If you're like me, you hate shopping on Black Friday.
Fortunately, the day after Thanksgiving isn't the only time to get big discounts on the top electronics. Retailers routinely offer great deals in the days before and after Black Friday, and the special offers tend to get better the closer we get to Christmas. According to Consumer Reports, the best time to shop for deals is actually after Cyber Monday and before December 13. However, Decide says the week before Christmas is actually the best time to get deals. So either way, the longer you wait, the better the deals become (although availability and delivery will get more difficult).
For those of us who aren't willing to wait outside of a store at 4 a.m. or be jostled by aggressive shoppers in a crowded aisle, here are several ways you can still save big on tech:
- Visit CyberMonday.com - The official website of Cyber Monday is actually available any day of the year. During the holiday season, this is a great site to check out - it's an online shopping mall that compiles all of the offers and deals from over 800 major retailers, making it a lot easier to shop and compare. The site is owned and managed by Shop.org, the National Retail Federation's digital retail division.
- Price Comparison Search Engines - Go even further by using dedicated shopping search engines like PriceGrabber, NexTag or Shopzilla to find the best deals on the web.
- Online Price Tracker - The pricing of electronics, computers and other gadgets can change over the year, but during the holiday season this fluctuation goes into overdrive. A great way to tell if you've really found a killer deal on Amazon is by using an online price tracker, like CamelCamelCamel, PriceZombie or SlickDeals' Price Tracker, which provides either historic or short-term price tracking and sends you alerts when a particular item is available at the price you want. For gamers, another price tracker to keep in mind is CheapShark.
- Digital Shopping Assistant - Another way to save is by using web browser add-ons like PriceBlink and InvisibleHand, which instantly check the web for better offers on each product you search. For instance, say you're looking for a flat-screen TV on Target.com: as soon as you land on the product page, these add-ons will suddenly show you alternate deals on the exact same product at other retailers. If you can't wait for historically low pricing on a gift (using the price trackers above), these shopping assistants are a good option.
- Barcode Scanners - Eventually, you'll probably have to make your way into an actual, physical store. When you do, make sure your phone is armed with a barcode and QR code scanner app like eBay's RedLaser, ScanLife, Quick Scan, ShopSavvy, Purchx and more.
- Local Deal Trackers - Keep an eye on local sales with apps like Shopular and RetailMeNot. These apps will monitor stores in your area and send push notifications to your phone when they spot a deal.
- Big Box Apps - Don't forget that many big box retailers also provide their own mobile apps to help you save money. Two worth noting are Target's Cartwheel app, which makes it easy to take advantage of discounts and coupons offered in-store, and Walmart's Savings Catcher, which automatically price matches your Walmart purchase and refunds you directly if it finds a cheaper deal somewhere else.
It's easier than ever to save money when you shop online or in the store. But you have to be proactive - don't just settle for the price a retailer gives you. Use the many available websites, web browser add-ons and mobile apps (the list above is just the tip of the iceberg) to chisel down the price on the items you're hunting for. These services are all easy to use, and in most cases free too, so there's no reason not to make them a regular part of your shopping routine.