With the holiday season in full swing, many shoppers have lengthy gift lists that can get expensive, especially if they include high-ticket items. However, no matter how many recipients you’re buying for this year, it’s possible to snag deals and save big during holiday shopping. All it takes is a little research and planning. Before you know it, you’ll start amassing gifts and crossing people off your list without emptying your wallet more than necessary this holiday season.
One of the best ways to save during the holidays is entering the peak shopping season as an informed shopper. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday circulars and emails remain indispensable resources, they arrive relatively late into the season. Instead, during the weeks leading up to these major shopping events, shoppers should research last year’s holiday trends.
A quick internet search for last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals is a great starting point. Although the same products may not be on sale this year, shoppers can infer which retailers are most likely to have similar sales on specific products or product categories. Macy’s, for example, typically runs deals on premium beauty and fragrances in November and December.
Another way to stay on top of deals is by signing up for emails from retailers. Besides sharing coupons and upcoming sales events, the emails may provide exclusive restock alerts, secret sales or early access to holiday deals. Many shoppers also sign up for the BestReviews newsletter to stay on top of deals during the holidays and throughout the year.
Holidays are the ideal time to cash in on rewards programs and to rack up more points. Ulta and Kohl’s, for example, send shoppers more coupons the more they spend. Other retailers, such as Macy’s, upgrade store credit cards when shoppers spend a certain amount annually, which results in more savings or unlocks special in-store perks. Shoppers with a Sephora at Kohl’s location nearby can earn twice the rewards, as their shop-in-shop purchases count toward both Sephora’s and Kohl’s loyalty programs.
Online holiday shopping is convenient in many ways, but what shoppers gain in convenience, they concede in shipping costs. There are a few ways to save on shipping during the holidays, and sometimes, it may require some planning.
For one, shoppers can save big when they consolidate shipping. Most retailers offer free shipping once shoppers reach the minimum threshold, which is why it’s wise to put as many items in a single order as possible. Many retailers incentivize shopping early by running promotions for free shipping with no minimum purchase several weeks before Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Some shoppers cut shipping costs by leveraging free in-store or curbside pickup, available at virtually all major retailers.
Amazon Prime membership is a powerful resource for holiday shopping. Besides offering free shipping on millions of items, a Prime membership grants exclusive access to holiday sales and 30-minute early access to Lightning Deals.
An Amazon price tracker, CamelCamelCamel, spots how product prices are trending on a retailer’s website. When shoppers add any Amazon product URL into the search box, they’re able to view prices as far back as one year or more.
While it’s difficult to predict future product prices on Amazon, CamelCamelCamel helps shoppers determine whether today’s purchase is worthwhile. Older Instant Pots, for instance, may gradually trend downward. The tracker may also reveal which products are unlikely to experience major price drops, such as smart devices or video game consoles.
Amazon rolled out Epic Deals in October, an online shopping event that preempts the holiday rush. It features some of the year’s best deals on trending products and top brands. Many shoppers have jumped on the opportunity to shop early because products are available now, and shipping delays are less prevalent than expected in the coming weeks. As a bonus, most products purchased on Amazon between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 are eligible for returns until Jan. 31.
Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet: available at Amazon and Kohl’s
Ideal for entertainment on the go, this Amazon Fire tablet offers up to 12 hours of battery life and charges 30% faster than previous models.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro: available at Amazon
These earbuds are a favorite for calls and listening to music for their active noise cancellation and immersive sound. They offer quick-and-easy media navigation through onboard tap controls.
Keurig K-Supreme Coffee Maker: available at Amazon, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Home Depot, Keurig and Kohl’s
A feature-rich model, the Keurig uses Multistream technology to extract maximum flavor and aroma from K-Cups. The space-savvy design has a reservoir that you can place behind or next to the machine.
Samsonite Centric Hardside Expandable Spinner Carry-On: available at Amazon
Made by a trusted luggage brand, this carry-on has modern features like built-in TSA locks and 360-degree wheels and a scratch-resistant polycarbonate shell.
Apple Watch Series 6: available at Amazon
The Apple Watch Series 6 lets users check heart rhythm with the ECG app and measure blood-oxygen levels through an integrated wrist sensor.
iRobot Roomba i7+: available at Amazon
Users enjoy the convenience of fully customizable floor cleaning with this top-of-the-line Roomba that users can control via the iRobot app and through Alexa or Google Assistant.
Ring Video Doorbell: available at Home Depot and Kohl’s
The newest Ring Video Doorbell allows two-way communication with visitors and sends 4-second video previews when motion sensors are triggered.
Casper Original Hybrid Mattress: available at Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Casper, Macy’s and Wayfair
The best-selling Casper hybrid mattress provides targeted support and pressure relief through firm foam zones beneath the hips, waist and lower back.
Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 5300 Electric Toothbrush: available at Amazon
A popular mid-range model, this electric toothbrush has convenient features like BrushSync, a replacement reminder and QuadPacer, which encourages brushing in each quadrant.
Sony X80J 74K UHD Smart TV: available at Amazon
Movies and sports come to life on this Sony smart TV with Motionflow XR, making on-screen motion smooth and clear during fast-moving sequences.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.