Now that Black Friday has come and gone, the holiday shopping season has begun.
As you gear up for this season of giving, follow these tips to help make your season one of saving, too.
Here are four ways to make sure you’re being a savvy shopper this season:
1. Download Apps
The first rule in becoming a savvy shopper is determining how much any particular item is worth. You don’t want to fail to do any homework and end up grabbing an item on impulse, especially if it turns out the same product is advertised for less elsewhere. Before you buy anything this holiday season, research the going rate for whatever it is you want to purchase.
Comparing prices to determine what you’re willing to spend can be as easy as conducting a quick online search, but with the help of your smartphone, you don’t even have to do any of the work yourself.
Apps such as ShopSavvy and RedLaser allow users to scan or search for products in an effort to find the best prices. ShopSavvy, for example, compares online as well as local prices. Download one of these apps, or one like it, on your mobile device and conduct a search before you settle on which store to shop at.
2. Price Match
Simply knowing the price each retailer is offering a specific product for is helpful, but it’s not enough if you want to be a savvy holiday shopper. If you want to do this, you’ll need to take your knowledge one step further.
Once you have price comparison information in your possession, you may opt to visit the store with the lowest advertised price. With this course of action, you can rest assured you’re getting a great deal and won’t end up regretting your purchase decision.
If you’ll be shopping somewhere else, however – or if you’re already within a different store while doing your comparison – try price matching. In price matching, customers show one retailer proof that a competing retailer is selling an identical item for less. Depending on their price-matching policy, retailers may match this lower advertised price.
Of course, before you try price matching, always remember to check the store’s policy guidelines.
3. Find Coupons
There’s a third way to make your holiday purchases merry and bright. Don’t simply settle for the price a product is being advertised for. Applying coupons or online coupon codes can help you get an even better deal.
If you’re shopping in-store, search online or look in physical ads for current coupons and discount promotions. Before you leave the house, don’t forget to print the coupons you find or bring your ad with you to ensure you’ll receive the discount.
If you’re shopping online, check for coupon codes that you can apply to your order. You’ll want to ensure the website you’re using is a reputable coupon source, though. To do this, try reading user reviews of the site.
Another way to find coupons (and coupon codes) is to sign up for the official email mailing lists of your favorite retailers. Many stores send out coupons to their loyal shoppers.
4. Find Free Shipping
So, you’ve finally found the lowest price, or what you consider to be the best deal, and you’re ready to make a purchase. If you’re buying gifts online, though, there’s one more thing to consider – shipping.
Savvy shoppers won’t pay for shipping this holiday season. Look for retailers who have great deals on shipping. If you shop online at Target, for example, you can enjoy free standard shipping on all orders (with no minimum purchase amount) from now through Dec. 20.
Other stores offer free shipping on orders of a certain amount. Best Buy, for example, is advertising free shipping on orders of $35 and up. If you find such a promotion, try to reach the designated amount to avoid paying the shipping fee. To help you reach the minimum, you may consider buying all of the items you need from the same retailer.
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