expire, such as Bed Bath and Beyond. Plus having the receipt in one place makes it easy for returns. (Side tip – I also keep a Christmas receipt envelope so everything is in one place in case I need to give them out for returns.)
- Focus on free shipping – why pay for shipping when so many companies will give it for free. Check out http://www.freeshipping.org/ and http://www.freeshippingday.com/ (Free shipping day is December 16, 2011), to find out what stores ship for free.
- Sign up for newsletters of the stores or products that you frequent. I order a lot on Shutterfly, so I subscribe to find out when the hot deals and free shipping are!
- Discount Codes – before you hit purchase, head out to Google and search for the store you are buying from and coupon codes – example “Target coupon codes”. You would be amazed at how much you can save. I have literally saved hundreds of dollars doing this.
- Deal/Frugal sites – there are an amazing number of these sites! They are a great way to keep track of coupons and specials. I recommend you choose one that fits your personality and shopping habits and then either subscribe via email or RSS. I will warn you that some of these can bombard you with information, yet most are quick and easy to read updates. I personally use: http://www.savingwithshellie.com, She has some great summary posts on Black Friday shopping if you do want to tackle the crowds or online deals if you prefer not to.
- Catalogs – normally I toss all incoming catalogs in the trash immediately – too much of a temptation to spend money. Yet at holiday time I keep the catalogs that I shop from, because on the cover is typically a discount code or a free shipping code.
By taking a little extra time you can save big amounts of money.