It’s almost time for the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season.
Yes, the annual post-Thanksgiving Black Friday “holiday” is coming up on November 29, with another retail holiday, Cyber Monday, to follow it on December 2. On both days, you can bank on being privy to some great sales prices — that is, if you’re committed enough to wait in lines in the wee hours of the morning or commit to your computer, respectively.
We’ve talked in the months leading up to this year’s holiday shopping season about how you should budget your money and even get a head start on your shopping. More recently, we discussed how you should be aware of some of the latest credit card hacking schemes trending this year. And while this is all important, in this post we’re going to dish on something that you can put to use in the near-term to hopefully save you some cash this holiday season.
It’s estimated that Americans are going to spend an average of $1,300 on holiday gifts this year. But who says you can’t get everything on your shopping list and save some money while you’re at it? Here’s a look at some tips and tactics to help you do it:
- Don’t pay full price: Thanksgiving is late this year, which means that the holiday shopping season is about a week shorter than it normally is. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, as a consumer, you should be able to use this to your advantage, whether you’re doing your shopping online or in store. How? Look for ongoing deals. Since the prime season is shorter, retailers — both online and brick-and-mortar — are likely to be running better deals, even if it’s just in the way of coupons for a certain percentage off of your order or for free shipping of online-bought items.
- Follow key brands on social media: Do you have specific name brand items you’re shopping for? Try this: Follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s not uncommon for big brands to share coupons or promotions that they’re running on their social media channels. But if you don’t follow them, you might not know what you’re missing. Yes, there’s the chance that these brands don’t do this too, but it doesn’t hurt to give it a shot. You can always unfollow them if it doesn’t work.
- Sign up for Amazon Prime: If Amazon.com is where you do most of your online shopping and you’re not a Prime member, you can sign up for a free month trial at any time. We’d suggest you do it around the holidays so that you’ll never have to worry about paying for shipping on any of the items you purchase. Just remember to cancel your Prime membership if you don’t plan on continuing it beyond your month trial period so you’re not billed for it.
- There’s an app for that: Mobile phone apps like Flipp and Shopsavvy are great this time of year because they help sort retailer advertisements so you can more quickly determine where the deals are based on your interests. Download them today so you can save in the post-Thanksgiving shopping craze.
- Don’t get caught up in the usual shopping day perceptions: Most people associate Black Friday as the day where you have to be at the stores to get the best deals and Cyber Monday as the day you need to be online to get the best prices. This isn’t necessarily true, as more and more retailers are running online Black Friday promotions and in-store Cyber Monday promotions. All it takes is a little bit of homework to understand who is running deals on what — and where.
How much holiday shopping do you have done? Are you planning on doing any this on Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday? Start planning your holiday shopping now.