Holiday deals started earlier than ever this year — making it even more confusing to know when to shop for the steepest discounts.
According to a survey by online coupon site RetailMeNot, 19% of consumers will shop on Thanksgiving Day this year, and 20% say stores have even better deals on Thursday than they do on Black Friday.
As it happens, they may be on to something. RetailMeNot spokesperson Brian Hoyt says some of the steepest discounts on big-ticket items are available on Thursday.
“Consumers save more per purchase on Thursday, and the door-buster deals may be available online Thursday or in-store as well,” Hoyt said.
But that doesn’t mean you should forget about Black Friday … or Cyber Monday, either. Here are Hoyt’s top tips for finding the best deals this holiday weekend.
No. 1: Keep checking in online for offers.
“Make sure you check in morning, noon and night,” Hoyt advised. He said that many retailers are staggering deals throughout the day, especially online. By continuing to check in with your favorite stores, you may be able to score some limited time only offers.
No. 2: Take advantage of technology.
Hoyt said shoppers should download apps that will notify them of available deals and help them compare prices. RetailMeNot has its own app, for instance, which helps shoppers find deals based on their current location.
Hoyt also likes the app Red Laser, which gives shoppers the ability to scan barcodes to compare prices online, as well as Amazon’s app, for reading product reviews on-the-go.
No. 3: Shop with a category in mind.
Each day comes with its own category-specific deals, Hoyt said. On Thursday and Friday, Hoyt said shoppers have the best chance to score major deals on consumer electronics and home and garden gifts, including higher-end kitchenware and outdoor furniture.
Clothing deals are spread out throughout the five-day shopping weekend, with as much as 70% off available at some retailers starting Thursday morning.
Shoppers looking to buy bath and beauty products or jewelry should head into stores on Black Friday, while smaller-ticket items tend to be discounted on Cyber Monday. And people looking to book getaways should keep an eye out on Cyber Monday, when many online travel sites will be offering booking deals.
No. 4: Don’t forget about gift cards.
While many people buy gift cards to give to friends and family as presents, Hoyt said gift cards can also be a smart strategy for saving big. Sites like Gift Card Granny or CardPool.com allow shoppers to purchase gift cards at a discount.
“You can go and buy $100 in gift cards for 60 bucks,” Hoyt said. “And if you use those manufacturer’s gift cards, there’s often a promo code on top of that, so you can save even more money.”
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