Tips and tricks to shop smart this holiday season

Posted at 8:59 AM, Nov 26, 2018

Many of us are already on the hunt for the best deals on quality products now that we're less than a month away from Christmas.

But certain store policies, like price matching, may be off the table during the height of the holidays.

Price-matching is normally a given in many major stores, but some are putting a pause on this practice during the height of the holiday shopping crunch. Several big chains are posting their exclusions online, but you have to do a little digging to know price matching isn’t an option.

“You want to make sure you know that ahead of time and you look around in advance before you actually make your purchase to make sure you're getting the lowest price,” explained Kimberly Palmer with Nerdwallet. 

Palmer says there are other ways to save, like using sites such as camelcamelcamel, which tracks prices on Amazon and sends price drop alerts or through apps that help you bargain shop in actual stores. 

She also suggests 'Shop Savvy'. 

“With that app, you can actually scan the barcodes of items when you're in stores and it will tell you if there's a lower price at another nearby store,” Palmer said. 

When you do see a deal, Palmer suggests you take a very close look at the product offered at that low, low price, “A big concern around the holidays is something we call derivative products. If you have your eye on a specific television, for example, you want to make sure that it's up to the standard that you're expecting, and it's not a cheaper version of what you intended to buy.” 

And if you get home and have a problem with what you bought, don’t feel like you have to march back into the store for customer service, or sit on hold for an eternity.

These days, you can tweet or text them!  

“Texting is a really good option when you want to complain to a retailer, ask for a refund,” Palmer explained. 

Something to be careful about... shipping alerts. 

“Fraudsters will imitate what looks like a shipping notification to entice you to click on it. But it's actually sending you to a fraudulent site.”  

Make sure to look at the sender’s email address to be sure it’s actually from the company. And one final tip from Palmer: rebates.

“The tricky thing with rebates is that it often takes a lot of time to actually get that money back.” 

Palmer suggests asking yourself whether you're really going to do the work to get that money back. 

If you know you aren't the kind of person to follow through, don't consider those deals when you comparison shop.