[Live] Citi ThankYou Black Friday Deal: Get 15% Discount On Giftcard Redemptions (Apple & More)

The Offer

Citi sent out an email indicating that for Black Friday they’ll be running a 15% discount on gift card redemptions with ThankYou points. The following brands are shown in the email:

  • Apple
    Applebees
    Barnes & Noble
    Fanatics
    IHOP
    Spafinder
  • Fandango
  • AutoZone

We don’t know which other brands will be included.

Our Verdict

Apple and some others might be useful to some people as well, hopefully some other valuable brands like Best Buy will show up too.

Hat tip to reader Peek

Source: doctorofcredit.com

Citi ThankYou Black Friday Deal: Get 15% Discount On Giftcard Redemptions (Apple & More)

The Offer

Citi sent out an email indicating that for Black Friday they’ll be running a 15% discount on gift card redemptions with ThankYou points. The following brands are shown in the email:

  • Apple
    Applebees
    Barnes & Noble
    Fanatics
    IHOP
    Spafinder

We don’t know which other brands will be included.

Our Verdict

Apple and some others might be useful to some people as well, hopefully some other valuable brands like Best Buy will show up too.

Hat tip to reader Peek

Source: doctorofcredit.com

Best Buy Headlines Busy Week of Retail Earnings

This week will be a short but busy one on Wall Street.

U.S. stock markets are closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday and trading will end early on Friday. However, there’s still plenty of action packed into the three days leading up to the holiday, with Best Buy (BBY, $136.81) among several retail companies set to report earnings.

According to the earnings calendar, the big box retailer will unveil its third-quarter report ahead of Tuesday’s open. Shares have been racing higher since early October – up roughly 30% to trade in record-high territory – and a positive reaction to earnings could keep the wind at the consumer stock’s back.

Analysts, on average, are looking for Best Buy to report an 8.3% year-over-year decline in earnings to $1.89 per share. Revenue is also expected to take a step back, with the $11.53 billion expected down 2.3% from what the company reported a year ago.  

Still, UBS analyst Michael Lasser (Neutral) feels Best Buy is “well positioned to report another set of solid results in the third quarter, even as it faces steep compares.”

He also believes Best Buy “continued to execute on a favorable industry backdrop in the third quarter” and that “strong vendor relationships” have been critical to the company navigating global supply chain disruptions.

However, “The key for BBY’s investment case is how will it perform into 2022 when spending is likely to shift away from the consumer electronics category,” Lasser says. “Its strategies can likely cushion the impact.” Among these strategies is the company’s recently launched Totaltech around-the-clock tech support membership program, which he believes “offers good near-term potential.”

Argus Research analyst Chris Graja (Hold) admits the company is facing some major challenges – COVID-19 disruptions, strong competition, and product innovation that is consolidating music, gaming and computing into lower-margin devices like smartphones and tablets, for instance – but it has also positioned itself well for the long term. 

“Best Buy’s online capabilities and curbside service are helping the company through the COVID-19 crisis,” Graja writes in a note. “We see this as a validation of the company’s investments in its e-commerce infrastructure and management’s ability to adapt.”

Oppenheimer analyst Brian Nagel agrees. 

“BBY performed well through the coronavirus crisis and capitalized upon stepped-up demand for consumer electronics and home office-type products, as workers and students adapted quickly to hybrid or fully at-home models,” he says. 

Nagel currently has a Perform (Hold) rating on BBY, but adds that he is “optimistic that as pandemic pressures continue to subside that a more-efficient and potentially more-profitable Best Buy model should emerge.”

Mantle Ridge Stake Grabs Attention Ahead of Dollar Tree Earnings

Dollar Tree (DLTR, $134.24) made headlines recently on reports activist investor Mantle Ridge took a stake in the discount retailer. The news was well-received on Wall Street, with DLTR stock surging more than 14% in reaction.

According to the Wall Street Journal – which first reported the story – Mantle Ridge is planning to push for pricing strategy changes at DLTR’s Family Dollar chain.

“This investor has a history of being deeply involved in situations where companies have been transformed through operational improvements,” says UBS analyst Michael Lasser (Buy). “The bottom line is that this development should mean that DLTR will now be held more accountable for producing consistent results. In this case, the upside potential for the shares is significant.”

Deutsche Bank analyst Krisztina Katai (Buy) agrees. She recently lifted her price target on DLTR to $146 from $96, saying “the added element of a new large shareholder with a clear focus on unlocking meaningful value by closing the profitability gap between Family Dollar and Dollar General (DG) should lead to a more patient investor base with a longer-term focus.” 

She adds that this now creates “one of the most compelling retail stories with an exciting narrative change underway.”

But what about DLTR’s third-quarter earnings report, due out ahead of the Nov. 23 open? Analysts, on average, are expecting earnings to arrive at 96 cents per share, down 30.9% on a year-over-year (YoY) basis. Revenues, meanwhile, are projected to rise 3.7% to $6.41 billion.

Deere Earnings Expectations Lowered After UAW Strike

Deere (DE, $348.84), which is famous for its tractors and riding lawn mowers, will report fiscal fourth-quarter earnings ahead of Wednesday’s open. 

“Similar to peers and consistent with retail trends, we believe DE results will reflect continued strong end-market demand, handicapped by production constraints as supply chain and labor dynamics worsened late in the quarter,” says Oppenheimer analyst Kristen Owen.

One part of the labor dynamics she refers to is month-long strike by thousands of Deere workers that began in mid-October after the company failed to reach an agreement with the United Auto Workers (UAW). The dispute was resolved on Nov. 17, when UAW members approved a new six-year contract that includes a 10% pay increase and $8,500 bonus, according to press reports.

However, the impact of the strike prompted Owen to lower her estimates for fiscal fourth-quarter earnings per share to $3.89 from $4.02 and revenue to $11.1 billion from $11.6 billion.  

Nevertheless, “we remain constructive on DE shares as we see secular tailwinds persisting and unaccounted-for upside in construction” due in part to the recent passage of the infrastructure spending bill in D.C. Owen has an Outperform rating on Deere, which is the equivalent of a Buy.

The pros, on average, are looking for $10.49 billion in revenues (+21.1% YoY) and earnings of $3.95 per share, which is 65.3% higher than the year-ago figure.

Source: kiplinger.com

28 Great Black Friday Deals and Doorbusters for 2021

There’s a great haze hanging over Black Friday shopping in 2021, and it’s not induced by the usual Thanksgiving dinner turkey coma. The fog is from the dozens and dozens of full cargo ships yet to be offloaded at the nation’s largest shipping ports.

As Kiplinger and others have warned, gift shopping this holiday season will be seriously hobbled by a struggling supply chain and overall prices rising due to inflation. “We’ve seen shipping delays before, but supply chain issues in the past were more specific to a handful of items, says smart shopping expert Trae Bodge of TrueTrae. “This is more of a widespread issue, so I think shoppers will be surprised by how difficult it will be to get certain gifts.”

But that doesn’t close the door on promotions tied to the day-after-Thanksgiving that we’ve come to call Black Friday. 

“Despite higher prices overall, Black Friday definitely isn’t cancelled,” says Nathan Burrow, senior deals expert at The New York Times’ Wirecutter. “It’s still a time where you can save — so long as you shop strategically. The shopping holiday has expanded beyond a single day and now occupies the better part of a week with preview sales starting as early as October. Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday are more or less all part of a continuous sale, and though we have noted a trend of retailers closing their brick and mortar locations for the Thanksgiving holiday proper (Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, The Home Depot, and Costco are the most notable), online storefronts will be available throughout.”

Bodge of TrueTrae agrees that Black Friday is still an important shipping event, but shoppers must use their heads. “I’m hearing that the number of deals might be fewer and we could see some stock issues if retailers don’t receive shipments on time, but there will still be lots of deals,” says Bodge. “To make the most of the day, I would suggest that consumers sign up for emails from the retailers they plan to shop with, but in addition, shoppers can level up their savings by seeing what their favorite deal sites are up to, especially with cashback, which can really make a big savings impact. For instance, CouponCabin.com has a rotating offer where 20 stores a day offer 5X their usual cashback.  And Rakuten is offering up to 10 percent cash back over Black Friday weekend and up to 15 percent on Cyber Monday from hundreds of stores.” 

So let’s get at it: We found 28 Black Friday deals and doorbusters, many available beginning the day after Thanksgiving, some starting as early as … now. Have a look.

Black Friday Deals at Amazon

Last year, Amazon lit off the holiday shopping season a month before Black Friday, when its pandemic-delayed Amazon Prime Day was moved from its usual summer spot to October (it returned to summer in 2021). But that doesn’t mean Amazon hasn’t pushed Black Friday-like sale prices in 2021.

The e-commerce giant deeply discounts its proprietary smart home products — smart devices with Alexa built in such as Kindle readers, etc. — around the holidays. For example, the Alexa-enabled Echo Show 5 (2nd generation) is 43% off, the 50-inch Amazon Fire TV 4-series is 30% off, and Fire TV Stick 4K is 50% off.

Surprisingly, you can pick a pair of the red-hot new Airpods Pro with Magsafe charging for $200, a $50 savings. Robotic vacuums and air fryers will be a thing this year, and Amazon has the iRobot Roomba 692 for $200, a $100 savings. A Ninja Air Fryer AF101 is selling for $90, down from $120.

Wirecutter’s Burrow says there will be Black Friday (and early Black Friday) deals from Amazon on Sony and Samsung products as well. 

Black Friday Deals at Best Buy

Best Buy dropped its Black Friday deals early, and as you can guess, it’s loaded with bargains on TVs, including a Samsung 75-inch Class 7 Series LED 4K UHD Smart Tizen TV for $850, a $250 savings, and a Sony 55-inch Bravia OLED 4K UHD Smart Google TV for $1,400, a $400 savings.

Also on Best Buy’s Black Friday list is an Apple 21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K display for $1,000, a $500 savings; Bose Quiet Comfort headphones for $279, a $50 savings; a Keurig Limited Edition Jonathan Adler K-Mini Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker for $50, a $50 savings; and a Mr Christmas 7.5 foot, Alexa-enabled, prelit artificial Christmas tree for $400, a $100 savings. What does Alexa bring to a Christmas tree? The ability to control the lights’ timing, patterns and colors remotely. Your cats will love it.

