Missed out on the deal you were hoping to grab on Black Friday or Cyber Monday? Good news! You still have time to save. But to save the most money, you'll have to be surgical in your shopping.
While retailers will be offering an endless line of sales between now and the end of the year, there are select days when you're more likely to find the lowest prices. And they vary, depending on what you're looking for.
Coupon-centric Website Rather-Be-Shopping looked at pricing patterns and coupon offers for the past eight years to model the sales patterns of retailers - and found that there are specific days in December when you're more likely to save a few bucks.
The sweet spot, overall, is in the middle of the month. Dec. 16-18 is your next big window of opportunity for many products, though you'll need to strike sooner for some big-ticket items. And the site's findings are largely focused on online shopping, though they do not exclude brick and mortar stores. With those caveats in mind, here's a look at exactly when you can expect to save the most for the rest of the holiday season...
As Christmas gets closer, says Rather-Be-Shopping founder Kyle James, some jewelry retailers lock in their prices, regardless of what the price of precious metals is doing on the open market. Depending on how the financial winds are blowing, this can be a potential good time to buy. The discounts tend to run through the 17th, he says.
Start the battle against the holiday bulge early, as this is your day to pick up deals on exercise equipment. These tend to be coupon-based, so you'll have to keep a close eye out for discounts. (Keep in mind that if you're buying for yourself, exercise equipment tends to go for even deeper discounts at the beginning of the year, when New Years Resolutions still seem realistic.)
If you weren't able to grab one of the HDTV doorbusters on Black Friday, this may be the best time to make up for that. James says over the past five years, retailers like Best Buy (bby), Costco (cost) and Wal-Mart (wmt) have all offered deals ranging from 30-40% off on big name brands, including Samsung (ssnlf) and Vizio.
The deals start to escalate a bit on this day, with both laptops and stocking stuffers hitting peak discounts.
Dell and HP (hpq) have historically released some great coupons on this day - with notable savings on both top of the line models and budget laptops that can get the job done. And, as the mid-month slump starts to hit, some brick and mortar retailers also look to lure people in with deals on the systems.
Specialty gift sites like RedEnvelope and Shutterfly also have historically distributed a number of coupons on this date to spur a rush of last minute customized items.
This is one of your two best chances at a deal on a wide variety of products.
The two big categories are toys and tools/hardware. Toy retailers - and powerhouse retailers that stock a lot of toys - try to lure in shoppers for one last big push. Stores like Lowes (low) and The Home Depot (hd) follow a same philosophy, only with toys for grownups, with savings of 20-30%.
"It's when retailers enter the final stretch for holiday sales," says James. "So when sales aren't meeting expectations they begin releasing better coupons/deals to entice shoppers. ... For example, for toys we get the most coupons for Toys R Us, HearthSong, Mindware, Target (tgt), Wal-Mart, etc. on December 16th every year. We see 70% more coupons on that day compared to a few days before."
Looking for a good online deal? This is the day to find it. Dec. 18 is free shipping day - a promotional event that guarantees both free shipping and delivery by Dec. 24 - and retailers make the most of it.
"The number of coupons we see on free shipping day averages 80% more than what we see the day before," says James. "Many of the coupons will beat Cyber Monday in terms of savings."
It's the best day to buy clothes or shoes online, since so many retailers offer deep discounts. And if you need something for the kitchen, this is a good time to grab it as well. Also, expect big online retailers to take advantage of the big online shopping push with a few deals of their own (even if they have free shipping offers of their own).