Friday, November 13, 2015

5 Ways to Score Shopping this Holiday Season

Most of you know, if frequent readers, that I love a good deal (and free shipping).  I will price watch, coupon hunt, and sale stalk almost anything I'm looking to buy.  Since the shopping holiday season is in full swing, I thought I'd share some of the ways I make sure I'm getting the best deal.

(I'm sure most of this isn't groundbreaking for any saavy shopper out there, but hopefully one of these things is a reminder or new to you!)

#1 - Ebates.

For the love of Ebates people!  If you haven't heard me wax poetic about Ebates before this must be your first time to my blog.  It's literally FREE MONEY!  I will purposely buy things online and not in store to be able to get the cash back through Ebates.  Nordstrom offers free shipping, so instead of buying in store... go to the store, try on your fancy shoes, stylin dress, or trendy make up and then order it from home using the Ebates platform first.

It's simple, you go to their website, find the retailer you want to shop, and click it.  It will redirect you to the website and track your purchase, giving you the specified cash back on your purchase.  Even better...

DOWNLOAD the app.  Ebates has an app so if you want, buy something from the very dressing room you are trying something on!  Scan the bar code and see all the price comparisons so you can get the best deal.  Bored while sitting in the carline at school pick up, shop while you wait.

Don't forget to check Ebates before any online purchase you make.  You'll be surprised some of the retailers they include, it's not just standard retailers like Gap, Old Navy, J.Crew,  Sephora etc.  Booking a vacation?  Travelocity, Expedia, and Priceline and multiple national hotel chains offer upwards to 10% cashback.  That's a lot of free money back in your pocket for booking a trip you would have regardless.

Groupon, FTD Flowers, Etsy, Staples, Disney Store, Target, Amazon, Overstock, and Tiny Prints are all examples of sites that will refund you a portion of your sale.  The best way to remember to use Ebates is to install the widget on your browser.  This "Cash Back" button will live in your Chrome, Safari, or Firefox browser as a small icon similar to a Pinterest widget near your menu bar.  When you visit any site that offers cash back through Ebates, the widget will provide a pop-up asking you to activate your Ebates session guaranteeing you don't forget to use the site first.  On top of that, it will apply coupon codes at your checkout to get you the best deal.

Okay, love letter over.  If you don't use it yet, I hope you do now!  Sign up here for an account!

2 - Amazon.

Obviously, everyone loves the A to Z retailer.  A few things to note if you weren't doing it yet.... The amazon app.  Similar to the Ebates app above, you can scan barcodes to price compare.  I will scan toys, books, blenders you name it, while out shopping to see if I can get it on Amazon for cheaper, not to mention use my Prime membership for Free 2-Day shipping.  If it's something I can't wait for to be shipped, but I'm shopping at store that offers price matching, then I'll take the app to checkout and show the sales associate the better price (FYI, do this for books purchased at Target... they are never on sale there and they will price match!).  This is good to remember for last minute birthday presents, not that I've done that multiple times.  Oops.

Also, I mention it frequently, but using will help you price watch and show you price histories for any item offered on Amazon.  You can set up individual alerts or even import your entire Amazon wishlist to your camelcamelcamel account and receive emails when the item's price drops below your designated desired price.  This is great for big ticket items you might not need, but will eventually want....

And lastly, especially with Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up, be sure to continuously check Amazon's daily and lightning deals.  You can sign up for daily email alerts so you can see what's in store.

3 -  

This is pretty much the number one way I "window shop" online.  If I was in the market for new running shoes, a holiday dress for the girls, or backpack for the husband, I go to and type in directly what I'm looking for, such as, "suede booties".

Then I can further refine my search by selecting my size, price range, and color(s) from the sidebar.  I can even narrow it down to items on sale, free shipping, or special offers and coupon codes.  I love that it allows me to browse all my options, instead of just all my options at one specific store.

Or if I'm looking for a gift, say a duffle bag for the husband, I can compare all the options of item I want, and prices across various retailers all in one spot.  Typically from here, I click the item I want and then use the Ebates Cash Back button once at the website I'm going to shop from.   I can also 'like' favorite items by highlighting the heart or set sale alerts to be emailed when an item goes on sale.  And again like everything else, I use the shopstyle app on my phone.  I get push notifications of when items go on sale which is nice so I don't miss out on say a one day deal on Hanna Anderson pajamas (which happened two weeks ago).

4 - Coupon Codes

Even though Ebates usually has a handful of the most popular coupon codes, think free shipping or daily deal codes like "DEAL" for the Gap, I still like to do a separate search for more elusive codes to stack.  RetailMeNot always is a sure bet, but don't forget to check out retailers' social media accounts, especially smaller businesses.  Between codes shared on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you could save an unexpected 15% or BOGO deals.  It's always worth checking before clicking the "purchase" button.  If the company is small Etsy business, make sure to read the shop header or any linked shop blog for promotion codes.  Of course a flat out "XYZ promo code" google searches can always turn up something too, or look for special blogger codes.  When companies partner up with bloggers for giveaways or sponsored posts, a lot of times, coupon codes are shared as well so hunting those down doesn't hurt either.

5 - Emails

This is a combination of your typical spam and specific deal sites.  Of course, most retailers want to market you and ask you to sign up for emails with a pop up within seconds of arriving to their site.  A lot of times these sign ups will offer a 10% or more code for you, if a first time shopper.  The emails can be annoying, so directing them to a folder specifically for shopping or promotions is the best way to go if you don't want them going directly to your spam where you won't see them.  Of course the goal of these emails is to catch you with the sales and get you shopping more, but when you are really in need of something or planning on shopping (like this holiday season) it's great to see what the daily deals and special coupon codes are before stumbling around looking for any random gift on the internet.

Second, is signing up for newsletters from blogs that directly relate to sale shopping.  I love Mint Arrow (for baby and clothing), Copy Cat Chic (for furniture and decor), The Look 4 Less (clothing/style), The Chloe Conspiracy - See Chloe Shop (big list of daily deals all in one place), and Hip2Save (aka Jill's Steals and Deals from the Today Show)- amongst a million other sites that post similar updates.  Between the coupon codes, specific items that have hit an all time low, knock offs and lookalikes, these sites can really help you save.  And don't forget to keep an eye out for Pre-Black Friday and Cyber Monday deal alerts so you can plan your list before you shop (and over spend).

Tell me, was any of this new to you?  Do you have any sale shopping tips I didn't mention, please share below!

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