How to make the most out of 5 major shopping holidays

Have you started your holiday shopping yet? According to a survey conducted by Offers.com, 19 percent of online shoppers will be starting their shopping on Thanksgiving and continuing through Cyber Monday, a trend that is up 45 percent year over year. This year is the first where we’ve seen several retailers announcing they will not be open on Thanksgiving or Black Friday. Despite this year’s unusual twist, consumers will still be out in full force both online and in-store this shopping season.

As a consumer, you can save big if you take advantage of the deals that each major shopping holiday has to offer, rather than limiting yourself to one day. We’ve included a guide to making the most out of the five major shopping holidays below.

Thanksgiving:

There was a time where Thanksgiving existed primarily as a national day of giving thanks. Nowadays, Thanksgiving also kicks off the greatest shopping weekend of the year, a trend that has caused a lot of public outcry and media backlash. On one end of the spectrum, there are stores like Kmart that are opening as early as 6am on Thanksgiving Day. On the other end, there are stores like REI who are refusing to open at all. To take advantage of the best deals offered on Thanksgiving, we recommend spending time with your family, kicking back and watching football while shopping the late doorbuster deals online from the comfort of your now-somewhat-tighter pajamas. Shopping online will allow consumers to maximize their chances of snagging early release deals before they sell out.

Black Friday:

For some, the day after Thanksgiving is the be-all and end-all of holiday shopping. Black Friday is renowned for its sales on new-to-market items, electronics and appliances, so use this day to capitalize on these items. This year, wearables, such as FitBit, Apple Watch, and Ringly, will be making an appearance on many wish lists. You can also find great deals on large appliances on Black Friday, since Black Friday is traditionally a brick-and-mortar-store-centric shopping holiday, and consumers often prefer to shop in-store when purchasing large appliances. Look for stores offering free delivery and installation on these items to save even more time and money.

Items to avoid on Black Friday included doorbusters. When it comes to doorbusters, merchants often advertise deals that sound too good to be true and actually are. Offers.com looked on Amazon reviews for doorbusters featured last year and found that many had ratings of 3-stars or less. Don’t be fooled by companies offering these kinds of deals. Do your research online to see if those products are really worth the money. Jewelry is another one to skip until later. If you can hold off on your jewelry purchases until after Valentine’s Day, you will find the best savings.

Small Business Saturday:

Small Business Saturday was created five years ago by American Express in an effort to encourage consumers to shop at small businesses. On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, you can take advantage of local retailers offering specials and gifts you won’t be able to get anywhere else. Many stores will be offering artisan crafts, locally-grown foods, and personalized gifts. By registering your American Express credit card and shopping at participating stores you can take advantage of Amex offering statement credits for shopping on this day.

Cyber Monday:

Cyber Monday is a shopping day born from consumer’s love of online shopping and the great deals offered on Black Friday. Shoppers will be hitting the web this year in full force. Look for deals on toys, apparel and small appliances if you want to make the most of what Cyber Monday has to offer. If Black Friday is known for its electronics sales, Cyber Monday is the king of clothing. Expect site-wide sales from Kohls, JCPenney and Macy’s, where you can save on your entire purchase. Toys are also seen at heavily discounted prices on Cyber Monday, but keep in mind, if you’re in the market for the year’s hottest toy, it’s best to buy earlier during Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales to score the toy before it sells out in the preceding holiday sales.

Green Monday:

The second Monday in December paves the way for what some call another unnecessary shopping holiday, Green Monday. But hey, who are we kidding? We love the additional savings and if the retailers want to give way to more product discounts, we’re all for it. Several major retailers like Walmart, Sears and Amazon will be focusing on the use of coupons and cashback certificates. Check out Offers.com for the best in product deals, and coupon codes for Green Monday.

Bonus: Free Shipping Day:

Free Shipping Day is another consumer holiday started by online merchants trying to stay competitive. Landing on Friday, December 18 this year, Free Shipping Day is the last day for consumers to get free shipping with delivery by Christmas Eve. If you are a last-minute shopper who shops online, this is the day for you. Take advantage of retailers offering discounted shipping and additional sales to send the perfect gift right on time.

With so many consumer shopping holidays it can easily become overwhelming to find the best deal for you. The most important thing you can do to stay on task and on budget is to create a specific list with exactly what you want to spend on each item. Doing so can help you avoid falling victim to the siren song of bundle deals, point of purchase specials, or minimum spend incentives that can lead to serious overspending. Happy shopping!

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How to Make the Most Out of the 5 Major Shopping Holidays originally appeared on usnews.com



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