It is that time of year again where people are free to shop as much as they want and however long they want.
Provided they have the money of course.
The simple truth is that it is very hard to avoid the shopping season.
And it is highly likely that the reader of this guide is on the look-out for items in the form of gifts for family and friends in the next couple of weeks.
In order to limit the extent of damage that this shopping season would cause to one’s bank balance, the reader would, of course, want to know how to get about his/her business in as cheap a way as possible.
However, the problem with achieving that goal is that very few online consumers have the ability and the knowledge to spot genuine and legit discounts from mountains and mountains of marketing tricks.
Moreover, readers should also think about whether they really know if a bargain that is presented to them is a bargain at all.
This is why we have put our heads together to collect some of the best tips and a few tools for the upcoming holiday shopping season in order to help our readers get the best deal.
One reality that readers have to come to grips with from the beginning is that retailers have this tendency to apply the biggest discounts on those kinds of goods that they are the keenest on getting rid of.
In other words, the biggest discount on a given item doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the best value or the best deal for the person buying that deal.
However, if readers just take a little bit more time and effort to browse intelligently, they can make sure that they come out of the holiday shopping season with purchases that are not only as cheap as humanly possible and, in reality, are worth going after.
The first step is to check the price history of the product in question
Okay, so you have set your eyes firmly on that shiny, new and lightweight gadget that is $75 off on a given day.
But what if the same gadget was $175 off a day before?
In other words, you need to think about the discount that a given merchant might have quoted relative to the item’s original and initial selling price.
The original price might even come from 12 months ago or even earlier.
Then there are other questions to consider such as whether or not the price of the product has been stable for at least the past six months.
To put it another way, you need to check right through the given product’s price history as that can really help you in the end to answers all the questions that we have mentioned above.
For such an activity the tool that you should definitely make use of is CamelCamelCamel.
Our research shows that it is a great resource for anyone and everyone to turn to in order to track prices on Amazon.
All that the user has to do is to plug in the exact and official Amazon URL and/or the related keywords and then see CamelCamelCamel work its magic to show the user how the given product’s price has actually varied over the last,
- 12 months
- 6 months
- 3 months
- 1 month
Moreover, CamelCamelCamel also allows users to check the prices from various other third-party retailers as well.
Our research shows that CamelCamelCamel is definitely worth a check for all of you who are looking to buy stuff from Amazon.
CamelCamelCamel is perhaps the least effort-requiring way to see if any of the current discounts on the product is, in reality, that unusual.
CamelCamelCamel official website also has the ability to send you timely alerts on various price drops associated with specific items.
It does that so that those of us who have put in the time to organize their shopping well in advance have the ability to wait for the precise right moment to go ahead and make the purchase.
Another amazing product to track Amazon prices is Keepa.
It is pretty simple to make use of.
And almost as easy as CamelCamelCamel to operate.
All that you have to do is to type in what exactly is it that you are looking for.
After that, you have the opportunity to see the given product’s price history.
The longest period that you can go back in time in terms of the product’s price is a year.
That, understandably, should enable you to assess the present ‘big’ discount more appropriately.
Of course, there is also an option for readers to sign up for the service’s email alerts so that the service can inform them of a particular product that has gone a recent price drop.
Now, the thing we want you to understand is that, actions such as tracking the historical pricing of the product is not really possible anywhere else other than Amazon.
Well, presumably because the majority of the online retailers today make it very hard for anyone to get a hold of their data.
With that said, it is true that services such as CheckAFlip can become very helpful for shoppers who want to know more about a given product.
What does CheckAFlip do?
The main job of this service is to scour eBay in order to find and report the current average price (that is, the selling price) of a given product and also the current average bidding price of that same product that you are interested in.
Now, you should understand here that the prices which CheckAFlip shows you are not really that precise.
Why are they not precise?
They are not precise because CheckAFlip does not make the effort to take into account all the specific conditions of a given item or product.
It doesn’t take into account if there are bundled accessories either.
There are lots of other specifics and information about a given product that CheckAFlip does not incorporate into the results that it shows.
Nevertheless, CheckAFlip does a decent enough job to give the reader an idea (and a decent one) of exactly how much a given item is currently selling for in brand new condition and/or second-hand.
The service also gives the user a feel for how much scarce or in-demand a given item really is.
You should know that if the prices of a given product are stagnating and/or dropping then there is probably a very good reason why that is.
Learn to put the web browser to work
What do we mean by that?
We mean that you should have already installed a number of good web browser extensions from a whole bunch of them which are available for everyone to check and compare product prices all over the web.
In other words, you do not really need to click that big buy button in order to purchase a given gadget for $50 off the regular price if you can purchase the same device with $100 off the regular price on some other website.
Of course, some of you may have the time and the stamina to do all of these comparisons manually by checking different sites.
But we want you to know that there are many tools to help you in this regard.
Our research shows that one of the most useful and most well-known tools to help readers just like you is the called InvisibleHand.
Currently, it has support for web browsers such as,
What does it do?
Well, we’ll explain that by telling you how to use it.
Just move around and visit any given product page that you are interested in on any given popular online retailer with the extension installed and see how InvisibleHand pops up with a banner that gives you advice if it has managed to find the exact same product but only for cheaper on some other site.
By using this extension users do not really have to pay any more money for the product that they are interested in more than they absolutely need to.
Of course, how can we not mention ShopSavvy here?
