Calling in sick on Nov. 29? You’re not alone.
Bargain hunters might just develop a nasty head cold on Black Friday to take advantage of slashed prices ahead of the Christmas holiday season.
If you’re looking to buy gifts for family, friends, and coworkers, or want to treat yourself to something new, there are deals to be had on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
To help get the best price possible, there are a few must-have shopping apps to download from the App Store (for iPhone, iPad) or Google Play (for Android devices).
Whether you’re shopping at retail or the “endless aisles” at online stores, the following are a few of my favourites.
Consider it the ultimate flyer and coupon app: Flipp lets you use your fingertip to flip through the flyers of all your local stores – whether it’s an electronics retailer, clothing store, home improvement centre, department store chain, or supermarket – and you’ll be able to see and save the latest deals, add items to a shopping list, digitally clip coupons to show the cashier, or tap and hold a product to get more information on it.
It’s a lot cleaner and more convenient than going through all the paper flyers and coupons we receive every week. Plus, you can also do a keyword search on something you want, browse by category or store.
With its smart shopping list, you can type the name of a product, like “television,” and it will show you all related TV sales near you.
Flipp is also a loyalty card holder, so you can load all those rewards cards and then leave the plastic at home.
Rakuten (formerly Ebates)
Saving money is great, but what if you could earn cash back by shopping? That’s the concept behind Rakuten (formerly Ebates), an app that gives you a percentage back of your purchase every time you shop online through participating retailers and marketplaces – and there are more than 750 of them supported.
To get going, sign up for a free account, and then start shopping where you would normally – places like Amazon.ca, Walmart, eBay, Sephora, and Groupon, to name just a few – and you’ll start accumulating cash that can be sent to you via cheque or deposited into a PayPal account.
Each store offers a different cash back percentage. Rakuten -- which means “optimism” in Japanese -- says stores pay them a commission for sending you there – so you always need to start by launching the app or site.
Along with the stellar Canadian app, RedFlagDeals.com, another site-turned-app worth considering is SlickDeals.net.
In fact, the company says it’s now the largest deal-sharing community on the web, with millions of people who share deals they’ve found in the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere.
Here’s how it works: Deals get vetted by the community through votes and comments, and the best ones often move up to the Popular Deals forum, such as 40 percent off an item for a limited time or a two-for-1 airfare deal. The best of the Popular Deals are then screened by Deal Editors, who may put it on the app’s coveted frontpage.
One of my favourite features is setting a Deal Alert and getting notified whenever a deal matching what you're looking for is posted. You can configure your alert for keywords, stores, or categories.
Just make sure the deal is relevant for Canada, before you get too excited about it!
Online marketplaces, local classifieds
Here are two popular misconceptions about eBay: almost everything listed is second-hand, and you need to place a bid on auction items.
In fact, more than 80 percent of items on eBay are brand new, and if you don’t want to bid for something, more than 85 percent of items can be purchased outright. You can find some amazing deals on eBay, including many exclusive, hard to find and out-of-country items, that could be shipped to your door – or a loved one’s residence or place of business.
The app is also super easy to use and lets you chat with the seller right from within the app. Just make sure you factor in shipping time and possible duties (and dollar exchange) if coming into Canada.
If you prefer not to wait for shipping, online classifieds sites -- like Kijiji, Craigslist, letgo, and Facebook Marketplace -- lets you buy, sell and trade locally with people, with cash, and you’d be surprised how many brand-new items there are available to wrap as holiday presents.
Plus, with these kinds of apps, there is often room to haggle with those you’re buying from, too (seriously, it’s expected, so you won’t offend the seller).
If you’re meeting someone to buy a product, try to arrange to do so in a public place, and perhaps bring a friend along, just to err on the side of caution. And inspect the item before you hand over the cash.