If you are like me, the Christmas shopping season comes with a new challenge. Buying gifts for people in areas you aren’t familiar with can make it hard to know if you are getting the best deal on your Christmas gifts. But there is a way to find great deals on just about anything with a little searching.
Find The Best Deals On Anything
Once upon a time, you could type something like best kitchen knives into Google and hope to get some sort of list of really great kitchen knives. These days, those lists are all bought and paid for.
And those lists that show up in Google’s search lists are not the result of the best list, but rather of search engine optimization wars where various professional SEOs work to manipulate the mechanics of links and web page code to impress the Google ranking engine. In this world, that list of the best kitchen knives from the world-class chef trying to be helpful from his kitchen is likely to be buried deep in the results, behind the list promoted by a major affiliate marketer trying to get the highest commission from each sale generated by the most possible traffic.
It might be hard to find the what the best kitchen knife actually is still, but fortunately, there is a really simple way to find out if that “great price” is really a great price, the standard price, or a basic sale price.
Getting A Good Deal Means Knowing the Usual Price
Everyone has an area they are familiar with. You many know how much dishes usually cost, or camping gear, or video games, or whatever. However, there are plenty of areas you may not be familiar with. Usually, that doesn’t matter much since you wouldn’t buy much in that area. And, even if you did, then maybe you would have a friend you check in with.
But, at Christmas time, things get a little trickier. That friend who loves going camping might mention that what they would like for Christmas is a really nice camping knife. So, you start looking for camping knives and quickly start to wonder, “Which camping knife is the best?” and “Is this really how much camping knives cost?”
To find out if you are getting a good deal, the first step is to figure out what the standard pricing is. This is often deceptive.
I recently purchases a wool blanket that comes highly rated. The Pendelton twin-size, wool blanket sells, all day, every day, on the Pendelton website for $149. That didn’t stop my local Macy’s from putting it out on the shelf with a $280 price tag.
Of course, I ended up getting it from Macy’s by buying online for “50% off” along with a coupon code for just $119. In the end, I think that’s a pretty good deal, but without having researched, I might have thought something like $200 was was a good price.
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Find Great Deals with Deal Websites
So, how do you find out what a good price is?
Obviously, checking the source website, in this case Pendelton, is a good move. But, there are a couple of other websites that can help make sure the best deal you are getting really is the best deal. These websites focus on deals all over the internet and are run by deal obsessed users. If you can stand to read a few rows into the comments you’re likely to find out whether something is a good deal, and why, or why not. Just don’t get too lost. Read too far, and you’ll delve into the kind of minutiae that just isn’t worth getting lost in.
I use DealNews, GottaDeal, and SlickDeals for my primary deal research. Each of these websites has a front-page listing what they think are the best deals for that day. But, just as useful is a forum or history section that lets you search for items. That’s where the real power is.
It doesn’t matter if the deal is expired. The point is to see what deals there have been, where those deals were, and even how common they are. Maybe Bass Pro Shops puts camping knives on sale every month. Maybe the best camping knife is almost never less than $100, so you should jump on any deal you find lower than that.
Once you’ve done your research, you can shop with confidence that you really are getting a good deal.
Maximize Your Christmas Deals
Once you find great deals, it’s time to fully maximize your value. Now, take it a few steps further to really get the best Christmas shopping deals.
First, you should be buying your gifts with some sort of rewards credit card, or mileage travel credit card. Each gift purchase adds up to more cash back, or a free hotel night for you. Since you are making purchases you were already going to make anyway, this is free money.
Second, hit sites like RetailMeNot to find out if there is a coupon code you can use. Often nothing more than free shipping can add up to a nice chunk of change over an entire holiday shopping season.
Finally, check Rakuten / Ebates to see if you can get a cash back rebate. Often these rebate websites add up to just a few bucks unless you use them obsessively, but during the holiday shopping season, the rebates get a lot more generous. I’ve seen 14% cash back rebates at places you would already shop. There’s no reason not to jump in on that.
If you like, you can sign up for Rakuten/Ebates with this link and we’ll both get a little bonus for your signing up. Otherwise, head over there and do it on your own. This is the time of year that it can really be worth it.