This holiday shopping season is sure to be full of deals and record setting sales. This year’s Black Friday brought in over 52 billion dollars to retailers. Sales can be exciting, but they aren’t always the best deals. Retailers have a habit for advertising their “lowest price ever” only to make it lower the following week. Sometimes the best sales are AFTER Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Here are 5 tips to help you make sure you’re getting the best deal this holiday shopping season.
1. Compare prices
Before you buy anything you should compare prices from different retailers. Look at all the flyers and check online. If you’re mobile savvy a great app is Google Shopper. This app is perfect for comparing prices right in the store. Just scan the barcode with your phone and Google searches the web for the item. You can sort by price low to high.
2. Be aware of the return and price match policies
Have you ever purchased something only to see the same exact item cheaper in a different store? It is important to know the store’s policies on returns and price matches. You want to make sure you have the freedom to get the lowest price. If you see a cheaper price, you should return the more expensive one after buying the better priced item. Many retailers either have an official or unofficial price match policy. If you can bring in proof of the lower price (sales flyer, coupon, dated price tag picture, etc.), most retailers will give you the difference. Be sure to read any and all fine print, since some deals cannot be price matched.
The best source of coupons is in weekly flyers in the Sunday paper. However, most retailers will accept coupons printed from online. Some in-store coupons are only available to people who subscribe to a retailers e-mail lists. If you don’t like getting tons of sale e-mails every day, you are in luck. There is a blog called printable-coupons.blogspot.com that has a huge list of updated printable coupons from most major retailers. Do you prefer to shop online? If so, it is essential that you check retailmenot.com for the latest coupon codes before you submit any online order.
4. Get the math right
You’ve compared prices and have an envelope of coupons in your hands, so far so good. But coupons and sales can get tricky. You have one coupon that saves you $10 off $50 and another coupon that saves you %15 if you spend $100. Which one is actually the best deal? There are tons of calculators on the internet and for your mobile phone that are specifically designed for calculating and comparing the prices of sales and coupons. A great one for Android phones is simply called Discount Calculator.
5. Let the internet shop for you
Don’t have time to compare prices, clip coupons, or get to the store? No problem. An internet company called Shop It To Me will shop for you (currently only cloths). After setting up a free account, you can set search metrics like the types of cloths you’re looking for, what sizes, how much it should be discounted by, the brand, and the price range you’re willing to search in. Shop It To Me will search verified brand and department store websites from items that fit your metrics, and then e-mails you with a picture, price, and link to all the items that match.
How do you make sure you’re getting the best deals? Don’t forget, I’m giving away $50 on Facebook for my “How Do You Save Money” Sweepstakes!
Chris, VP of Unbanking