Tip #4: Don’t Rely on Black Friday
If you absolutely love shopping on Black Friday and get really into it, by all means, go shopping! Just keep in mind that the best prices on items are for things with very limited quantity and are just meant to get you in the door.
If Black Friday isn’t for you, there are a couple of alternatives. First, find out if a store will do a price adjustment. Sometimes, if you buy something and then a store puts it on sale, they will give you back the difference in price. This would allow you to buy something on, say, Wednesday and then go back Friday afternoon and get money back. However, ask the store about this before trying it. Everyone has different rules about Black Friday shopping and some stores have rules in place specifically to stop this.
Second alternative? Cyber Monday! You can get great deals online on the Monday after Thanksgiving, especially on electronic devices. Some stores even will put their Black Friday sales online starting Thanksgiving day. Personally I will always choose shopping in my pajamas, sitting on my couch, over going to a store at 3 am.
Tip #3: Free Shipping Should be the 28th Amendment
There is nothing worse when gift shopping than finding a great deal and then noticing that the cost of shipping completely destroys any savings you might get. There are a few ways to beat the shipping cost game.
There is also a site called ShopRunner. It is also a “pay once, get free shipping for a year” service, but they provide shipping at a whole list of retailers. If you have an American Express Card, you may have free membership available to you – check this page for details.
If that doesn’t work for you, you can try a Google search for the name of the retailer and the words “free shipping.” Sites like RetailMeNot and DealsPlus (plus many others) keep track of promo codes for various companies and can help with free shipping or even percent off coupons. Sometimes the codes work, sometimes they don’t, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
Some stores will even let you stack codes so that you can get free shipping and some percentage off. Yay!
Tip #2: Always Check the Clearance Section
This one is pretty self-explanatory and it goes for in-store shopping as well as online. Stores don’t always advertise their clearance sales and it doesn’t hurt to check if you’re there anyway. Admittedly you are unlikely to get the newest items this way but if you are looking for something that’s been out a while, you might get lucky. I’ve even found great gifts and “stocking stuffers” at my grocery store and drugstore!
Tip #1: Sign up for Alerts
So you’ve found the perfect gift but you’ve looked everywhere and nobody has it on sale? Try signing up for alerts. I have started using SlickDeals for this. After you sign up for their site, you can search for deals on any product.
You scroll down to see the results and, if they don’t have anything right now, you can click the red button near the top that says “Add alert for (item)” and they will send you an email when the item goes on sale somewhere. Note that this is not a perfect system but it might keep you from missing out on a good deal.