Holiday shopping is something of a competitive sport in the United States — even if you’re only competing against the last price you saw.
We all spend more during the holiday shopping season, but that doesn’t mean we want to. In fact, many of us look for ways to limit the damage to our bank accounts. One way to keep your spending under control during the holiday shopping season is to price match to find the best deals.
If you want to make sure you are getting the best price, here are nine price matching tools that will help you win at competitive holiday shopping this year:
1. Price Matching Guarantee
The first price matching tool in your arsenal is the “price match guarantee.” Many stores offer these guarantees to prevent you from bringing back an item, getting a refund, and then re-purchasing it at a lower price — perhaps somewhere else. Often, it’s easier (and cheaper) for the store to just refund you the difference. Many retailers are also willing to price match competitors’ items.
Lowe’s and Home Depot will even tack on an extra 10 percent if you find a lower price elsewhere. Plus, there’s no need to engage in “showrooming” if you shop at Best Buy and Target; they’ll match Amazon.com’s prices.
Read the fine print and make sure you understand the terms of the price match guarantee before you implement it.
2. Credit Cards
As we reported earlier this month, some credit cards offer price protection? If you find the same item for a lower price, it’s possible to get a refund of the difference from your credit card issuer. Chase Freedom and a number of the Citi credit cards come with price protection. As long as you meet the requirements (save your receipts and send in the printed ads showing lower prices), your credit card issuer might be willing to cover the difference between what you paid and what you could have paid.
You can find the best deals from your favorite retailers with the help of RedLaser. You can coordinate your deal-seeking with loyalty cards as well. Scan in your loyalty card, and you can use it while you shop and RedLaser finds great deals in these stores. This helps you save money and seamlessly earn more rewards through loyalty programs.
Become the savviest shopper you know with this app. Scan the barcode, or search by typing in the name of the item. ShopSavvy will pull up various prices from around the web, as well as show you where the item is available near you. If you don’t want to wait for shipping, you can get directions to the appropriate store.
If you are willing to keep you credit card info in the app, you can even pay for the item from your mobile device.
5. Amazon Price Check
Want to know if you could save money by shopping with Amazon? You can use the barcode or take a picture of the item and Amazon will pull it up. Price Check is always learning, too, and you can add in-store prices so that Amazon has an idea of how to stay competitive with its own price-matching efforts. If you are shopping at a store willing to match online retailers, you can show the manager the online price and pay less without the hassle of shipping.
With Milo, it’s all about proximity. You can find product availability and price information for items at stores close to you. Not only that, but you can also quickly see reviews and rankings so that you know if you are truly getting good value for your money. Once you decide where you want to shop, Milo will give you driving directions to the closest, best deal.
Earn rebates and gift cards while finding the best deals. Smoopa helps you compare in-store and online prices, and it helps you earn rewards at the same time. As long as you spend on items you planned to buy anyway, this tool can help you keep a little more of your money and earn a little bit on the side. You can choose to redeem your rewards in the form of a rebate or a gift card, or you can donate your rewards to a worthy cause.
Get the best offers online and in-store with the help of PriceGrabber. Not only does PriceGrabber help you compare what’s available online and offline, but it also gives you access to daily deal sites. You can see whether there is a Groupon or Living Social deal on the item in question.
Do you already have an idea of what you’re willing to pay for an item? If so, use ShopAdvisor to keep you apprised of the changing prices. Not only can you track price changes and figure out where the best deal can be found, but you can also create an alert that lets you know when the price has fallen far enough that you are willing to pay for it.