6 Secrets to Saving More Online

Black Friday (Nov. 29), followed by Cyber Monday (Dec. 2), are the two biggest shopping days in the calendar. But in addition to the super deals retailers will be offering, Billshark wants you to know there are even more ways to save as you, swipe, tap, and click your way through the bargains.

1. Make a list, check it twice

It’s easy to be seduced into over-buying during the shopping frenzy, especially with such warnings as “Today only!” and “Only five left!” as well as the hourly deals flashing at you. If you know what you want ahead of time, you can resist these efforts to make you go over budget.

And don’t skim over that last word: budget. Know how much you have to spend, and shop accordingly. Pretend you’re shopping with cash; when that runs out, that’s it.

2. Check out deals in advance

Never assume that the best deals are available only on these two days. Start looking today for items on your wish list to see what they’re being offered for now. Then you’ll have a price comparison for Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals.

Or, use a browser extension like Honey or CamelCamelCamel to see the price history of the item. It may have been available for a lower price in the past, in which case the “super buy” isn’t all that super.

3. Shop for coupons

Before you begin to shop, check out any website you’re on for coupons or special deals. For example, Amazon.com/coupons has pages of them under such categories as health and personal care, grocery and gourmet, beauty, and others. They also feature warehouse and digital deals, among others. Target’s “deals” tab features clearance items, top deals, RedCard exclusives and Target Circle offers. EBay features an entire menu of deals, including on electronics, toys, travel, sporting goods, etc.

Or, if you bank online or pay bills online, check around on the website for a “special offers” tab. Many of these institutions team with other businesses to offer exclusive discounts on merchandise.

4. Ask for a discount

If you’re ready to buy something, it doesn’t hurt to ask if you can get it even cheaper. If the website you’re on has a “chat with us” function, click on it and talk to one of the customer service representatives. This may not apply to Black Friday or Cyber Monday prices, but you’ll never know unless you ask.

If you’re a regular customer, they’ll want to make you happy, and may be able to offer an unadvertised discount. If you’re new to the site, they’ll want you to return. Even if they don’t lower the price, you may be able to receive free shipping, or a coupon for a future order.

5. Walk away

If you’re a repeat customer, you may not even have to ask for a deal if you simply place an item in the shopping cart/basket, then close the window. Within a few minutes, you may see an email pop up with a message along the lines of, “We see you left something in your cart,” which will then offer an additional discount on the item.

If you’re a new customer, try proceeding to the checkout page and closing the window. If the website has an automated discount program in place, you may see a pop-up message with a discount offer.

6. Do it yourself

Because shipping costs are so high, many brick-and-mortar stores will offer you a discount if you agree to pick up the item you ordered online at one of their stores. You may also be able to get it faster than if you wait to have it shipped to your home.

Don’t want the hassle of fighting the crowds to pick it up? Call ahead; many stores will bring the item out to your car.

And if you’re looking for extra cash for your online purchases, send your bills to us. It costs you nothing to let Billshark’s professional negotiators review them. You pay only if we save you money.

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