Black Friday Deals at Costco

Warehouse powerhouse Costco’s Black Friday ad promises savings on lots of electronics, of course. And you can always find fine quality and savings with Costco’s private label Kirkland Signature lineup of goods (and you’ll find Black Friday savings on many items, including chocolate-covered almonds as well as organic tortilla chips). But first note you still have to have a Costco membership, starting at $60, to shop the deals, online and in warehouses. 

For Black Friday 2021, Costco is featuring a Samsung 32-inch Class FHD curved monitor for $200, a $50 savings; a Conair Turbo Extreme Steam hand-held fabric steamer for $35, a $15 savings; an HP touchscreen laptop for $500, a $100 savings; and a NutriBullet blender combo for $70, a $30 savings.

Costco’s ad notes it is closed on Thanksgiving Day (as are dozens of retailers), but it has some online sales starting on that Thursday.

Black Friday Deals at Home Depot

Home Depot is promising Black Friday sale prices until the end of December and, as you can probably guess, said deals are heavy on appliances and tools. One tip: If you need the appliance, make sure it’s in stock; many homeowners have been waiting for months for backlogged appliances they’ve paid for. Some of those appliances haven’t been built yet or are stuck somewhere in the crippled supply chain.

Black Friday deals at Home Depot include a stainless steel 28.2-cubic-foot Samsung French door refrigerator for $1,298, a $700 savings; a Galanz digital toaster oven and air fryer for $80, a $50 savings; a DeWalt cordless drill-driver set for $99, a $60 savings; and a stainless steel Samsung dishwasher for $498, an $81 savings.

Black Friday Deals at Lowe’s

Lowe’s and Home Depot go toe-to-toe the rest of the year, why not on Black Friday? To that end, you’ll see a similar lineup of sale items from appliances to tools.

Lowe’s is dealing a 28.2-cubic-foot Samsung french-door fridge for $1,300, down from $2,000; an Amana top load washer for $494, down from $600; a versatile Little Giant ladder for $159, down from $239; and a DeWalt 20-volt cordless drill-driver for $99, down from $159.

Black Friday Deals at Walmart 

Walmart stores on Black Friday will have deals including $398 for a 70-inch 4K Onn smart TV with Roku (Onn is Walmart’s house brand); $109 for a an Apple Watch Series 3 GPS, down from $199’ $69 for Power XL 12-quart 6-in-1 air fryer oven; $299 for an Xbox Series S game console; and $14-$25 for special buy select video games (note: all of these deals will be available online beginning 7 p.m. Eastern on Monday, Nov. 22, 5 a.m. in-store on Black Friday.

Source: kiplinger.com

25 Tips to Save Money on Christmas Decorations This Year

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Dig Deeper

Additional Resources

For all its joy and cheer, Christmastime pulls us in many different directions — physically, emotionally, and financially. It can be tough to keep up with all the demands, including your holiday budget.

You can’t control the cost of perfect gifts for everyone on your list. You can’t control the unpredictable expenses that always seem to come with the season. But you can go out of your way to save money on Christmas decorations, leaving plenty left over to spread holiday cheer. There are plenty of ways to deck the halls in style for less. 

Ways to Save Money on Christmas Decorations

You can save money on holiday decorations with these tips for proper planning, smart sourcing, and strategic shopping. 

Plan Before You Go

Planning your holiday decor before you start shopping gives you more opportunities to think strategically and find savings. 

1. Start Planning Early

The further ahead you plan your holiday decorations, the more time you have to set up chances to save. 

You can shop around, buy just what you need, and avoid last-minute markups. You’re also more likely to find what you’re looking for instead of making do with whatever’s left on the shelves. 

If you wait until mid-December, you have to hastily buy what’s available without any research. And you’re often stuck at a specialty or big-box store just when they’ve marked up prices the most. 

2. Pick a Theme

What do you want your holiday decorations to look like this year? You have lots of options. 

You can go classic with a Dickens theme. Or focus on the religious meaning with a peaceful Nativity scene. Or perhaps your kids or grandkids are all about the latest Disney princess.

No matter what you decide, once you’ve settled on a theme, it narrows the types of decorations that make sense. It doesn’t matter how cute a novelty or bauble is. If it doesn’t fit the theme, it stays out of the cart.

3. Decide Where to Decorate

Themes and goals do little to help you save if you fill your cart with vaguely appropriate stuff you’re unsure how you plan to use. Go through your house and decide what kind of thing might go in each location. 

You don’t have to make final decisions yet. Just know what space you have available. 

That open spot on the side table might accommodate a wicker basket filled with clove-spiked oranges or a holiday-themed candy bowl. But a taper candle or nutcracker will be dwarfed by that space.

Take notes. Use online images to help you envision the final look. You can even take pictures of your home and use a graphics editor like Photoshop to create mock-ups. 

4. Set a Budget

Run the numbers for your holiday budget. Don’t forget to include what you’d like to spend on holiday gifts, travel, entertaining, and fun. From whatever’s left over, set a maximum amount to spend on decorations this year. 

Then remember the saying. “It’s called a budget because you don’t budge.” This budget is a promise to yourself, so keep that promise. 

5. Make a List

Going grocery shopping with a list can save you big on food bills. And the same applies to your Christmas decoration shopping. 

Once you have a plan and budget, write down the things you need and how much it’s likely to cost. Don’t forget to include related expenses like batteries and tea lights. 

If the things you want send you over budget, rethink each decoration. Put anything you decide to cut on a wish list. You may be able to get them if you get a fantastic deal or find an alternative before you go shopping.

Otherwise, once you’ve got your list under budget, stick to it to ensure you don’t overspend, no matter what cool upgrade shows up in your decor shopping journey. 

Think Before You Shop

You have a plan, but you’re not ready to shop yet. Before you head to the store, think about how you can get the most bang for your buck, how fancy your decorations need to be, and alternatives to buying brand-new decorations.

Every decoration you can save on or get for free is a decoration you can move from your wish list to the shopping list.

6. Embrace the Power of Showrooming

“Showrooming” is a term retailers use to describe going into a store to physically interact with a product only to buy it cheaper online. Retailers hate showrooming because it cuts into their profits. 

But for a consumer, showrooming is a fantastic opportunity. Many online listings fail to give a good enough sense of the size, colors, and quality of the product. The wait for shipping can mean receiving a disappointing decoration with little time to do anything about it. 

Don’t just walk away once you’ve settled on a product. Many big-box stores match Internet pricing if you can show them what’s available. But don’t just buy it, either. Wait until you’ve seen what’s out there.

7. Invest in Quality Where It Counts

Imagine you have to choose between a $120 door wreath and a $12 one. If the cheap one lasts just one year, and the expensive one lasts 10 years or more, the expensive wreath is the better choice. 

It’s better to buy just one or two quality things each year and amass a stellar collection over time than buy lots of cheap stuff you continuously replace. So aim to buy a few high-quality pieces each year instead of large collections of cheap baubles that will break or wear out. 

Your tree is one of the best examples. A quality artificial Christmas tree lasts 10 years or more and costs just two to three times as much as a live tree of a comparable size. That means it’s between three and five times as good a deal before you even consider the fire hazard or costs of watering and disposal.

That said, some things, such as fads and kids picks your children will outgrow, are better cheap and disposable. You can pick those up at the dollar store or a budget retailer. 

As you’re making your plan, decide what needs to be an investment piece and what you can cheap out on.

8. Opt for Multitaskers

Items that serve just one purpose are the bane of budget-conscious shopping. Decorative ones are the worst of the lot. They get used once each year and spend the rest of the time in storage. 

A Christmas tree is a must in most households. But consider forgoing the Santas, reindeer, and candy canes for more general decorations. For example:

  • Pine boughs and holly, which can stay up for most of winter
  • White lights instead of multicolored, which you can string outside all summer
  • Snowflake and winter art celebrating the weather more than the holiday

As you map out your Christmas decoration plan, incorporate as many of these elements as possible.

9. Shop Your Home First

Before you set foot in a store, go through your home. Pull out all the Christmas decorations, winter equipment, and general decorations. Look in your donations box and the toy trunks. 

You may find exactly what you need or things that are close enough. You may even find something that’s even better than you planned.

Depending on how established your household is, it can cut half or more of the items off your shopping list. As a bonus, it means you have fewer new things to find a home for when the season is over.

10. Shop Your Neighbors & Family

After you’ve run through the potential decorations in your home, check with people you know. Find out if they can lend you anything for this year’s plan and offer to return the favor.

Better yet, set up a neighborhood decoration swap. At a swap, participants meet to exchange their unwanted stuff for things they need without spending a dime. 

11. Team Up With Friends & Family

Warehouse clubs, retail supply outlets, and large online lots sell goods in bulk at a discount. During the season, you can find decorations like wreaths, tree baubles, and lights among those deals. 

The problem is you only need one household’s worth of decor. Buying the bulk package for everything you need won’t save you money.

Fortunately, nearly everyone you know probably wants or needs them too. So go in on the bulk purchase and split it. That helps you save on your purchase without ordering more than you need. 

Take this one step further by getting together with three to six other households. Plan several Christmas decoration themes you all like. You need the same number of themes as you have households. 

Avoid fads and pop culture phenomena. A “Frozen” Christmas theme may look dated in three to six years (or your kids may have lost interest). 

You each buy the decorations for one theme, then trade at the end of every season. That gives all participating households several years’ worth of Christmas decor for the cost of just one year’s supplies. 

Just ensure you set a budget range to ensure everyone feels they got their money’s worth each year. For example, every household should spend a minimum of $75 but no more than $100. You can also establish rules like avoiding tall pieces that don’t fit in every house.

12. DIY It

Before you buy anything, look into what you can make yourself. Homemade decorations ranging from popcorn strings to paper snowflakes to small wrapped boxes can save you a surprising amount of money over buying something comparable. 

Or come up with something unique. For example, string last year’s Christmas cards on twine for an attractive, meaningful garland you can update every year. 

You can turn the whole project into family time with the kids. Each age group has something to offer, and they can be proud of the finished product knowing they contributed.

But note that some DIY projects cost more than just buying the alternative. For example, you could easily copy that wine bottle message display you found on Etsy, but when you can’t buy in bulk like the original designer, the cost of supplies adds up fast. It’s cheaper to buy it from the Etsy shop.

Do your homework and choose homemade only when it saves money. 


Shop Smart

Knowing where to shop (and not shop), how to get discounts and earn rewards, and when and how to compare products can save you a lot if you take the time.

