How to Score Major Holiday Deals
The key to getting through a stressful holiday shopping season? Arm yourself with a digital arsenal to make your life easier — and save you some money! These tools will help you find steals during the holiday rush and year-round.
1. Use apps to comparison shop in a snap.
With these handy digital tools, you can check brick-and-mortar stores as well as e-tailers to make sure that you are getting the best price. I use the free Amazon app, which lets you search its expansive database by barcode scan, picture snap, text, or voice input. I also use PriceBlink, a free browser add-on that's great for searching and shopping online.
2. Know when the price drops.
If you want to wait for a discount or sale before you pounce on an item you love, useShopAdvisor or PoachIt, both of which will alert you when the price of an item falls, or if there's a coupon you can use. I also like Slice, which tells you about price drops, but can also track your orders and organize your receipts.
3. Never miss a coupon code.
When you're ready to purchase, always check RetailMeNot for coupon codes — typically, you can at least snag free delivery. I also use the browser extension Coupons at Checkout which, as the name implies, will provide coupons as you're checking out online.
4. Reap the rewards.
Yep, you can earn money while shopping (nice!). ShopKick rewards you just for walking into a participating store like Target, Best Buy, Macy's, or Old Navy. AndFatWallet offers the opportunity to get cash back (and coupons and deals) when you shop your favorite stores through their site.
I also like the new feature from FindNSave, "Cash Dash," that gives you cash back for certain flagged shopping trips. Recently they featured promotions for Gamestop ($5 back for spending at least $5) and Target ($20 cash back for spending at least $20). And I like Wallaby, which helps you decide which credit card will provide maximum reward benefits with your purchase.
5. Don't forget about the perks to shopping with your mobile device.
Often, when you use a mobile payment service, there are host of deals to cash in on. For instance, with PayPal, you'll often have access to promotions at local merchants, or you can opt to "pay after delivery," which gives you up to 14 days to pay after you receive your purchase.
There are also a growing number of store-specific apps. I use the Starbucks app to snag free coffee and iTunes apps, and the Cartwheel app to get deals at Tartget. With the advent of geo-targeted technologies, we'll probably see the option for personalized recommendations more and more, offering deals and shopping info exactly when and where you want them.