How to find the best deals for Christmas shopping (and the rest of the year)

How to find the best deals for Christmas shopping (and the rest of the year)

My husband calls me a “dealmeister” and it’s true—I love a good deal. Everyone loves a good deal around this time of the year, so here are my tips on how to save a few of your hard-earned sheckles during the holiday season and beyond:

Slickdeals:

Slickdeals.net is one of the pages that I check almost daily. Think of it as Reddit for great bargains. Slickdealers post to the message boards and the best deals get upvoted, then float to the top, and the best deals make it to its heralded Frontpage.

If you’re looking for a deal on something specific, say like a Google Home with free shipping, you can set a deal alert either on the site or via the app, and the site will email you when a hot deal becomes available. Slickdeals probably works best for deals on electronics, housewares and apparel, but the bargains on products and services can really run the gamut, all the way from package deals on cruises to big discounts on cars. Fatwallet  is a good resource as a deals’ aggregator as well.

Slickdeals.net aggregates the best deals on internet.

Coupon codes:

Chances are that if you’ve ever shopped online before, you’ve used a coupon code. Before pressing “checkout” on any online retailer, I always run a quick Google check for a coupon code to make sure there’s not something out there on the informational superhighway that I can use at my disposal. It doesn’t take much time to scour the net for these codes, and there are sites like CouponCabin that will always list the valid codes.

A lot of times, it’s for free shipping or ten percent off, but ten percent off a big ticket purchase like a 4K television can save you a lot of money. And, if you’re a loyal customer to a certain site, you’d be well-advised to subscribe to their newsletter as long as you don’t mind the persistent spam; many times retailers will email you individualized, one-time use discount codes when you’re a VIP. .

Amazon:

I’m an Amazon Prime member so naturally, I’ll buy a lot of the things from the site on my shopping list in order to get the two-day shipping. But if you look closely at the price of the item on Amazon, you’ll notice that it’s not always the cheapest on the internet.  If shipping time is no biggie to you, you should always do a quick check via sites like PriceGrabber, to see if there are any other retailers online that undercut the price of Amazon for the same item (many times there are). And, if are willing to wait, you can use a site like Camelcamelcamel to track prices on Amazon—it’ll tell when you the price on an item that you are tracking dips.

And, a tip to the wise: Amazon is currently battling a major problem with counterfeit items. If you see an item that’s listed at an extremely low price, be cautious and do your homework to ensure that it’s an authentic item. I’ve seen major issues with brand name luxury shoes, handbags and cosmetics listed on Amazon that are actually fakes. Sometimes, it’s worth paying a few extra bucks to purchase from an authorized reseller for peace of mind.

Let’s face it. You don’t need to leave the house for anything when you have Amazon.

Costco:  

Many of my friends make fun of my husband and I for being Costco proselytizers, but the truth is that you can save a ton of money shopping at Costco—plain and simple.  Yes, it may be gauche buying 30 rolls of Kirkland toilet paper all at once, but it’s not like you’re ever going to stop needing the stuff. If you gas up at Costco on a frequent basis, the savings pays for the basic $ 55 two-person membership fee. Combine that with their own Citi credit card or Chase Freedom card that gives you back five percent from warehouse purchases, and you’ve got yourself a pretty good deal or even free money, especially if you pay off your credit card in full every month.

The prices for the organic produce at Costco are unbeatable (Costco has eclipsed Whole Foods as the number one national retailer of organic produce) and the wild seafood and meat selection is superb. Costco even sells legitimate USDA prime cuts of meat (look for the blue styrofoam trays), something many local supermarkets like Harris Teeter do not sell. The wine selection is fantastic and for the fashionistas, you can get luxury goods on Costco’s website (and in-store). I got a Marc Jacobs handbag from Costco that I had been coveting for a long time, for an even cheaper price that Amazon (completely authentic!).

And, really, lastly, the $ 1.50 all-beef hot dogs and a drink have remained at the same price for all these years (with Pepsi products, unfortunately, but it’ll have to do).

Costco: where you can buy 12 sticks of deodorant at once.

Hopper:

If you’re a globetrotter, then chances are that you’ve already heard about Hopper. But, if you haven’t, download this app immediately to your smartphone or tablet. It can potentially save you hundreds of dollars. Hopper helped me find a roundtrip flight from Raleigh-Durham to Tokyo for $650 just one month ago! I’m not getting any kickback for saying this either. An average RT flight to Tokyo from Raleigh in the spring hovers at around $1000+.  

It might be too late to put Hopper to good use for Christmas flights, but it does allow the user to put in their desired destination and dates and it’ll track the airfare for you on a watch list and offer recommendations and predictions on when to book your flight based on past statistics. If an airfare dips to below average, it’ll send you a notification and you can decide whether or not to book.

Hopper tracks airfares and will tell you the best time to pull the trigger on a flight.

Ebay/Craigslist/Letgo:

Sometimes, you’ve got to make money to spend money. Well, probably all of the time. There’s nothing better than purging stuff around the house that’s collecting dust and selling it on sites like Ebay and Craigslist. Veterans of these sites know that you’ve got to price goods competitively and reasonably and to add plenty of pictures (there are no excuses anymore now that everyone’s got a smartphone).


You’ll never know what will sell. I recently sold a parasol that I used one time at my wedding for nearly the cost that I originally purchased it for on Craigslist. Ebay and Craigslist are old school, and apps like Letgo are the new kids on the block and have made it easy to list items straight from the smartphone.

Apparel and Shoes:

I have an addiction to shopping for clothing and shoes online, but luckily there are plenty of ways to save while doing it. If you can wait for the online clearance rack, places like Belk, Nordstrom Rack, SaksOff5th, and Barney’s Warehouse have great deals on contemporary brands.

I also do my due diligence and check places like Uniqlo and Zara for pieces that are fashionable, but reasonably priced. For work, I’ll check Banana Republic and J.Crew’s Factory sites online–the quality is not as good as their first-tier stores, but if you’re not looking for pieces that will last more than a couple of seasons, it’s a good bet.

For shoes, I’ve found that 6pm, Nordstrom Rack, Amazon and Shoebuy offers the best selection at the best prices. Of course, I’ll usually pick out a particular shoe that I want and do a price comparison online. The only thing to watch out for is that some sites do not offer free returns, so you’ll have to add that into the final cost when you weigh your options.

 

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