13. Start at the Thrift Store

Thrift shops can be an excellent source of clothing, books, games, and toys. But many also put out seasonal items when the time is right. Some might need some TLC, like a touch of paint or stitching up a tear. 

Even if you can’t find holiday decor, you might find some inexpensive supplies for a seasonal DIY. For example, pick up a well-loved doll or broken jack-in-the-box for your Isle of Misfit Toys display.

14. Shop the Dollar Store

While quality is essential for decor you need to last, the Christmas season often calls for stuff you can only use once, such as fake snow or tinsel strands. 

You can also find inexpensive candles, jars and vases, artificial flowers, and baskets to fill with holiday-themed baubles like pine cones and Christmas balls. Things like these should last for years if you take care of them. A creative mind can turn them into eye-catching decorations on a budget. 

While dollar store selection varies by retailer and location, many carry a surprising variety of Christmas-themed goodies for less than big-box retailers. For example, Target sells Christmas stockings for $5 and up, but my local Dollar Tree sells perfectly good ones for a buck. 

But if you need more than a few pieces, check other options for decoration sets. For instance, Target offers several packs of multiple decorations for $25 to $30. If that pack contains more than 25 or 30 individual pieces, you’d spend more replicating it at the dollar store.

15. Shop at the Craft Store

When you’re picking up supplies for your family night DIY, don’t overlook the craft store’s other finds.

In addition to craft supplies, you can often find Christmas-themed components that can serve as decorations. For example, you can nab scented or glittery pine cones, miniature reindeer and Santas, and assorted season-themed picture frames. And they tend to cost a fraction of what you’d pay for something similar in the Christmas aisle elsewhere. 

16. Be Careful at Big-Box Stores

Big-box stores like Home Depot, Target, and Best Buy can be a blessing or a curse for saving money on Christmas decorations. They carry some products at prices lower than other retailers but tend to mark up other items substantially. 

Their general profit model is to bring you in for a good deal. Then, once you’re inside, they bet on you noticing other things you want or need. And you pay more than you should because it’s convenient.

Stick to your list and only take advantage of the good deals when shopping at these locations. 

17. Avoid Specialty Stores

Local holiday pop-up stores appear every season in unused storefronts or holiday markets. 

They’re almost always far more expensive than big-box stores and the Internet. Sometimes, they have really neat, exclusive decor, but they’re rarely worth the extra cost. 

Closely related are the year-round specialty shops like Hallmark and Disney stores. Their price tags are similarly out of proportion with other options. 

18. Run Everything by Amazon

Amazon has immense buying power in multiple industries, meaning they can outprice almost all their competition on a multitude of products. 

So before you buy anything from another retailer, check to see if Amazon can do better. If they can and you can receive it in time, that’s the better choice. That’s especially true for Prime members, who get free shipping on almost everything on the site.

This plan is especially frugal if you have an Amazon rewards or Amazon Prime rewards credit card. Both cards offer cash back on every purchase. But stick to your budget and avoid a standing balance. 

19. Leverage Customer Loyalty Programs

If you have loyalty rewards cards at stores that sell Christmas supplies, now is the time to use them. For example, the Kohl’s rewards you racked up in November could get you discounts on mantel decorations or lights and garlands.

Run the numbers first. Stores with rewards programs typically have slightly higher prices than the competition. So ensure the savings provides a lower final price than you’d pay elsewhere.

20. Remember Shipping

When you shop online for decorations, don’t forget to account for shipping costs. A discounted online purchase can cost the same or more as an in-store buy after you cover the cost of transportation.

It’s crucial to keep an eye on shipping costs with large objects like inflatable yard decorations or an artificial tree. Shipping them costs the retailer real money, and they pass that cost on to you. 

If possible, stick to retailers that offer free shipping, like Amazon and Overstock. 

21. Don’t Skip Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are best known for deep discounts on high-ticket gifts. During these events, you can find good savings on decorations or related products like craft supplies, LED candles, and batteries.  

22. Learn to Love Singles’ Day

Singles’ Day is a popular Asian shopping holiday that falls on Nov. 11. Although it’s a newer phenomenon, it already dwarfs Black Friday in terms of overall dollars spent. Singles’ Day sales are only available from Asia-based retailers. So look closely at shipping costs and estimated shipping times to avoid nasty surprises.

23. Use Cash-Back Apps & Browser Extensions

Cash-back apps like Ibotta and Rakuten give you cash back on purchases made at member stores. It’s the equivalent of using a coupon at the register. These deals focus primarily on groceries and restaurants but include retailers who deal in holiday decor. So you can find deals if you look.

Each transaction is only worth a small amount, but the savings accumulate into a single larger periodic payment. Depending on the app you choose, you can receive it via a cash-transfer app like PayPal, check, or free gift card.

You can get similar results online from browser extensions like Capital One Shopping or Honey. These interact with your shopping cart, automatically scanning the Web for coupons to reduce your price for whatever you buy.

24. Pay With Cash-Back Credit Cards

Use cash-back credit cards to pay for all your Christmas purchases, including decorations. When you use one of these cards, a percentage of your purchase becomes a rewards credit on your account. 

Later, you can redeem those rewards to reduce the balance on your card or receive a cash payment or gift card. Some cards have other options, like airline miles.

When buying Christmas decorations with cash-back cards, use the one with the best rewards for your needs. 

For example, say you have two credit cards. The Capital One Quicksilver card offers 1.5% back on all purchases, while the Costco Anywhere Visa gives 1% cash back everywhere and 2% at Costco. So opt for the Quicksilver when you’re at most retailers, but switch to the Costco card when you’re in the warehouse store.

You can also look at reciprocal discounts from your credit card-associated frequent flyer plan. For example, American’s Simply Miles program offers discounts or extra miles for purchases at 30 retailers. Some of yours might give blanket discounts or other deals at shops where you want to buy your decor. 

But use caution. Spending too much on credit cards can saddle you with debt for months to come. The interest can cost more than the value of the rewards. Only spend what you can afford to pay back immediately, and pay off the balance as soon as possible. 

25. Stack Discounts

You can save even more by stacking discount opportunities. 

For example, you might look at Ibotta and find it has a 7% cash back offer at Michaels craft store for purchases of up to $100 in value. With that in mind, you find they have an inflatable snowman yard decoration for just over $100. 

After a little more research, you find a 20% off coupon on the Michaels website. Between that and the Ibotta deal, you’re at a total of 27% saved. 

But don’t stop there. At the register, pay with a 2%-cash-back credit card to get even more rewards. 

Discount stacking requires research and planning but can add up to hundreds of dollars unspent or returned to you over a holiday season.


Final Word

If you really want to save money, take this year off. Use what you have or leave your home undecorated. Take the money you would have spent on Christmas decor, and put it in a savings account until January.

With the holiday season in everybody’s rearview mirror, whatever stock stores still have goes on deep discount. You can pick up all your Christmas cheer for pennies on the dollar. It’s something you can do every year. Use January’s purchases at the end of the year, then buy upgrades in January.

You can’t use this strategy to save on Christmas decorations this year, but it’s a strong strategy for budget-friendly holidays for a lifetime. 

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Source: moneycrashers.com

Top 22 Black Friday and Cyber Monday Shopping Apps for Android & iPhone

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Dig Deeper

Additional Resources

Whether you skip into the holidays on a cushion of unbridled glee or grudgingly face it with stoic resignation, you know what you’ll be doing at some point between the middle of November and the last week or so of December: steadily accumulating gifts for family, friends, coworkers, and people to whom you’re obligated for one reason or another.

If you’re a savvy shopper, you know that using a little modern technology can go a long way.

The Right App Makes All The Difference

Holiday shopping is now an omni-channel affair. The vast majority of holiday shoppers now do at least some of their shopping online, whether with all-digital retailers like Amazon or hybrids like Walmart or Best Buy. Of the millions of shoppers who still hit the stores in November and December, most bring their smartphones. Deloitte’s 2017 holiday shopping survey found that 40% of holiday shoppers planned to use a retailer’s shopping app that year, and another 36% planned to use a mobile payment app. holiday shoppers use mobile devices to enhance the in-person retail experience.

Mobile aids really come in handy on the two most hectic days of the early holiday shopping season: Black Friday, the day immediately following Thanksgiving and the purported genesis of the “doorbuster” sale; and Cyber Monday, the original digital shopping holiday the following Monday.

All the apps listed here have features designed to simplify and enhance the holiday shopping experience, especially on chaotic, deal-ridden days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. A few are specifically designed for the two big days, but most are just shopper-friendly digital aids that offer clear advantages over desktop e-commerce sites.

Unless otherwise noted, these apps are all free to download and require no ongoing membership fees. Some retailers or app owners may have paid membership programs and clubs, but app users are under no obligation to join.

While you’re at it, please take a few minutes to read our tip sheets for better shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping.

Retailer Apps

These apps are all backed by major U.S. retailers. All pair up with brands mentioned in our twin holiday shopping guides: the Black Friday 2019 shopping guide and Cyber Monday 2019 shopping guide.


1. Amazon

Let’s address the elephant in the room: Amazon’s main shopping website isn’t very mobile-friendly. That hasn’t stopped Amazon from growing into North America’s unquestioned retail behemoth, but it’s a deficiency nonetheless.

Good thing there’s the Amazon app, a mobile-friendly distillation for iOS (including Apple Watch) and Android. Newer versions of the app are equipped with Alexa, Amazon’s voice-modulated AI assistant, making for a (nearly) hands-free experience.

Check in the day before Thanksgiving, and again on Black Friday itself, for the complete lineup of Thanksgiving weekend deals. Don’t miss Amazon’s Cyber Monday and Cyber Week sales, which stretch through the week following Thanksgiving.


2. eBay

Enjoy bidding for holiday gifts, but not willing to park at your desktop for the second half of November and most of December? The eBay app for iOS and Android can help.

The eBay app’s handy price and bid alerts put an end to superfluous logins – you’ll know when it’s finally time to pull the trigger and when you need to bid again (if your budget can handle it) without checking your eBay account or even opening your email suite. Use the watchlist feature to check in on your gifting shortlist – and, when the time is right, bid or buy.

If you need some extra cash this holiday season, you can always downsize and declutter your life while padding your holiday gift budget. For more, check out our guide to selling stuff on eBay, Craigslist, and Amazon.


3. Best Buy

The Best Buy app is one of the slickest and most comprehensive on this list. Unlike many retail apps, it’s clearly built with the brick-and-mortar shopping experience in mind. That makes it a great addition to your Black Friday arsenal.

