We here at FatWallet know a lot about shopping (some would say too much). Today we bring you nine little-known or unbelievable holiday shopping hacks. We hope these tips will give you the confidence to venture forth and conquer your holiday shopping!
#1 Beware of downgraded products
Some companies or stores will create special Black Friday versions of existing products to sell only on that day. So that amazing deal you waited in line all night for might really be a downgraded version made of poor quality materials, which is why it can be sold for a much lower price. Check previous Black Friday sale ads or listings to see if the product you want was listed in prior years. If so, it might be one of these inferior Black Friday versions.
#2 Avoid electronic accessories on Black Friday
Retailers generally sell advertised electronics, such as TVs or phones, and other big-ticket items at a loss on Black Friday. They do this just to get customers in the store in the hopes that they will also buy other products to complement their big purchases.
Retailers will sometimes jack up the prices of smaller items, such as cables, software, speakers and other accessory items, in order to make up for the lost profit from the major on sale items. So if you plan on buying something like a TV on Black Friday, consider getting the accessories either prior to or after Black Friday. Or at least research prices so you can know if you are getting ripped off on the big day.
#3 Hate lines but want Black Friday prices? Use Ebay
In recent years, the common trend has been for folks who get amazing Black Friday deals to re-list the products they just bought on Ebay at a small markup. If you think a little markup in price is worth a good night’s sleep and avoiding lines, check eBay Black Friday weekend to see what killer deals you can find.
#4 Gift card reselling is huge and getting bigger
With gift cards continuing to be the top gift the past few years, there is a fast-growing market for reselling unused or partially used gift cards that shoppers no longer want. You can pick up a card to your favorite store at a discount. This is a great way to hack your way to an even lower price on some great deals this holiday season.
#5 Even toilet paper sometimes goes on sale
Everyone thinks the holidays are for big purchases such as cars, TVs and computers; however, few think about the fact that boring old staples like toothpaste and toilet paper can sometimes go on sale during the holidays as well. These are things you will need all year round, and buying in bulk now can help save you money down the road. Consider mixing in some non-gift items this holiday season to have your wallet feeling fat (get it?) for the rest of the year!
#6 Price check faster with Amazon Flow
Amazon has this underused but great little Flow app. It lets you price check and purchase items by just taking a picture of them. This can be incredibly useful because most retailers promise to price match, and Amazon usually has the lowest price around.
#7 Completely avoid shipping costs
With retail becoming more and more competitive year after year, there is little reason for anyone to pay even a penny in shipping costs this holiday season. Many retailers waive the fees on all orders and some have low minimums like $50. Many stores also provide free in-store pick up right away or after a few days, so make sure you seek those stores out to save yourself some money this holiday season.
#8 Customer Service can give you coupons
If you have found something online you want to buy, take a few moments to call or chat with a customer service representative. Many of them have a list of coupon codes for various items that they can give or apply for you. Very few people use this hack, so take advantage while the getting is good.
#9 Fill your shopping cart with a coat or item you brought in
Shopping carts have been increasing in size as stores have learned that giving customers bigger carts tends to cause them to buy more stuff. To counter this trend, bring a winter coat or other bulky item into the store with you and then use that to take up a fourth or more of the space in your cart. This is a great way to quell your unconscious desire to buy more stuff.
What are some of your favorite money-saving shopping hacks? Comment below and let us know.
Joe Boettcher contributed to this article.