If the mall seems a little less crowded this year, it's not your imagination. Online sales are expected to jump 15% this holiday season, which overall holiday sales are up less than 3%. Kelli Grant, Senior Consumer Reporter from SmartMoney.com tells you how to navigate the deals.
Weigh Cyber Monday deals carefully. Most analysts don't expect today's deals to be markedly different than what retailers offered last week. Don't blindly jump at a sale email. Use a comparison site like DealNews.com or PriceGrabber.com to see how prices and sales stack up against previous offers.
There are more free shipping offers this year, but also more strings. Shoppers may need to spend $100 or more to avoid that $8 shipping charge. Make sure you're not over-buying to meet the minimum.
Reassess promo codes. If there's a space at checkout for a coupon code, scour sites like RetailMeNot.com and CouponCabin.com for deals. Many sites let you use just one code per order, so check which is more valuable, free shipping or a dollar- or percentage-off deal. But sites including Old Navy and Victoria's Secret allow up to three codes, so stack up if you can.
Watch deadlines. We're still a few weeks out before most stores' December 16th order deadline for holiday delivery. But it's worth getting your orders in earlier than that. When online orders pick up, it can take sites more time to process orders. Other popular gifts may be backordered.
To get the most bang for your buck stack deals. Link to your favorite stores via a rewards portal like Ebates.com or ThankYou.com to earn cash back or points with every purchase. Then stack up store rewards programs. Pay with a credit or debit card that gives you rewards, too, to maximize earnings.
For more information on Cyber Monday and other consumer tips click here.