Some of my favorite Best Buy app features:

  • A QR scanner that you can use to call up detailed product information in-store and build a gift registry or wishlist
  • Full e-tailing capabilities
  • Detailed product ratings and reviews
  • Access to daily deals and promotions, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts
  • Secure Touch ID sign-in
  • Comprehensive help channels, including text and talk

4. Target

The iOS- and Android-compatible Target mobile app is pretty handy. Like the Best Buy app, it’s clearly designed to augment the in-person shopping experience. I’m particularly pleased with:

  • Detailed product listings that include aisle locations in your preferred store (which you set in the app) – a huge time-saver in large-format Target stores
  • User-supplied product reviews
  • Up-to-date store maps
  • Cartwheel, Target’s in-house coupon and deal aggregator
  • Weekly sales flyers, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday scans when available
  • Barcode scanner to pull up product listings

5. Walmart

The Walmart mobile app is also iOS- and Android-compatible. Notable features include:

  • Weekly flyer scans, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday when available
  • Walmart Pay, a house-made mobile contactless payment app that you can use to check out without help from a human or fixed self-scanner
  • Internal receipt storage for easy budgeting and returns (both clutch during the holidays)
  • A mobile pharmacy ordering and pickup app-within-an-app – not directly relevant to Black Friday, but still useful
  • Discounts on in-store pickup for select items – order online, swing by at your convenience
  • Order tracking for ship-to-store and ship-to-home purchases

6. Macy’s

The iOS- and Android-compatible Macy’s shopping app comes with a sweet kick-off bonus: 25% off your first order placed through the app. Other useful features include:

  • Barcode scanner to reveal detailed product listings and check availability on variants (such as different colors or sizes)
  • Online ordering in-store after you try it on – just scan the product code, use your saved payment card information to complete the transaction, and arrange shipping to your home
  • Store directories and maps (though nothing as comprehensive as Target’s aisle directory and map)
  • Weekly flyer scans, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday when available
  • Real-time deal alerts based on your location within the store – if you walk by something Macy’s thinks you’ll link, you’ll know about it

7. Home Depot

The Home Depot app facilitates home improvement projects in any season, but it really shines during the holidays. It does a few things better than most other retail apps I’ve seen:

  • Detailed store maps with exact item locations in aisles – if you’ve ever wandered, agape, through one of these cavernous stores, you know how important this is
  • Near-real-time item availability by product and department
  • Image search – just snap a picture of an unfamiliar item and the program will return a list of probable matches
  • Side-by-side product comparisons with detailed specs
  • Barcode scanner for in-depth reviews and descriptions
  • Create project- or person-based shopping lists – perfect for holiday gift-getting or post-holiday remodeling

8. Lowe’s

Lowe’s has multiple mobile apps, but the flagship is the appropriately named Lowe’s mobile app. It’s compatible with iOS and Android. Highlights include:

  • An in-store product locator with basic aisle maps and a storage system for flagging and “bookmarking” your favorite items
  • Quick Lists, or user-friendly shopping and watchlists ideal for the gifting season
  • Barcode scanners for comprehensive product information and add-to-list functionality
  • Store-specific shopping lists
  • MyLowe’s, a free loyalty program that stores your discount card and Lowe’s credit card (if you have one), plus keeps track of your purchase history

If you’re planning a major home improvement project, or simply want to imagine what could be, don’t miss the Lowe’s Creative Ideas app. It boasts a project database with step-by-step instructions, ideas and tips from Lowe’s network of influential bloggers, and an interactive makeover tool that lets you “remodel” your house on your phone.


9. Menards

The iOS- and Android-compatible Menards app is a comprehensive retail aid that’s equally useful at home and in the store. My favorite features:

  • An augmented reality tool that lets  you visualize Menards products in your home – for instance, a new microwave in its natural kitchen environment or a new lounger just where you want it on the patio
  • Product calculators that tally up the amount of raw materials (and their cost) you’ll need to complete your next home improvement project
  • Barcode scans revealing detailed product information
  • Lists that you can organize by gift recipient, project, or trip
  • Customizable gift registries – definitely a help around the holidays
  • In-store maps with detailed aisle renderings

10. Overstock.com

Overstock.com doesn’t have a physical store to show off in its app, but that doesn’t stop this award-winning, iOS- and Android-compatible product from shining on Black Friday and beyond. Features that really grabbed my attention include:

  • A stunning augmented reality tool that lets you visualize how Overstock products will look in your living space
  • Daily deals (including Black Friday specials) and virtual “scratch and win” coupons that gamify the savings
  • Personalized in-app and email notifications
  • 10% off your first in-app purchase
  • One-click ordering with Apple Pay and Android Pay

11. Wayfair

Wayfair has iOS and Android apps offer targeted access to what Wayfair claims is “the largest online catalog of home furniture and decor.” With more than 7 million SKUs in all, who am I to argue?

The Wayfair app’s most notable features include:

  • Access to daily, time-limited deals, beginning at 12pm Eastern every day
  • Interactive Idea Boards, where you can post and swap decorating and home improvement ideas with fellow Wayfairers
  • App-optimized checkout
  • An augmented reality feature that maps potential purchases on existing indoor and outdoor spaces around your home

Deal-Finding and Discount Apps

Deal Finding Discount Apps

These mobile coupon apps aren’t limited to a single retailer. The deals are all that matter.

12. Capital One Shopping

Capital One Shopping is a free browser extension that helps shoppers save money on online purchases. With just one click, Capital One Shopping searches for better offers from other merchants when you browse a particular online seller. After testing all available coupon codes from hundreds of retailers (including big names like Costco and Target), Capital One Shopping applies the best coupon code from the group and displays the total potential savings.

Capital One Shopping also automatically searches for better offers from other retailers when you browse Amazon. When Capital One Shopping finds savings on a particular product, you’ll see the better price or prices with a summary of the matched product, including:

•  Total price with tax, shipping, and active coupons
•  Price history
•  Return policy
•  Delivery estimate
•  Related product deals from other Capital One Shopping users
•  Product reviews and rankings

Capital One Shopping is available for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari.

Capital One Shopping compensates us when you get the Capital One Shopping extension using the links we provided.


13. Ibotta

Ibotta is a cash back app that’s compatible with some of North America’s top retailers, from ubiquitous giants like Walmart and Amazon to regional superstores like H-E-B, apparel and home goods retailers like Under Armour and Kohl’s, and even third-party travel vendors like Travelocity and Booking.com.

Ibotta works year-round, but the volume of available deals and discounts definitely ticks up ahead of the holidays. Unlike many other cash back apps, Ibotta’s money-saving power isn’t limited to digital purchases: You can snap a picture of your in-store receipt to claim your discount retroactively. Use the Pay With Ibotta feature to claim cash back at a wider range of retailers than those found in the classic app.


14. Rakuten

The Rakuten app delivers discounts up to 40% (and higher, in some cases) from more than 2,500 retailers nationwide, including hundreds with blowout Black Friday promotions. The range of opportunities is impossible to do justice in a short blurb, but here’s a sampling:

  • Deep discounts from top online and brick-and-mortar retailers, such as Amazon, eBay, and Samsung
  • Special discounts on Lyft rides – great for beating Black Friday mall traffic
  • Push notifications when new deals come online
  • Exclusive coupon codes and discount opportunities not found anywhere else
  • In-store cash back when you securely add your credit card to the app
  • A $10 welcome bonus with your first order and a $25 referral bonus per new customer referral

15. RetailMeNot

The RetailMeNot app is one of the original digital discounting apps, and it’s still clearly among the best. With up to 70% off on select instant discounts and up to 15% cash back with select partners, RetailMeNot may offer the deepest discounts of any Black Friday app out there. It’s made all the better for its vast aperture: about three dozen shopping categories, ranging from restaurants and groceries to electronics and travel. Highlights include:

  • Up to 12% bonus value when you redeem cash back for a gift card
  • Targeted local offers through the Near Me function
  • Weekly in-store and online coupons, with volume ramping up around the holidays
  • Printable coupons for shoppers who don’t want to rely on smartphone screens

16. BeFrugal

BeFrugal has cash back relationships with more than 5,000 individual retailers and offers coupons with some 50,000 shops and stores, where users claim up to 40% off select products. Like its fellow discounting apps, BeFrugal boasts a wide range of partners, from travel and restaurant vendors to top apparel and electronics brands. Entertainment is a big business here, too, with exclusive offers from StubHub, Ticketmaster, and Fandango. Spread cheer this holiday season with a $10 bonus for each successful referral.


17. Drop

Drop is a user-friendly cash back app that rewards shoppers for direct purchases made in the app – an impossibly easy setup that makes earning rewards as easy as clicking “Check Out.” No receipt scanning or plugin activation required. Drop works with hundreds of top retail, dining, and travel brands, and boasts a slew of value-adds:

  • Themed collections tailored to shoppers’ personal preferences, reducing time spent at individual retailers’ websites on Black Friday
  • Opportunities to earn bonus cash back by watching videos or unlocking achievements
  • Referral bonuses for new Drop users
  • Opportunities to redeem rewards for gift cards, which make great last-minute holiday gifts for hard-to-shop-for recipients

18. DealNews

The DealNews app works on iOS and Android operating systems. The app works year-round, of course, but it really shines from Black Friday through Cyber Week, when the typical deal volume (some 300 per day) spikes. DealNews deals are all evaluated by professional deal-spotters who do this stuff for a living, so they’re much likelier to be worth your while than the random deals you’ll find with a cursory Google search.

Though Dealnews’s app isn’t quite as comprehensive as the desktop website, many essential features remain:

  • Today’s Best Deals, a trove of expert-vetted deals curated from around the retailsphere
  • A sophisticated deal-saving feature that lets you save non-time-limited opportunities for later – DealNews spins this as a helpful way to avoid buying products on mobile-unfriendly partner sites
  • A slew of coupon codes for hundreds of partner retailers
  • Shareable deals – perfect for spreading holiday cheer (and alerting people on your gift list)

19. Flipp

Flipp doesn’t go dormant from January through October – it was conceived as a one-stop shop for weekly flyers and ad scans. But its reason for being is definitely the holiday shopping season. Use it to collect and study Black Friday and Cyber Monday flyers as soon as they’re released to the general public: typically a few days before each holiday, depending on the retailer. More than 800 retailers participate, including big guns like Walmart and Macy’s.

