The summer sun is only just starting to cool off but, believe it or not, it’s already time to start thinking about your holiday shopping goals. You want to score the best gifts for your friends and family, but you also don’t want to pay more than you should. With inflation on everyone’s mind and crazy markups on everything from computers to kids toys, it’s more important than ever to be on top of your deal-hunting game.
My top tip for shopping online? Install a browser extension… like, right now. My two favorites are:
All you really have to do is add the PayPal Honey extension to your desktop and savings just magically happen. It automatically discovers coupons and applies the best working ones it finds at checkout, plus, it helps you earn cash back on eligible purchases It’s fast and seamless to install, and it takes the guesswork out of finding deals. It does all the work for you, so all you have to do is shop like you normally would and watch the savings pile up.
This genius little plugin pulls Amazon product data from the historic price tracker CamelCamelCamel.com. You can instantly see what every Amazon product has sold for in the past, including deep discounts that are likely to make a return as the holiday shopping season kicks into gear. You can use this data to see if you’re actually getting a good deal, or if you should wait for prices to level off again. If you have a specific product on your mind, you can add notifications for when prices on those items drop, so you’ll be the first to know.
But What About…
If you have your eye on a big-ticket item like a new TV or computer, there are a few things you should know:
Cheap televisions are notorious on Black Friday and Cyber Monday but they’re usually rip-offs. You get huge markdowns on last year’s models or derivatives pushed out specifically for Black Friday. There are often exceptions — but they go quickly — so do your homework and sign up for an alert for the second it goes on sale! Due to a combination of both CES and the Super Bowl, January is actually the best time to find big discounts on the previous year’s TVs. Sometimes prices are even better than what you’d find during the holidays, so it can pay to wait.
Computers & Tablets
Unlike TVs, computers are often a good buy during the holidays, but be careful! Super cheap laptops and sub $100 tablets are rarely worth it. Also, note that most major retailers start their Black Friday deals earlier and earlier — and many have low-price guarantees — so if something gets marked down further you can get your money back.
Somehow, now years after launch, it’s still hard to find the latest and greatest video game consoles like the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. Your best bet here? Follow dedicated Twitter accounts and turn on notifications when they tweet: MattSwider and PS5StockAlerts are two of the best, and they’ll tweet out when new consoles pop up at online retailers.
If you end up buying from BestBuy, Walmart, or another big box store, there’s typically a queue system to prevent bots from snagging the products instead of people. You need to sign up for accounts in advance — and download their mobile apps — so that the minute you get notified of the drop, you’re just a few taps away from snagging the console.