Black Friday is coming up in just a few short weeks on Friday November 25th followed by Cyber Monday, November 28th. While Black Friday has been traditionally known as the day that people head into the stores for the best deals, that has definitely been changing in the last year or two. More & more retailers are matching the prices of their in-store Black Friday deals online & some stores are even offering better deals online than you will find in the stores.
If you'd rather avoid the crowds & stay in your comfy pajamas to do your Christmas shopping on Black Friday, then make sure you're prepared with these simple tips for shopping online.
1. Make a plan - Write out a list of all the people you need to buy gifts for this Christmas season & then write down possible gift ideas. Then set a budget for how much you want to spend per person. I keep all of this on a Microsoft Word document so I can easily update it & find it quickly when I'm shopping online. I also keep a copy of my list in my purse, so I have those ideas at all times when I'm out shopping in the stores.
2. Do your research & scout out the prices - Once you have some ideas of what you're looking for, head to the stores or start comparing prices online to get an idea of the range of prices for that particular item. This really comes in handy for online shopping because deals can go very quickly & you don't want to buy items on impulse & then overspend because it sounded like a great deal at the time.
Utilize Smartphone Apps - There are a number of great apps for the deal hunter. Red Laser is an example of an app that is a barcode scanner. Just scan the barcode on a product you're interested in & it will tell you where you can find the best price.
3. Get in the Know - Sign up for your favorite retailers' email newsletters, "like" their Facebook Fan pages & follow them on Twitter. This is one of the best ways to find out about early shopping passes, special discount codes, free shipping offers & more.
4. Use Gift Cards to Make Purchases Online - Many retailers offer special gift card promotions during the holidays (eg: Spend $20 on gift cards, earn an extra $5). When you spot a deal like this, you'll get that extra savings that the store is offering plus it's a safer way to shop online & it helps you to stay on track with your spending.
5. Earn cash-back on your online purchases - My last but favorite tip is to do all your online shopping thru Ebates, where you will automatically be earning cash-back on your purchases. Head over to Ebates now & make a list of all your favorite retailers & the percentage of cash-back you will earn. Keep that in mind when you are considering the differences in price for gifts, especially on those larger-ticket items, because that cash-back can definitely make a difference in the retailer where you choose to shop. Ebates also offers a number of coupon codes & free shipping offers, so not only you will be getting cash-back when you start your shopping at Ebates, you will also find the best deals available.
Hopefully these tips will help you to get prepared for the busy rush of online shopping on Black Friday & Cyber Monday.
Please be sure to check out all of Jen's Savvy Shopping tips over on her blog - Thrifty NorthWest Mom!