5 Ways to Save on Your Christmas Shopping
Dear Rich Lifer,
With two of the biggest shopping days of the year behind us, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it might seem like there are no more deals to be had.
However, malls and retailers know this is just the beginning of the holiday shopping season.
According to Sensormatic Solutions, 8 out of the 10 busiest days for in-store foot traffic this year will take place in December:
- Black Friday, November 29
- December 21, the last Saturday before Christmas
- December 26, the day after Christmas
- December 14, two Saturdays before Christmas
- November 30, the Saturday after Black Friday
- December 22, the last Sunday before Christmas
- December 23, the Monday before Christmas
- December 28, the Saturday after Christmas
- December 27, the Friday after Christmas
- December 7, the first Saturday in December
Sensormatic based this list on stats collected from previous years showing peak in-store traffic periods.
Although mall and in-store foot traffic is declining overall in America, this is expected to be a big year for holiday spending.
The annual Deloitte holiday survey predicts spending will grow by 4.5% to 5%, and top $1.1trillion.
But with in-store shopping shifting to online, it’s more important than ever to know how to score the best deals wherever you shop.
To help you out, I compiled a short list of some of my favorite online and in-store shopping apps. I’ve mentioned a few of these before, in various issues, but with the Holidays rapidly approaching, I want you to have the best ones all in one place.
These are a mix of internet browser extensions (aka plug-ins or add-ons) and apps for your smartphone or tablet.
If you’ve never heard of browser extensions before, don’t worry. They’re easy to use. You simply go to the listed website, click “install” on the add-on, and it will automatically be added in your internet browser.
The next time you’re shopping online, the extension will pop up and work its magic. The best part is all these apps and extensions are free, and can save you a bundle.
Here are my top five shopping apps to save you money this holiday season:
Gone are the days of clipping coupons. The Honey browser extension literally automates couponing for you.
Once you add the Honey extension to your internet browser, whenever you check out at any online retailer, say Amazon.com or Walmart.com, Honey will scour the internet for digital coupons and automatically apply them to your order.
With the click of a button you can save yourself the hassle of searching coupon sites and having to type in confusing coupon codes. Honey also will send you alerts for price drops.
It can provide you with price histories on items in your digital shopping cart and tell you whether to buy now, or hold out for a better deal later.
The Wall Street Journal recently published a story exposing fake online reviews.
According to the story, more than one third of online reviews on major websites, including those on Amazon.com, Walmart, and Sephora, are fake, meaning they are generated by robots or people paid to write them.
If you’re worried about buying something with an overhyped review, Fakespot.com’s browser extension will help.
Fakespot flags both reviews and products it suspects are bogus and grades product reviews to help you avoid being duped by fake 4- and 5-star reviews.
The app also summarizes the most helpful reviews, which can save you a ton of time if you’ve waited until the last minute to get your Christmas shopping done.
If you like to price shop online, then you’ll love PriceBlink. Instead of opening up multiple browser tabs with different retailers, you install PriceBlink and visit one major retail website.
For example, say you shop at Amazon.com, a yellow bar will pop up from PriceBlink, you click on “Compare Prices” and you’ll get a list of prices for that same item at other stores.
The browser extension checks prices at 11,000 stores. Because there’s no PriceBlink mobile app, if you want to quickly price shop in-store, you can use the app ShopSavvy. Or, use the Amazon and eBay apps.
When you tap the camera icon in any one of these apps then point your phone at an item’s barcode, the app will find competing prices.
Formerly known as eBates, Rakuten is an app and browser extension that allows you to earn cash back on your purchases.
How it works: once installed, you shop as you normally would online and you’ll earn cash back on qualifying purchases at more than 3,500 stores.
Once you’ve collected at least $5 in rewards, Rakuten will send you a check in the mail. You’ll receive a check quarterly with whatever cashback rewards you’ve earned.
If you choose to take your earnings as a gift card instead, you can earn more rewards faster. You can also link your credit card to the smartphone app and score cash back on certain in-store purchases, plus 5 percent cash back on meals at more than 10,000 participating restaurants.
Next time you head out shopping, add the RetailMeNot app to your phone. The app supports a wide selection of stores and food chains. The app supplies barcodes to be scanned at the register with your order.
Simply search for the retail store you’re shopping at and see if there are any coupons or sales. Similar to Rakuten, you can earn cash-back offers both in-store and online.
It doesn’t matter if it’s Black Friday or the last Saturday before Christmas, with these five apps and extensions installed, you can score the best deal no matter what time of year.
To a richer life,