Camping outside a big box retailer for Black Friday sales is not the smartest way to shop. While you might get a great price on some items, the savings aren't really worth the miserable long lines. Better deals can be found in the weeks following Thanksgiving weekend and even after New Year’s Day. To help you become a more strategic holiday shopper, here are five tips to help you save big and avoid any unnecessary headaches:
1. Know When Rock-Bottom Prices Hit
Contrary to popular belief, Cyber Monday actually isn’t the best time to buy TVs. Retailers typically offer the best deals in January – right before the Super Bowl – in order to clear their inventory and make room for the latest models.
2. Buy Holiday Sweaters After the Holidays
While it might be tempting to stock up on sweaters, scarves and other clothes between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the best deals actually come after December 26 when retailers are trying to make room for the new season’s styles.
3. Avoid Paying Extra for Add-Ons
Retailers might offer great discounts on cameras, but they’ll charge full price for camera bags, memory cards and tripods. To avoid these extra costs, look for coupon codes from sites like CouponCraze.com before buying any accessories.
4. Patience Is a Money-Saving Virtue
During the second week of December, many retailers will dramatically cut prices or offer free shipping incentives to hit their year-end sales goals. Take advantage, but keep in mind that this tip won’t work for any must-have holiday gifts (i.e., Tickle Me Elmo, circa 1996).
5. Flash Coupons Require Diligence
Taking a page from the Groupon and Gilt Groupe playbook, many retailers now offer coupon codes that last less than 24 hours. With less time to think about a purchase, shoppers need to diligently monitor a short list of products via store websites or e-newsletters to figure out the best time to buy.
Christian Gordun is the founder and CEO of online coupon code and deal site CouponCraze.com, which currently works with more than 11,000 leading online retailers.