Get those deals, hunny!
For the past decade, not only have I been a committed online shopper, but I’m obsessed with getting awesome (and frequently expensive) items on the cheap. While I avoid going to stores as much as possible, I still take advantage of all the deals while I shop for everyone’s Christmas presents and decorations.
Last year several stores opened their brick-and-mortar locations and started their Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving evening and will do so again this year. Some deals are even starting online before Thanksgiving, as seen with Amazon. Based on store tracking I did from last year comparing deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday (yes, I nerded out), it’s my prediction that some luxury items and fashion stores will have even better deals on Cyber Monday as Cyber Monday sales are expected to increase 9.4 % from last year (Black Friday to increase 11.5%). According to Adobe Digital Insights’ Holiday Predictions Infographic, Cyber Monday will have its best day ever this year.
So whether you’re shopping from the couch or running through the stores on Thursday, Friday and Monday, here’s my tips on how to get everything on your list so you can have a stress-free December:
- Specify a limit. Regardless of your budget, it’s extremely easy to overspend when you see how much you’re saving. But, if you set a maximum and promise yourself not to exceed, you’ll be a lot happier when you don’t have lingering credit card bills after the new year. I usually decide per person how much to spend, which helps me know what types of items I need to be looking for for each person.
- Start organizing. Create a list of who and what, whether that’s on a piece of paper, a Google spreadsheet, Pinterest, or any other method. Then delete things that are not pertinent to your gift-giving or closet-filling agenda so you aren’t adding things to your cart (in-store and online) that you don’t need or want just because it’s all of the sudden on sale for a crazy cheap price.
- Shop aggregator sites. If you have an item in mind, but aren’t sure where it exists (such as a “men’s crewneck cashmere sweater” or “black bag”), peruse Lyst, Polyvore, ShopStyle for items that match your search criteria. It’s not required, but a benefit of creating an account on these sites is that if there’s a discount available, it will notify you via email or push notifications on your phone.
- Seek out the promo codes. If you sign-up for a store’s email blast list, they will send you special discounts and sales. According to Adobe Digital Insights, store emails are the best source of online shopping deals. I receive dozens a day, so I created a “shopping” filter in my email to search when necessary. If you do not want to sign-up for emails, before you purchase something, do an Internet search of the store’s name plus “promo code” or search websites like RetailMeNot (they have an app if you are in store and need to get your savings) and Coupons.com. The codes usually work in-store and online and are a way to get an even bigger discount than what you would on that day if you just used the store markdowns. You can also search a company’s social media pages for additional deals they might only post to their social media following. Also, check out The Babble Out’s guide to saving money on Amazon.
- Search for price matching. According to Adobe Digital Insights, price matching could save shoppers up to 20 percent this holiday season. Google the brand and the name of the item you want, to see where you can find the best price or to find a different store offering a better deal via Google’s shopping tool (this works for brick-and-mortar and online).
- Specify your peak time to shop. For both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the best deals are early in the morning/Thanksgiving evening (if that’s available). Otherwise, items can sell out quickly and time limits on in-store deals can run out. In my past experience, some stores set their best ideals to noon or even a time before noon and then there’s less of a discount afterwards. Whether facing crowds in person or online (think website crashing when you are about to checkout then be sold out when the website starts working again. UGH.) is your nightmare (both are mine), shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday afternoons are safer if you aren’t afraid of your items being out of stock. Just check in advance when the sales end for the specific store.
- Stay safe. If you haven’t shopped on a particular website before that is not familiar, use a PayPal account for your first transaction, monitor how fast the shipment came, and if everything appeared legitimate. If you’re shopping in store use a credit card over your debit card so if your card information is being used anywhere it will not affect your bank account.
- Set your bank and credit card notifications. I have my bank notifications set so every time more than $1 is spent on my account, I receive an email notification which is filtered to a folder for me to check at the end of the day. Also, if your bank or credit sees that you are spending more than a certain amount in a short period of time, they might freeze your card and/or contact you to verify your charges before lifting the freeze (this has happened to me multiple times!). Turn the notifications on to keep shopping.
- Stick with free shipping. While some stores rarely have free shipping, most stores have free shipping tied into their Cyber Monday deals. If there’s not free shipping, try to find the item at another store. Or, if you have to purchase it at a specific store that doesn’t have a good deal on free shipping, see if you can add up enough items at the store to receive free shipping.
Shop my stocking stuffers for besties, boyfriends and everyone in between here. Let me know in the comments section what tips worked for you and what you bought.