The customizable shopping lists and digital clipping feature help you organize your gift list and trim your expenses – though, to be totally honest, there are more efficient apps for these purposes. Check out the coupons stash, which features rotating discounts ranging from 20% to 70% off. Flipp integrates with many retailers’ loyalty cards – just load your digital coupons and save automatically at checkout.


20. Shopkick

Shopkick is an iOS- and Android-compatible shopper loyalty app that earns real rewards on every purchase you make with participating retailers. Reward points – “kicks” – are redeemable for gift cards from Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy, and more. Use the barcode scanner for in-store purchases and the mobile checkout feature for at-home buys.

Earning rates vary by retailer, but Shopkick claims that many new users earn their first gift cards within one week of sign-up. Not bad, considering it costs nothing to take the plunge.


21. Brad’s Deals

The Brad’s Deals app is a bridge between the more impersonal coupon apps of the world and the hard-to-use Consumer Reports-style aggregators of the world. The real value here is at-a-glance access to guaranteed best prices on the latest online deals, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions. Trawl the deals while you have a spare minute at work or during your commute, then save your favorite and buy later at your convenience.


22. TGI Black Friday

The TGI Black Friday app is made for Black Friday – literally. The headline is its vast collection of accurate, up-to-the-minute Black Friday ad scans, but some other features are worth calling out too:

  • Searchable, current-year Black Friday deals database
  • Personalized shopping lists that are sure to help with your holiday gift logistics
  • Push notifications for new ads released by your favorite retailers
  • Price comparisons to ensure you’re getting the lowest advertised price anywhere

Final Word

These aren’t the only apps likely to prove useful this holiday shopping season. While researching this post, I came across a whole bunch of retail apps that weren’t quite discount-y enough to make the Black Friday cut, but still clearly had utility for harried gift-getters.

Like the Santa’s Bag app, courtesy of Clay Pot Software. With intuitive budgeting and storage features, Santa’s Bag is one of the cleverest shopping management apps I’ve ever seen. If your holiday gift recipient list is long, and you have a compatible iOS device, check it out – it’s a big improvement over handwritten lists or boring Excel spreadsheets.

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Source: moneycrashers.com

100+ Birthday Freebies — Celebrate With Free Stuff!

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Hooray! It’s your birthday!

The last thing you should do is pay for stuff. So we’ve put together a list of 100 places where you can get birthday freebies, updated for 2021.

Most of these places require you to sign up for their email list or join their rewards club at least seven days before your birthday.

So get busy now and enjoy the free birthday stuff as it rolls in on your big day.

103 Places to Get Birthday Freebies

These restaurants and retailers will provide you with free treats for your birthday. Be sure to sign up in advance.

Food & Drink

1. A&W All American Food

Get a free root beer float on your birthday by joining the Mug Club.

2. ABC Liquor

Sign up for ABC Liquor Access to get a “birthday gift.”

3. Abuelo’s

When you join the Mi Abuelo’s Rewards program, you’ll receive “special offers” on your birthday. You’ll also receive a special offer upon joining.

4. Acapulco

Sign up for the Acapulco eClub and get a free entree on your birthday. Plus, you’ll get a free appetizer with the purchase of an entree just for signing up.

5. Applebee’s

Sign up for the email club, and get $5 off when you spend at least $25. You’ll also get a free dessert on your birthday when you spend $15.

The exterior of an Arby's fast food restaurant.
Photo courtesy of Arby’s

6. Arby’s

Sign up for Arby’s emails and get a free small milkshake and curly fries on your birthday when you buy any sandwich. You’ll also get 50% off the sandwich or wrap of your choice when you sign up.

7. Au Bon Pain

Join the Eclub, and get a free coffee and pastry on your birthday. You’ll also get a travel mug just for signing up.

8. Auntie Anne’s

Download the Pretzel Perks app, and get a free pretzel on your birthday.

9. Baja Fresh

Sign up for Club Baja to get a “special offer” on your birthday.

10. Baskin Robbins

Create an account, join the Birthday Club, and get a free scoop of ice cream on your birthday.

11. bd’s Mongolian Grill

Get a free meal on your birthday when you join the bd’s Rewards eClub, plus get a $5 coupon just for signing up.

12. Benihana’s

Register for the Chef’s Table, and you’ll get a $30 birthday certificate.

13. Big Boy

Joining the I Love Big Boy email club gets you a free meal on your birthday.

14. BJ’s Brewhouse

Join Premier Rewards Plus and get a free Pizookie for your birthday. What’s that? It’s a big, warm cookie smothered in ice cream… yum. What’s even better is you don’t have to wait for your birthday – you’ll also get a free Pizookie just for signing up.

15. Black Angus Steakhouse

Join the Prime Club to get a free steak dinner on your first birthday as a member.

16. Bojangles

Get a free Bo-Berry Biscuit with a purchase on your birthday as a member of the Bojangles’ eClub.

17. Bruegger’s Bagels

Members of the Bruegger’s Bagels Inner Circle will enjoy a free bagel and cream cheese on their birthday, and another free bagel and cream cheese just for signing up.

18. Buca di Beppo

You’ll receive a free pasta after signing up, as well as a $20 birthday gift for joining the eClub.

The sign of Buffalo Wild Wings is photographed.
Tina Russell/ The Penny Hoarder

19. Buffalo Wild Wings

Sign up for Blazin’ Rewards to get free birthday wings during your birth month.

20. Carvel

Join Fudgie Fanatics to receive a free treat for your birthday. You can get a small soft serve birthday cone, take $2 off any cake (except for a small square) or take $3 off any sheet cake.

21. Chevys Fresh Mex

Members of the eClub get a free entree on their birthday, as well as a free appetizer for signing up.

22. Chick-fil-A

Join Chick-fil-A One to get a “birthday reward.”

23. Chili’s

Get a free dessert for your birthday when you join My Chili’s Rewards Club. Plus, as long as you spend $5, you get free chips and salsa or a non-alcoholic beverage with every visit!

24. Chipotle

Join the Chipotle rewards program to get free chips and guacamole on your birthday when you make a purchase of $5 or more. When you sign up and make your first purchase, you’ll also get free chips and a choice of guacamole, queso blanco or salsa.

25. Cinnabon

Subscribe to Club Cinnabon to get a free iced coffee on your birthday and a free order of BonBites for signing up.

26. Cold Stone Creamery

Get a BOGO coupon for your birthday by signing up for the My Cold Stone Club. You’ll also get a BOGO coupon just for signing up!

Two sundaes at Culver's.
Photo courtesy of Culver’s

27. Culver’s

Enjoy a free sundae on your birthday when you sign up for MyCulver’s. You’ll also get a BOGO value basket when you sign up.

28. Del Taco

If you join Del Yeah! Rewards, you can enjoy a regular-size premium shake for your birthday. If you’ve racked up more than 1,500 points, you’ll get your choice of a shake or any dessert — except for Caramel Cheesecake Bites.

Plus you’ll get two free The Del tacos when you sign up.

29. Denny’s

Sign up for Denny’s Rewards program online or via the mobile app. You’ll get 20% off your next visit, plus during your birthday month you’ll get your choice of a free dessert or a free Birthday Slam, which includes pancakes, eggs and your choice of bacon or sausage.

30. Dippin’ Dots

Get free Dippin’ Dots for your birthday when you join the Dot Crazy! Email Club.

31. Dunkin’ Donuts

Get a free beverage on your birthday by signing up for the DD Perks Rewards Program.

32. Edible Arrangements

Join Edible Rewards and receive a free 12-count chocolate dipped fruit box (valued at $29.99) during your birthday month as long as you’ve spent at least $29.99 in the past calendar year. You’ll also get a $5 coupon for signing up (valid for 30 days).

33. Einstein Bros. Bagels

Get a free egg sandwich with a purchase on your birthday when you join the Shmear Society — not totally free, but hey, you’ll need something to help wash that sandwich down. You’ll have 14 days to claim your reward.

34. Famous Dave’s

Join the Famous Nation and get a free dessert with a value of up to $9.00 for your birthday.

35. Firehouse Subs

Sign up for Firehouse Rewards for a free medium sub on your birthday or in the six days that follow it.

36. First Watch

Get a BOGO breakfast, brunch or lunch for your birthday as a member of the Sun EClub.

37. Friendly’s

When you become a BFF Club member, you’ll receive a free birthday sundae.

38. Godiva

As a member of the Godiva Rewards Club, you’ll get a free birthday chocolate offer every year.

39. Habit Burger Grill

Be sure to join Habit Burger Grill’s CharClub to enjoy a free Charburger on your birthday.

40. Hooters

Get 10 free boneless birthday wings when you sign up for Hootclub. You’ll also get a free appetizer of $8.99 or less when you sign up — and after every eighth visit..

41. Houlihan’s Restaurant and Bar

Email club members get a free birthday entree, plus $10 off just for joining.

42. IHOP

Sign up for MyHop and get free pancakes on your birthday. You’ll also get free pancakes on the anniversary of your sign-up.

A woman smiles as she holds up a drink and a sub she got for free from Jersey Mike's Subs.
Robin Hartill scored a free birthday sub she got from Jersey Mike’s Sub in Saint Petersburg, Fla. Tina Russell/ The Penny Hoarder

43. Jersey Mike’s Subs

Get a free birthday sub when you sign up for the email club.

44. Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme Rewards members receive a free Original Glazed Dozen. You’ll also get a free doughnut when you sign up.

45. Longhorn Steakhouse

As a member of the Longhorn Steakhouse’s eClub, you’ll get “special offers and coupons” on your birthday. You’ll also get a free appetizer with the purchase of an entree when you sign up.

46. Marie Callender’s

Join the eClub, and get $5 off the purchase of two entrees, plus two free slices of pie. You’ll also get a special dine-in offer for signing up. The company also sends special offers for your wedding anniversary and allows you to add family members so they can get birthday rewards.

47. Moe’s Southwest Grill

Sign up for Moe Rewards and get a coupon for a free birthday burrito, plus a free cup of queso just for signing up.

48. Nothing Bundt Cakes

Join the Nothing Bundt Cakes eClub and get a free Bundtlet on your birthday.

49. Olive Garden

Get a complimentary dessert on your birthday. No signup necessary..

50. On the Border

Join Border Rewardsand get a ‘special surprise’ on your birthday. Plus, when you sign up, you’ll get a free dessert with the purchase of an entree.

