A Lazy Mom's Guide to Holiday Shopping Online

Dollars & Sense on 11.18.12
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Photo: Robert Banh/ Creative Commons

Overheard: 11-year-old, Chet, to 6-year-old, Maia, “Come into my room. I’m having a Black Friday sale. If you buy one GoGo, you get one for free…only today.”

With three kids writing extensive lists to Santa, I am busy searching for deals. The idea of Black Friday sales appeal to me, but I am not willing to get out of bed before the sun rises to stand in line. So I’m online deal hunting.

Here are 10 tips to help you search for deals online this holiday season.

1. Bookmark and check websites that organize and present Cyber Monday deals like www.CyberMonday.com.

2. Look for Black Friday deals in circulars and on websites like www.blackfriday.com. Last year, my dad set out for Best Buy pre-dawn and came home empty-handed, while I logged in at midnight and snagged a deal. I’d seen the laptop I wanted in a newspaper circular, which did not indicate whether or not the sale price would be offered online. 

3. Track prices on the computer. Enter the name of a product into a free website like http://www.pricepinx.com/ or http://zingsale.com/. These sites will send you an email when the price dips below a certain amount.

4. Clip coupons. Check circulars from the newspaper and coupon websites like www.FatWallet.com frequently. They present coupon codes organized by category or retailer. If you are planning to spend one hundred dollars or more at any retailer (like a sporting goods or a toy store), you can often find a code for twenty dollars off and free shipping.   

5. Check for ballpark prices on websites like www.amazon.com, which offer free shipping on purchases over twenty-five dollars. If you don’t mind buying merchandise through a third party, check the price on www.ebay.com. Many sellers offer products that are new-in-the-box.    

6. Compare prices online using www.nextag.com. This website allows you to enter the name of the product to get the current prices on a number of different websites.

7. Narrow your search using www.decide.com. If you don’t yet know which product you want, this site allows you to compare electronics and appliances (like a camera, tablet computer or a dishwasher), offering product reviews, ratings and prices.

8. Take advantage of cashback offers when you make purchases using your credit card. Many credit card companies offer 5% cashback bonuses when you buy from certain retailers (you must use the link on your credit card website).

9. For lists of age appropriate gift ideas, check websites like www.MightyGoods.com and www.FindGift.com. You'll find popular items according to age, gender and occasion.  

10. Consider shifting your large retailer purchases to a single website like www.shop.com, which offers cashback for purchases made through their website, personal shopping assistance and cashback rewards for referrals of friends.   

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