We’ll be the first ones to admit that ShopSavvy is slightly more bare bones when compared to something like InvisibleHand.
However, it works in a pretty much similar way.
All that you have to do in order to take advantage of this extension is to start shopping as you would do under normal circumstances and ShopSavvy (if you have installed the service’s Chrome web extension) would pop up its message on your screen to inform you if the same given item is available for someone to come and take away for a lesser price.
Our research shows that ShopSavvy is pretty useful on the go as well.
It offers users free applications for both the iOS and Android platforms.
Click here to get the official ShopSavvy Android app.
Click here to get the official ShopSavvy iOS app.
There is also Honey.
Honey really isn’t a service for users who want to compare prices.
However, it does have the ability to hunt for all the relevant discount coupons and codes for any item that you are interested in purchasing.
The other great thing about Honey is that it goes ahead and applies the discount or savings code automatically.
In this way, you get to save time and see the final discounted price right away.
Conveniently enough, Honey also offers you its plug-ins for all mainstream browsers such as,
- Microsoft Edge
- Apple Safari
- Mozilla Firefox
- Google Chrome
Another option that we would like to mention here is PriceGrabber which doesn’t actually offer users a web browser extension but is still worth checking out for the simple reason that it can show you whether or not the discounted price that you are currently having a look at an online store is really a bargain or not.
All that you have to do in order to use the service is to plug in the exact name of the product that you are interested in by using the service’s search box and then see the service do its thing to show you the price as well as the availability of that product across a multiple number of e-commerce sites such as Amazon and Walmart.
Now, it would be biased of us to not mention Google Shopping in the same vein.
We are inclined towards the view that Google Shopping still remains as one of the best ways for users to compare the current prices of different products across the entirety of the web.
We’ll give you the benefit of the doubt when it comes to Google Shopping for the simple reason that the service does not have the most user-friendly or intuitive web portal that we have ever managed to come across.
However, the thing is, Google Shopping covers a really wide range of online retailers.
Moreover, it can prove itself as invaluable in actually making sure that you do not ever have to pay over the odds for any given online product even when that product comes with a discount.
All that you have to do in order to take advantage of the service is to type up the name of the product that you want to shop for and after that make use of all the filters which are present on the left-hand side of the screen if there is a need for it.
Don’t forget to do proper research before the purchase
When it comes to certain kinds of technology products, not least among them laptops and smartphone devices, it actually pays a lot to go ahead and do a tiny bit of research on the product that you are interested in and are looking at.
The first question about any of these technology products should be along the lines of when was the first time the gadget initially hit the consumer market.
Moreover, the other question that readers need to answer is when is the given product’s replacement likely to hit the consumer market as well?
Other questions could include how does the product in question stack up in terms of specs and user interface and software against other relevant devices which are from the same family and in the same price range.
If you answer such questions comprehensively then there is a high chance that you would avoid paying over the odds for a technology product that maybe getting a bit too dated or even a product that is close to becoming absolutely obsolete.
This is where we have to inform our readers that online retailers generally have a soft spot when it comes to slapping huge discounts on all such goods that fall in the two scenarios we have mentioned above.
What you need to understand here is that, even though online retailers are not exactly lying when they use bigger and bolder fonts to draw your attention to the amount of cash that you might save on the given product’s original price, the better way forward is to think in terms of value for money.
This is where you may find that the proposition in front you may not actually be as good as it seemed the first time you glanced at it.
We’re not saying this is science or something but our experience tells us that this technique works way better with technology products rather than general products.
However, it is still a very good idea to spend a couple of minutes or more in searching the web and analyze the given product closely.
These minutes could pay off in the near future quite literally.
To take an instance, for all the online listings that you regularly go to, always check how old most of the earliest reviews of the product you are interested in are.
The earliest reviews can help you to figure out the rough estimate of the age of the product that you want to buy.
Also, don’t forget to double-check all the specs that the product claims to have.
The interesting thing about gadgets such as laptops and phones is that they tend to come in a good variety of different configurations.
In other words, the same model of a given laptop and phone could have a different,
Hence, you should always make sure that some site is not pointing you towards the device that is actually underpowered while trying to cover this fact up with a ‘one in a lifetime’ juicy discount.
Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong about purchasing entry-level laptops and phones.
Specifications of any given device should always be given importance in terms of the need of that device.
So depending on the things that you want to accomplish with your new gadget, the specifications should change.
The point that we want to make here is that you should always have enough knowledge and awareness of the device and/or gadget that you are about to purchase.
There are those cases as well (examples include televisions and other such electronic devices) where you have no choice but to work and make your way right through a ton of model numbers.
This is where you should pay a lot of attention to all the relevant items boxes that are present on the retailer’s website.
Doing this ensures that you are not actually missing out on a newer or slightly better model of the same product.
We are aware of the fact that sometimes the need to purchase gifts for all family and friends can actually put a significant amount of pressure on the purchaser.
Shopping is difficult after all.
However, if you are only purchasing products for yourself then never hesitate to wait for an extra 12 months for the things that you want.
Once an item goes through a discount it is very unlikely for that item to go back all the way up to its original full price.
The waiting game is a better approach since newer products also get extra discounts from time to time.
Technology products always go down in their prices as time goes by.
So the rule of thumb here is that the longer the user waits, the better prices you will have to pay
Even some of the state-of-the-art cutting-edge technology products such as iPhones have to go through a discount after the passing of a single year.