51. Pei Wei

Sign up for My Wei Rewards and choose from these birthday freebies: crab wontons, traditional edamame, vegetable spring rolls or pork egg roll. The reward will automatically appear in your app seven days prior to your birthday.

52. Perkins

Members of the MyPerkins Club receive a “special gift” on their birthdays. Plus you’ll get a 20% off coupon for signing up. You will also be able to add your children ages 12 and under so they can get birthday rewards, too.

53. Pinkberry

Sign up for a Pinkcard or download the app, and receive a free yogurt on your birthday.

54. Pita Pit

Sign up for the Pita Pit Rewards Club and receive a free pita on your birthday.

The exterior of Pizza Hut.
Photo courtesy of Pizza Hut

55. Pizza Hut

Join the Hut Rewards program to get a “birthday reward.”

56. Planet Smoothie

Join the Planet Smoothie Club and receive a free smoothie for your birthday.

57. Red Lobster

Enjoy a “birthday reward” when you sign up for the My Red Lobster Rewards program.

58. Red Robin

Register for the Red Robin Royalty Program, and get a free birthday burger.

59. Rita’s

Get a free Italian ice on your birthday when you download Rita’s Ice App.

60. Romano’s Macaroni Grill

Sign up for the email club, and get a free dessert on your birthday with the purchase of an adult entree.

61. Ruby Tuesday

As a member of So Connected, you’ll get a choice of a free burger or a free garden bar entree on your birthday. You’ll also get a $5 off coupon for signing up.

62. Sbarro

Become a member of the Slice Society to get a birthday surprise. You’ll also get a free New York slice when you buy a beverage after signing up.

63. Sonny’s BBQ

Get a free Big Deal Combo meal on your big day by joining the ‘Q Crew, plus a $5 coupon just for joining.

64. Sprinkles

Receive a free cupcake (make that a baker’s dozen if you’re a Red Velvet tier member) for your birthday when you join Sprinkles Perks.

Robin Hartill, an editor at The Penny Hoarder, sips an iced coffee she got for free on her birthday at Starbucks in Saint Petersburg, Fla.
Hartill sips an iced coffee she got for free on her birthday at Starbucks in Saint Petersburg, Fla. Tina Russell/ The Penny Hoarder

65. Starbucks

Get a birthday beverage or food item as a member of Starbucks Rewards.

66. Subway

Sign up for the Subway MyWay Rewards program and the sandwich-making company will give you “something special” on your birthday.

67. TCBY

Sign up for TCBY emails, and receive your first 3 ounces free on your birthday — as long as you’ve spent $100 at TCBY over the past year.

68. Texas Roadhouse

Sign up for the email club and you’ll get a free appetizer or a sidekick of ribs on your birthday.

69. The Melting Pot

Members of Club Fondue will get a “birthday voucher.”

70. The Spaghetti Warehouse

Join the Warehouse Club, and get a free meal on your birthday, plus a free appetizer with an entree purchase for becoming a member of the club.

71. Tijuana Flats

Become a Flathead and receive a free dessert for your birthday. You’ll also get a free Tijuana Trio when you sign up.

72. Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Download the Tropical Smoothie Cafe app to be eligible for a birthday reward. What you get depends on your loyalty tier, but it ranges from a $2 reward to a free menu item.

73. Uno Pizzeria & Grill

Join the Uno Extras program, and receive a birthday coupon, as well as a free individual pizza.

74. Waffle House

Make sure you’re a member of the Waffle House Regulars Club to receive a free waffle on your birthday. You’ll also get free hashbrowns when you sign up. Additionally, Regulars receive an Anniversary Bacon Coupon, seasonal coupons, and other offers throughout the year.

75. Wienerschnitzel

Join the Wiener Lovers’ Club, and get a “free food” each year on your birthday, plus a free chili dog for joining.

76. Zaxby’s

Sign up for the Zax Club and get a free “birthday surprise” , plus a free signature sandwich for signing up.

Entertainment

77. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Join Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s Victory program and get a free movie ticket on your birthday every year. If you visit Alamo Drafthouse Cinema more than 50 times per year, you’ll get two free tickets for your birthday.

78. AMC Theatres

Become an AMC Stubs Insider to get a free large popcorn during your birthday month. If you’re a Premiere or A-List member, you’ll also get a free large fountain drink.

People wait outside Best Buy on Black Friday.
Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

79. Best Buy

My Best Buy members get a “birthday gift.”

80. Harkins Theatres

Sign up for My Harkins Rewards and receive a $5 birthday coupon to use at the concessions.

81. Hard Rock

Sign up for Hard Rock Rewards to get an “annual birthday offer” from the cafe and shops.

82. Redbox

Sign up for Redbox Perks and receive a free birthday rental (it must be used within 60 days). If you have made 50 purchases or rentals, you’ll get two free birthday rentals.You’ll also get a free one-night rental for signing up (that offer is valid for two weeks).

Clothes & Shoes

83. Anthropologie

As a member of the Anthro Loyalty program, you will get a “special treat to celebrate your birthday.”

84. Banana Republic

When you sign up to receive Banana Republic’s emails, you can opt to also get a “birthday gift.”

85. Columbia

Members of the Greater Rewards program get a “birthday gift” in addition to a welcome gift from the sportswear and outdoor gear retailer.

Penny Hoarder senior writer Robin Hartill knows how to score the freebies on her birthday. Check out her haul.

86. Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW)

Join the free DSW VIP Club to get a $5 birthday reward. You’ll also get $5 on your birthday if you spend $200 annually as a VIP Gold member, and you’ll get $10 if you spend $500 annually as a VIP Elite member.

87. Famous Footwear

Famously You Rewards members get a $5 birthday cash reward. You’ll also earn double points on all of your purchases during your birthday month.

88. JCPenney

Receive a birthday gift when you sign up for JCPenney Rewards. If you are not a JCPenney credit card member, you must have earned points within the last 12 months. If you are a credit card member, you must have made a purchase with your JCPenney Credit Card within the past 12 months.

The exterior of a Kohls store.
Getty Images

89. Kohl’s

Members of the Kohl’s Rewards program get a “special birthday gift.”

90. Old Navy

When you join Navyist Rewards, you’re eligible for one free “birthday surprise.”

91. Torrid

Sign up for Torrid Rewards and get a coupon for $10 off during your birthday month.

92. Uniqlo

Download the Uniqlo app to get a birthday coupon during your birthday month.

Beauty & Jewelry

93. Aveda

You need to pay $10 to join Aveda’s loyalty rewards program, but you’ll receive a birthday gift valued at $23, as well as double points for your next Aveda purchase.

94. bareMinerals

Sign up for the Friends and Benefits loyalty program to get “birthday gifts.”

95. Kendra Scott

Kendra Scott offers a 50% birthday discount on one fashion jewelry or color bar item. It also offers a 25% discount on fine jewelry, sterling silver jewelry or gold vermeil jewelry. You can also get 25% off a home goods item. Find out more information here.

96. Pandora

Members of the Pandora Club get a 15% discount during their birthday month. This offer can only be used one time and is valid on regular-priced jewelry only.

97. Sephora

Beauty Insiders are eligible to choose a free makeup or skin care gift for their birthday.

98. Ulta Beauty

As an Ultamate Rewards member, you’ll get a free gift. If you’ve spent enough money to be a Platinum ($500) or Diamond ($1,200) member, you get an additional bonus gift.

During your birthday month, you’ll earn double points on all of your purchases.

Miscellaneous

99. Ace Hardware

Ace Rewards members get $5 off for their birthday at participating locations. If you’ve spent $750 at Ace Hardware over a 12-month period, your birthday rewards get bumped up to $10 off, regardless of location.

100. Container Store

Join the POP! (Perfectly Organized Perks) program to get a birthday gift.

The exterior of a CVS is photographed in Florida.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

101. CVS Pharmacy

As a member of the ExtraCare program, you’ll get a free, $3 Extrabucks reward on your birthday, as well as 2% back every time you shop.

102. Swagbucks

As a birthday reward, “you’ll receive a Swag Up for a 55 SB credit when you redeem your next gift card.”

103. World Market

Members of World Market Rewards get a “surprise offer” on their birthday, plus a 15% coupon for signing up.

The Penny Hoarder Staff

Source: thepennyhoarder.com

Say Goodbye to 3G Phone Service

Is your mobile phone more than a few years old? You may need to upgrade—fast. The shutdown of 3G cellular service by all of the major cell-phone carriers—AT&T, T-Mobile (which owns Sprint) and Verizon—is under way and will be completed next year. The long-planned sunset of 3G will free up airwaves for 5G and other advanced services.  That’s the good news. The bad news is that if you have a device that relies on the old wireless standard, you will no longer be able to use some data services, send texts or make phone calls, including dialing 911.

Millions of phones and other commonly used products still harness 3G, including home security systems, medical devices and personal emergency response systems. Adding to the confusion, older 4G phones that don’t support modern cellular voice technologies, such as Voice Over LTE or HD Voice, are impacted, too. Those customers may need a software upgrade or a new phone.

The time lines for shutdowns vary, but they will be wrapped up as early as January for Sprint’s 3G network. Other carriers, including prepaid providers Cricket, Boost and Straight Talk, are also affected, because they rely on airwaves from the Big Three.

Do you need to upgrade? How do you know if your aging phone is at risk? Carriers say they have been reminding customers who need to act via direct mail, e-mail and text. Your carrier’s website may provide a list of affected devices. You can also look up the model number online and search for product details of the phone, including the mobile broadband generation (3G, 4G, 5G). If you see it’s a 3G generation phone, you know you are affected. You can also look for a “3G” icon at the top corner of your phone, but be careful: Not all 3G phones have that icon.

If you need to upgrade to a new phone, shop for deals. Discounts—or in some cases, free upgrades—are available. T-Mobile, for example, offers Sprint 3G customers the same monthly rate for 4G/5G service and a free device upgrade.

Wondering what to do with your old phone? If it has Wi-Fi capabilities, you can still use it to watch TV or play games over the internet. Otherwise, you’re probably going to have to recycle it. Some large retailers, such as Best Buy, offer recycling programs for old electronics. You can look into local recycling programs at www.earth911.com.

The end of 3G

Below is the time line for the shutdown of 3G services. After the shutdown is complete, phones and other devices that rely on this standard will no longer be able to make calls or perform other tasks that require a cellular connection.

  • AT&T – February 2022*
  • Sprint (owned by T-Mobile) – January 1, 2022 (Sprint LTE shutdown – June 20, 2022)
  • T-Mobile – July 1, 2022
  • Verizon – December 31, 2022

*AT&T has not provided a specific date in February 2022 for its shutdown.

