Monday, December 17, 2018

Last-Minute Online Shopping Tips

Since you are likely to spend around 40% of your holiday budget online you will want to be strategic with your e-commerce. Using a combination of the tricks in this article will help you get more for your holiday dollars.
Get the Lowest Base Price
The most obvious way to save on holiday shopping is to avoid impulse buys.  Start by making a list of the gifts you know you want to buy. 
Comparison-shop with or InvisibleHand, which is a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari that automatically scours the web for the lowest price on any item you’re looking at.

Also set up email alerts Moolah gives you the best links which let you know immediately when an item’s price drops.  You can search products on the site or get a browser plug-in (for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox) that also shows the three-month price history of any product on any retailer’s site as you’re viewing it.

Knowing the price history of a product can help you cut through 

some of the “buy now!” hype and decide when to pull the trigger.
Go Through the Right Door
Websites like or offer cash back for shopping certain retailers so long as you enter those online stores via the cash-back portal.  The best part about these sites is that you can also add coupon codes and other discounts to your purchases.  These sites’ agreements with retailers rotate.  Check a few to see which is offering the best payout for where you’re shopping.
Similar offers Through Your Credit Cards  
Discover, for example, has hundreds of retailers in its ShopDiscover program, which offers 5% to 15% cash back if you click through Discover’s site to the retailer.  Find out if your card issuer offers a shopping portal, then add it to the rotation of rebate sites to check.
Find the Best Coupons
You know that you should go to sites like and to search for coupon codes before making any purchase. But sometimes fatigue sets in after you try five or six codes that don’t work, and sometimes you simply forget to check at all, right?  That’s why the smartest shoppers automate their coupon clipping, says Kyle James, founder of Use’s coupons at Checkout extension—available for Chrome, Safari, Firefox at

To find some of the best-unpublished codes and private sales, you might also sign up for email lists or loyalty cards from the stores and brands you know you’ll shop this holiday. “A lot of places will invite everyone on the email list to a sale not otherwise advertised,” says Cook of
Also, you might follow the brands and retailers you’re planning to buy from on Facebook and Twitter, says Mark LoCastro of  Cole Haan, for example, recently tweeted a 30% friends-and-family discount.  Just be aware that discounts through these channels tend to be better because of what you give up: your contact info and personal data, which retailers will use to market to you in the future.
Pick the Right Kind of Plastic
If you’re not going through a specific credit card’s shopping portal, choose the card to use based on the rewards you’ll get. Two are particularly profitable for holiday shoppers—and neither has an annual fee.  Chase Freedom gives a hefty 5% cash back on department stores and at and Amazon through the end of the year.  Discover It pays 5% on online shopping and department stores for the same period.  Just pay the bill off on time so that interest charges don’t erase the rewards.

Save on Shipping
Retailers are generally raising the minimum you need to spend to qualify for free shipping, but there are still ways to avoid paying for delivery.  Target, for example, is waiving shipping fees on all orders through Dec. 20.  And there may be more promos like this during the competitive holiday season.  Look for codes at
See if your favorite retailer will give you a break on shipping if you check out through its mobile app (as Tory Burch and Sierra Trading Post do) or if you join the loyalty program (like Best Buy and Sperry Top-Sider do).  Also, know that if you have an American Express card, you can get a membership to ShopRunner—which offers free two-day shipping from more than 100 e-tailers which normally costs $79—for free.
Try for a Last-Ditch Deal
Don’t hit that purchase button just yet!  Load up your cart, start the checkout process by entering your credit card and shipping info, and then close your window. Retailers hate this.  Desperate to convert potential sales into actual ones, stores will often send emails with additional discounts to entice those who have not finalized a purchase to do so. Of course, this works only if you’re not in a rush.  But it works especially well if you are spending a lot.  They want that sale.
Didn’t work or don’t have time to wait?  Before you finish checking out, ping a customer-service rep through live chat or by phone.  “Ask if they can offer you free shipping or a discount,” says James of, who has had luck with this strategy at Foot Locker, J. Jill, Lands’ End, and Shutterfly.  “Say, ‘I really want to finish my order, but this is a little more than I can spend.’  It never hurts to ask.”
Get an Adjustment

Save your receipts and don’t turn off the price alerts.  Some retailers—­including­—will give you a price adjustment if the price drops after you buy.  And if the site won’t do it, the credit card you used might.  Citi Price Rewind and any Discover or MasterCard offer price-protection programs.  Check your card’s terms.  Discover will give you a refund for any price change within 90 days so you could benefit from deep after-Christmas discounts.  This should make your new year a little happier : )



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