With the holiday season in full swing, many shoppers have lengthy gift lists that can get expensive, especially if they include high-ticket items. However, no matter how many recipients you’re buying for this year, it’s possible to snag deals and save big during holiday shopping. All it takes is a little research and planning. Before you know it, you’ll start amassing gifts and crossing people off your list without emptying your wallet more than necessary this holiday season.
One of the best ways to save during the holidays is entering the peak shopping season as an informed shopper. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday circulars and emails remain indispensable resources, they arrive relatively late into the season. Instead, during the weeks leading up to these major shopping events, shoppers should research last year’s holiday trends.
A quick internet search for last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals is a great starting point. Although the same products may not be on sale this year, shoppers can infer which retailers are most likely to have similar sales on specific products or product categories. Macy’s, for example, typically runs deals on premium beauty and fragrances in November and December.
Another way to stay on top of deals is by signing up for emails from retailers. Besides sharing coupons and upcoming sales events, the emails may provide exclusive restock alerts, secret sales or early access to holiday deals. Many shoppers also sign up for the BestReviews newsletter to stay on top of deals during the holidays and throughout the year.
Holidays are the ideal time to cash in on rewards programs and to rack up more points. Ulta and Kohl’s, for example, send shoppers more coupons the more they spend. Other retailers, such as Macy’s, upgrade store credit cards when shoppers spend a certain amount annually, which results in more savings or unlocks special in-store perks. Shoppers with a Sephora at Kohl’s location nearby can earn twice the rewards, as their shop-in-shop purchases count toward both Sephora’s and Kohl’s loyalty programs.
Online holiday shopping is convenient in many ways, but what shoppers gain in convenience, they concede in shipping costs. There are a few ways to save on shipping during the holidays, and sometimes, it may require some planning.
For one, shoppers can save big when they consolidate shipping. Most retailers offer free shipping once shoppers reach the minimum threshold, which is why it’s wise to put as many items in a single order as possible. Many retailers incentivize shopping early by running promotions for free shipping with no minimum purchase several weeks before Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Some shoppers cut shipping costs by leveraging free in-store or curbside pickup, available at virtually all major retailers.
Amazon Prime membership is a powerful resource for holiday shopping. Besides offering free shipping on millions of items, a Prime membership grants exclusive access to holiday sales and 30-minute early access to Lightning Deals.
An Amazon price tracker, CamelCamelCamel, spots how product prices are trending on a retailer’s website. When shoppers add any Amazon product URL into the search box, they’re able to view prices as far back as one year or more.
While it’s difficult to predict future product prices on Amazon, CamelCamelCamel helps shoppers determine whether today’s purchase is worthwhile. Older Instant Pots, for instance, may gradually trend downward. The tracker may also reveal which products are unlikely to experience major price drops, such as smart devices or video game consoles.
Amazon rolled out Epic Deals in October, an online shopping event that preempts the holiday rush. It features some of the year’s best deals on trending products and top brands. Many shoppers have jumped on the opportunity to shop early because products are available now, and shipping delays are less prevalent than expected in the coming weeks. As a bonus, most products purchased on Amazon between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 are eligible for returns until Jan. 31.
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Apple Watch Series 6: available at Amazon
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Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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