Source: kiplinger.com

11 Best Browser Extensions to Save Money While Shopping Online

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Dig Deeper

Additional Resources

Americans are shopping online more than ever before. According to the United States Census Bureau, online retailers in the U.S. took in about $759 billion in 2020. That’s more than 13% of all retail sales in the country.

As we spend more online, we’ve become more interested in finding ways to save online. We use sites to compare prices across multiple sites and search for coupon codes that provide deals like discounts or free shipping. Tricks like that can save you money, but they take extra time — sometimes more than it’s worth to save a dollar or two.

Fortunately, there’s an easier way to save when you shop online. All you have to do is install a browser extension, a plug-in that extends the capabilities of a Web browser such as Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. But to leverage the online savings, you need to choose the best browser extension for your shopping needs. 

Several money-saving browser extensions can do the work of online bargain-hunting for you. Some compare prices, some find and apply coupon codes, and some help you cash in on cash-back deals. And the best of the bunch can do all three.

1. Capital One Shopping

The Capital One Shopping add-on is an online shopping assistant that uses real-time data from its millions of users to find you better deals. As more people use Capital One Shopping, it gets better at finding low prices and coupon codes that work.

Capital One Shopping combines several of the features of other browser add-ons in one. These include:

  • Price Checking. When you search for a product online or scan a bar code in a store, Capital One Shopping searches for better prices elsewhere. It displays all the prices it finds from Amazon sellers and other top retailers on a single page. 
  • Coupon Checking. When you add something to your online shopping cart, Capital One Shopping goes into coupon-checking mode. It checks multiple coupon codes to see which ones have worked for other Capital One Shopping users and automatically applies the one that gives you the bigger discount. 
  • Price Tracking. If you decide not to make a purchase, Capital One Shopping continues to track prices for the product. If it goes on sale, the app notifies you so you can jump on the bargain.
  • Shopping Rewards. Capital One Shopping also functions as a rewards app. When you shop through the extension, you earn rewards credits at its partner stores, including eBay and Walmart. You can cash in your credits for gift cards at these same stores at Capital One Shopping’s website.

Capital One Shopping is available for Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari. There’s also a Capital One Shopping mobile app for iOS and Android.

Read our Capital One Shopping review for more information.

Add Capital One Shopping Extention

Capital One Shopping compensates us when you sign up for Capital One Shopping using the links we provided.


2. Honey

Of all the money-saving extensions you can add to your browser, none get more rave reviews than Honey by PayPal. This free add-on saves you money in various ways:

  • Coupon Codes. Honey automatically seeks out promo codes for over 30,000 online retailers, including Amazon, Macy’s, Target, and even eateries such as Pizza Hut. The extension compares all the available codes for the site you’re shopping and automatically applies the one that gives you the biggest discount.
  • Amazon Price Comparison. When you shop on Amazon, Honey tells you which of the site’s many sellers offers the best final price on a product, including sales tax and shipping. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, Honey factors that in when calculating shipping costs.
  • Price History. Honey also tracks price changes on Amazon. It can show you how a product’s price has changed over the last 30, 60, 90, or 120 days. If you don’t like the current price, you can add the product to your Droplist and have Honey notify you when the price drops.
  • Cash Back. Shopping with Honey earns you cash back, or Honey Gold, at over 4,500 participating sites, including Macy’s, Groupon, and Walmart. Just click a browser button to activate your rewards, and Honey applies them while searching for coupons at checkout. You can cash in Honey Gold for gift cards from participating stores.
  • Referral Bonuses. You can also earn bonuses for referring your friends to Honey. You send them a link, and when they sign up and make their first purchase, you earn 500 Honey Gold — the equivalent of $5.

Honey works with Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera, and Safari browsers.

Honey also offers a rewards app for iOS versions 13 and up called the Honey Smart Shopping Assistant. Like the browser add-on, it can automatically find and apply coupon codes and deals, but it has an extra perk: You can access all your favorite stores at once through the app. That allows you to find the best deal and cash in without having to visit multiple sites.

Read our Honey review for more information.

Add Honey Extension


3. Rakuten Cash Back Button

The rewards site Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates) offers a browser extension called the Cash Back Button. It gives you access to both cash back and coupon codes at over 2,500 stores. 

The extension displays a pop-up message to tell you when there’s cash back available at a store you’re shopping. If there is, you can just click to activate it. Rakuten can even show you which sites have cash-back offers directly in your search results on Google, Yahoo, or Bing. You can compare cash-back offers across multiple stores and choose the best deal. 

The money you earn goes into your Rakuten account, and you can cash it in once per quarter for a check or PayPal credit. You can also choose to use the Cash Back for Change feature to donate some of your credit to charity. Rakuten rounds your check or credit down to the nearest dollar and divides the change among three worthy charities.

The Cash Back Button also seeks out coupon codes when you shop. Just click “Apply Coupon” at checkout, and the extension automatically applies the coupon or promo code that gives you the best discount. It can even let you know when there’s a Groupon offer available at a local business you search for on Yelp or Google Maps.

The Rakuten Cash Back Button is free to install. It’s available for Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.

Read our Rakuten review for more information.

Add Rakuten Extension


4. CouponCabin Sidekick

CouponCabin Sidekick is a free browser extension from the rewards site CouponCabin. It has two primary features: coupon codes and cash-back offers.

To get cash back from CouponCabin Sidekick, you must log in to your CouponCabin account before shopping (you can’t receive cash back if you added a product to your cart before logging in). Click through from your account to one of CouponCabin’s 3,500 partner stores to see how much cash back you can earn there. 

There are a few limitations when shopping with Sidekick. You can’t earn cash back on orders through a store’s mobile app or those placed online and picked up in-store. You can’t use the extension with a firewall or ad-blocking software. And you can’t combine cash-back offers from Sidekick with any coupon that’s not from CouponCabin, even one from the store itself.

On the plus side, CouponCabin Sidekick lists the available offers both when you shop and when you search on Google. For instance, let’s say you’re searching for a DVD set. Right in your search results above the name of each store that offers the DVD set, the extension displays a little cabin icon showing what discounts and cash-back offers are available at that particular store.

CouponCabin Sidekick is available for Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari.

Add CouponCabin Sidekick Extension


5. Ibotta

Ibotta, a popular mobile coupon app, is also now available as a Firefox or Chrome extension. To use the Ibotta extension, you must first set up an Ibotta account if you don’t already have one. The Ibotta extension requires you to log in to your account before shopping to earn rewards. 

It works with over 1,000 online retailers, including Overstock, Petco, and Bed Bath & Beyond. When you purchase through one of these sites, the app displays a button showing how much cash back you can earn. Click it to activate rewards, then shop and pay as usual.

This browser add-on also works with online grocery delivery services like Instacart. When you shop through these services, the extension highlights cash-back offers with a pink box around the cash-back-eligible product. Click to buy, and the cash shows up in your Ibotta account within 24 hours. 

As soon as you have at least $20 in your account, you can log into the Ibotta app on your mobile device to cash in your earnings. You can opt for a bank transfer, PayPal deposit, or gift card.

Reach out Ibotta review for more information.

Add Ibotta Extension


6. Earny

If you like lotteries and sweepstakes, Earny is for you. This Chrome extension earns you cash back on your online purchases and enters you into a prize drawing with every action you take on the app. The more tickets you earn, the higher your chances of winning prizes such as cash, prepaid Visa cards, and free Amazon gift cards.

Other features of Earny include:

  • Cash back on up to 5,000 brands
  • Extra cash back when you share links with friends
  • Price tracking and price drop alerts for goods on your Amazon wish lists
  • Up to 90 days of price protection on purchases at more than 15 major retailers
  • Notifications when an Amazon package arrives late so you can request compensation

Add Earny Extension


7. The Camelizer

Frequent Amazon shoppers already know about the website CamelCamelCamel, which tracks the prices of millions of Amazon products over time. Since prices on Amazon change daily (sometimes even minute by minute), being able to see a product’s price history helps you figure out whether the current price is a good deal or not. 

CamelCamelCamel also offers a free browser extension called The Camelizer for Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera, and Safari. This add-on lets you see a product’s price history directly from Amazon without having to visit a separate page. And like the website, it can also import your Amazon wish list and alert you when the price of any product on it drops.

Currently, The Camelizer only tracks Amazon prices. But it has covered a couple of other retailers in the past and could do so again in the future.

Add The Camelizer Extension


The free PriceBlink extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari helps you find the best price for a product. But instead of tracking prices over time on just one site like The Camelizer does, PriceBlink compares prices across thousands of sites and lets you know when there’s a better deal elsewhere.

For instance, let’s say you’re looking at a pair of boots Amazon sells for $100. PriceBlink recognizes the brand and style and instantly searches more than 4,000 other sites to see if any other retailer carries the same boots for less. If it finds one, the lower price pops up on the PriceBlink toolbar, and you can simply click to view the listing.

PriceBlink can also help you find coupon codes. When you visit a retail site, the PriceBlink toolbar shows you a list of the best coupons available on that site. Click on an offer to copy the coupon code to your clipboard. Then, paste it into the appropriate field at checkout. 

If you’re not sure what product you want to buy, PriceBlink can help you there too. When looking at a product on a retail site, you can click “Ratings” in the PriceBlink toolbar to see how users rated the product on other sites. That gives you a better overall picture of users’ opinions than the ratings on just one site.

If that sounds like a lot of information to have cluttering up your screen, don’t worry. The PriceBlink toolbar stays hidden most of the time and only pops up when it finds you a deal on a particular product you’re viewing.

Add PriceBlink Extension


9. Fakespot

Comparing online product reviews through PriceBlink is handy, but there’s one problem: You can’t be sure those reviews are authentic. Sometimes, sellers on Amazon and other sites hire people to post good reviews for their products. You can’t always tell if a product has a 5-star overall rating because it’s a fantastic product or because the company paid lots of people to say it is.

That’s where Fakespot comes in. This free plug-in for Firefox or Chrome (also available as an iOS or Android app) analyzes reviews on Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, TripAdvisor, Sephora, Steam, or Yelp. It looks for suspicious patterns that suggest the reviews are fake. It then gives the product a grade from A to F to indicate how trustworthy the reviews are. 

If you want, you can click on this grade to see a more detailed analysis showing which phrases reviewers are using most often and what percentage of the reviews appear to be legit. It also highlights the most important points made in the legitimate reviews. 

