It's official, last Thursday's turkey is a memory and holiday tunes are in full swing -- it's time to get serious about saving money on the annual holiday shopping safari. According to Kiplinger.com there are 15 sites dedicated to doing the leg work -- nabbing coupon codes, comparing prices and reporting free shipping and gift card deals -- for you.
And of course we had to add one of our own as well. That brings to the total of holiday shopping deal sites to 16.
In its fourth annual round up, Kiplinger contributing editor Cameron Huddleston, revealed top picks for cyber shoppers -- and brick-and-mortar devotees as well. "Even if you don't end up buying online," wrote Huddleston, "it never hurts to find the best deals on the Web before you brave crowded stores. Then you can comparison shop and make better choices."DealNews won the top spot as Kiplinger's favorite because it not only reviews the incentives are more than 2,000 online retailers it also refuses to cover sites with poor customer service. Bonus points! Friendly frugalistas (merchants and consumers) act as tipsters for this site trumpeting deals on behalf of their bargain hunting comrades.
GottaDeal.com won praise for a comprehensive listing of deals, as did user-driven site Slickdeals.net which was noted for it's passionately penny-pinching and helpful community forum.
DODTracker.com got props for condensing the information from hundreds of "deal of the day" sites and daily deals from retailers like Amazon. It's a one-stop shop for consumers looking to score within 24 hours.
For those who have made a commitment to using cash only, EBillme earned acclaim for allowing shoppers to make secure cash payments while shopping online. Suze Orman would approve.
According to Kiplinger's, comparison shopping is still best done using Amazon.com ("longest results lists, lowest prices"), but the site gave recognition to Pronto.com and Google Product Search as well.
Coupon clippers are advised to check out CouponCabin.com with 110,000 active deals and a down loadable toolbar that will customize to personal, online shopping habits; CouponWinner.com boasts a comparison shopping tool; and Alex's Coupons a useful site for super savers donates a portion of its profits to childhood cancer charities.
Since even the hardest people to buy for will usually appreciate a gift card, Kiplinger's pointed out two websites, Plastic Jungle and Gift Card Granny that sell gift cards for less than their face value. The sites will also buy or trade gift cards you don't want for 80%-92% of their worth. Definitely worth a look-see.
Finally, the list named Freeshipping.org and Free Shipping Day (December 17) for excellence in helping consumers save money on getting those gifts where they need to be -- for free!
Although Kiplinger's picked its top 15 money saving sites, as a professed WalletPopper, I think they missed one. Julia Scott, the Bargain Babe and her daily tips for savvy spenders is a must read for serious savings, and of course, I'm completely biased. Still, round out that list to a sweet 16 and I think you'll find yourself more green than blue come January. Good luck and happy hunting.
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