Thanksgiving’s over, and we already missed Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Unless there’s some other super-cool weekday name still in store over the next few weeks, your only bet for saving tons of money this holiday season is to shop smart.
Luckily for any late shopper, with a bit of Web-savvy, you can find some incredible gifts without spending a lot of cash. For me, a broke college student who needs to buy his parents something that’ll convince them to keep paying his tuition, that’s pretty crucial. Thanks to Secret Santa gifts, my family, my girlfriend, and everyone else on my list, I’ve had to do some digging to find out how to save every last penny.
So, instead of keeping all my findings and savings to myself, I’ll share a few.
Personally, my shopping tends to start and end online. Amazon and others ship for free if you buy enough, and in my experience the Web tends to have the best prices on everything. If you’re buying online (which I highly recommend), make sure you’re on the right sites. If you’re buying anything technology-related, your best bet is Newegg. For shoes and clothes, Zappos is a winner. Regardless of what you’re buying, don’t just stick with Amazon—even places like eBay and Craigslist have a surprising number of new things at discounted prices.
If you live in a big city, one of the best things you can do is join the Groupon mailing list. Groupon sends out, every day, a great coupon for something in your city – it could be food, or a spa day, or some fun activity. An amazing gift, and they’re all cheap. Like, “maybe this isn’t real” cheap. Groupon’s legit, though, and it’s an awesome place to buy gifts for anyone – just keep tabs on the daily deals.
Like the Brick and Mortar?
If you’re going to go into a store, don’t be without coupons. Only problem is, coupons seem to always go the way of…things that end up in my trash can. So instead of becoming a coupon-clipping cat lady, go to RetailMeNot. RetailMeNot has coupons from more than 20,000 stores, both online and actual stores. You can print some coupons, mention some at the counter, and generally save a ton of money with a couple minutes of searching before you head out.
Have you seen those monster-sized envelopes of coupons you get in the mail every one in a while, from a company called ValPak? Well, they’ve got a website, too, and it’s a whole lot more useful than the big mailers they send. Enter in your zip code at ValPak, and you’ll get a huge list of coupons and deals in your area, wherever it may be. The deals are for everything from cleaning services (for Mom, maybe?) to plumbing (please don’t get anyone plumbing as a gift) to classy dinner deals (okay, now we’re getting somewhere).
Once you’re in the store, the opportunity to shop smart doesn’t end. If you text AMAZON (262966) the name of a product (like iPod Touch 32GB), you’ll get back the price of that product at Amazon, as well as an easy way to buy something if the deal is right – right from a text message.
If you’re set on what you’re buying, you should at least make sure you’re getting the best deal. To do that, call 1-888-DO-FRUCALL (363-7822), or shoot off a text message to FRU11 (37811) with the bar code or name of the product you’re buying. Frucall, a great service, scours the Web looking for stores selling that item, and then reports back to you with prices, user reviews, and more – you can even buy the item on the spot from wherever it’s cheapest…scary for impulse buyers, great for bargain-hunters.
Shopping for your friends, family, and people you want to give you A’s doesn’t mean you have to choose between going broke and giving gifts that involve glued macaroni. With a little bit of effort, you’ll find great gifts at even better deals, for everyone on your list. Spend like Scrooge, but give like Santa.
How are you saving some coin this holiday season?