Fakespot also checks ratings for eBay and third-party sellers on Amazon. If the reviews suggest a seller is unreliable, the extension recommends an alternative seller for the same product. 

Fakespot has several options to make it easier to use. For example, it can show Fakespot grades on Amazon product pages and listing pages so you can simply skip over products with a bunch of bogus reviews. It can also sort and filter Google search results based on Fakespot grades. But you can turn these features off if you don’t want to use them.

To use Fakespot, you must either have a Google account or create a Fakespot account. If you choose the latter option, Fakespot tracks your product searches and sends you product updates and offers from its partners.

Add PriceBlink Extension


10. InvisibleHand

InvisibleHand compares prices when you shop and links to the lowest price on a product you’re viewing. But InvisibleHand works with fewer retailers than PriceBlink: Sears, Lowe’s, Best Buy, and Newegg.

The primary use of InvisibleHand is for finding travel deals. When you search for flights on an airline’s website, InvisibleHand lets you know if there’s a cheaper flight available to the same destination and gives you a link directly to the lowest price. It can also find deals on hotels and rental cars.

Another unique feature of InvisibleHand is that it can find hidden prices on retail sites. Some retailers don’t reveal the price of merchandise until you put it in your shopping cart. Typically, they do that because they’re not allowed to advertise the product for less than a certain minimum price. InvisibleHand gets around that limitation, ferreting out and showing you the real price of the product.

InvisibleHand is available for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.

Add InvisibleHand Extension


11. Piggy

The Piggy extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari is primarily a coupon finder. It works with thousands of online stores, including major retailers like Macy’s and Walmart, hotel chains like Hilton, car rental services like Hertz, and deal sites like Groupon. When you shop on these sites, Piggy seeks out and tests every coupon code available for that site and applies the one that gives you the most savings.

However, Piggy has a perk other coupon apps don’t have: It can find you special deals at hotels, including rates hotels haven’t officially published online. That makes Piggy an excellent choice for frequent travelers.

Piggy also has a cash-back feature. In addition to looking for coupons when you check out, it lets you earn cash back at more than 6,000 stores. When the earnings in your Piggy account reach $25, it automatically sends you a check.

Add Piggy Extension


Final Word

Each of these browser extensions can save you money on its own. However, there’s no need to limit yourself to just one. 

For instance, if you’re shopping on Amazon, you can use Fakespot to see if the reviews are legit. If it looks good, you can consult The Camelizer to see how Amazon’s price for the product looks today and whether you should wait for a better deal. And finally, you can check PriceBlink to see if there’s a better price available on another site.

Even when two different add-ons have similar benefits — for instance, finding coupon codes and cash-back offers — it can’t hurt to have both installed. The list of retail sites that work with Honey isn’t necessarily identical to the list for Rakuten or CouponCabin Sidekick, so installing all three increases your chances of finding a deal. 

You can’t earn cash back from more than one extension for the same purchase. However, you can sometimes use a coupon code from one and earn cash back from another. By having an assortment of browser add-ons to choose from, you can ensure you always get the best possible combination of deals.

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Source: moneycrashers.com

​18 Deal Sites and Tools for Finding Online Shopping Bargains

Those deep discounts you’re seeking while shopping online could be eluding you if you’re not comparison shopping. But racing around the internet looking for the lowest price could be a dive down a rabbit hole, a time suck, especially when time isn’t on your side. You need that bargain right now.

We surveyed smart shopping experts and evaluated a variety of deal sites and online shopping tools ourselves to identify these 18 sure-fire ways to save money every time you shop online.

If shopping for discounts is as exciting to you as shopping for clothes or gadgets themselves, consider visiting some of our favorite deal sites to search for special offers yourself.

Or let a browser extension do the work for you. They can speed through the web hunting for deals on laptops, clothing, household items, jewelry and more in a matter of seconds. (All the recommended browser extensions here are free and available on Chrome, Firefox and Safari.)

Take a look.

Best Site to Find Free Shipping Deals

When shopping online, finding a great deal gets even sweeter when you can score free shipping, too, a perk Amazon Prime forged into a mainstay of internet shopping. But trying to track down promo codes that actually work, as well as retailers that offer the perk, can be frustrating if you don’t know where to look. Skip hopping from site to site and check out FreeShipping org. It’s a web site that aggregates all of the retailers — big and small — that offer free shipping and other discounts to customers. The site includes the terms and conditions of the free shipping deal and the promo code, where applicable. For example, a recent promotion we found on the site for Lands’ End included 40% off full-price styles plus free shipping when using the discount code BRIGHT.

Best Sites and Browser Extensions for Price Comparisons

Save yourself the hassle of digging into multiple websites to find the best price on items you’re buying online. Consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch recommends the browser extension Popcart, which sends a pop-up notification any time a product you’re looking at is cheaper on a competitor site. In addition to retail price comparisons, the browser extension also compares unit prices on items (check out this video to see how).

Woroch also digs deal aggregator site CouponFollow.com. It organize coupons by store name to help shoppers pinpoint the best deal quickly. 

You probably already buy a lot at Amazon.com. Should it be even more? Install the Amazon Assistant browser extension, says smart shopping expert Trae Bodge of TrueTrae.com, to see how Amazon’s prices stack up as you shop products on competing sites. See how it works here.

Best Deal Sites and Browser Extensions for Coupons and Promo Codes

Our sources recommend CouponCabin.com for its vast collection of online promo codes and printable coupons that can be used in-store. Consumers can find deals from online and brick-and-mortar retailers such as Nike, Overstock.com and Target. The site also maintains a list of retailers’ active cashback offers. Savvy shoppers might even be able to combine coupon codes and cashback offers to maximize savings, says TrueTrae.com’s Trae Bodge.

The Honey browser extension helps save shoppers time and money by doing all the work, says Kyle James, founder of Rather-Be-Shopping.com. After registering for the site and downloading the extension, you’ll see a Honey widget appear when you check out at any participating retailer. The widget searches the web for all relevant promo codes and applies the one with the biggest savings to your order. A note to Amazon loyalists: If you’re searching for a specific product, this browser extension will track down the lowest price among Amazon sellers offering the same item and notify you. It even factors in shipping costs before selecting the best seller. Watch this YouTube clip for a tutorial on how to install and use Honey.

Next time you go on an online spending spree, consider using Cently, recommends consumer savings expert Woroch. It’s a browser extension that automatically searches for coupon codes while you shop, tests them and applies the one with the biggest savings to your order. You can even score cashback on your purchases when using Cently. Unlike similar extensions, you don’t have to divulge your personal information by becoming a registered user. Watch this video to see how it works.

Best Site for Daily Deals

DealNews.com is a go-to resource for the retail experts here at Kiplinger. The site offers a curated selection of product deals — ranging from electronics to home goods — that gets updated daily. Bargain hunters can also find smart shopping tips on the site’s blog. Some recent topics include a list of the retailers with the best customer rewards programs, as well as determining when is the best time of year to buy a smart phone. Also, we often call on DealNews experts during the holiday shopping season for advice on where to find the best Black Friday sales.

Best Sites for Deals on Travel

If you’re planning to travel during the pandemic, you can still take advantage of historically low prices on airfare and hotel packages. To find the best travel deals, we often recommend these three sites to help get the most value for your money:

Best Sites for Deals on Gift Cards

No matter if you’re buying a gift card as a present or purchasing one for yourself (to prevent overspending), you can always find them at a lower price through an online gift card exchange site compared to buying direct from the retailer or at retail displays of gift cards in supermarkets. Try these two:

  • GiftDeals (formerly CardPool) offers discounted gift cards from the likes of Best Buy, Nordstrom and Patagonia for up to 35% off face-value. For example, we spotted a $25 Fandango gift card selling for $18.76 — that’s 25% off. The cards available on GiftDeals have no expiration date, no fees and come with a 60-day purchase guarantee of validity. The site says it does this to encourage buyers to use the cards sooner rather than later.
  • GiftCardGranny is another gift card exchange site worth a look thanks to its vast selection and cashback rewards, says TrueTrae.com’s Bodge. You can earn cashback by purchasing select gift cards (think: Lowe’s, Uber Eats and Apple’s App Store) and then redeem the rewards for a direct payout or free gift cards once you’ve earned at least $5 in rewards. In addition to big name retailers, you can also find gift cards for local businesses based on the zip code you enter into the search field.

Also, if you’re a warehouse club member (think Costco), you may be able to pick up gift cards at a discount price in-store or online.

Best Apps and Browser Extensions for Cash-Back Rebates

We’ve previously written about browser extension Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates) and why you should take advantage of its rebate offers while shopping online. Once you’ve downloaded the browser extension, sign up for a Rakuten account. After you’ve registered, you’ll gain access to 2,500 online retailers where you can earn up to 40% in cashback rewards. Participating stores include Nordstrom, Kohl’s and Best Buy. You can also find travel and vacation deals from Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz and VRBO where you can earn as much as 5% cashback after booking your travel arrangements. Rakuten even has a blog with helpful tips on how to get the most bang for your buck (and maximize cashback rewards) when shopping on partner sites. 

If you frequently shop using a smart phone, consider downloading a mobile app such as Ibotta that lets you earn cashback on everyday purchases, suggests Rather-Be-Shopping.com’s James. You can score money back on everything from grocery items to pet supplies purchased through the app, which requires linking a credit or debit card to your Ibotta account.

“You can even supercharge your cash back earnings by using your cash back card with a cash back payment app — you will earn 4% cash back every time you pay using the Slide with one of their partner stores,” says Woroch. “Since payments are ultimately processed through a linked credit card, you will get double the rewards just like that.”

Best Sites for Deals on Insurance

Don’t limit your comparison-shopping to traditional retail purchases such as clothes, electronics and household goods. You can even use online sites and tools to help score the best rates on insurance policies. One such site we recommend at Kiplinger is Policygenius.com (listen to our Your Money’s Worth podcast episode with the company’s co-founder and CEO), where you can get price quotes for a range of policies including life, homeowners, auto and renters insurance.

If you need life or long-term care insurance, consider using AccuQuote.com. You’ll have to cough up your contact information so an agent can follow-up with you directly at a later date, but you’ll immediately receive a list of insurers that match your profile and estimated monthly premiums for each plan. For help on selecting the right life insurance plan, see our story How to Shop for Life Insurance.

Source: kiplinger.com