Our Biggest Shopping Guide

 

It's out! Our Biggest Holiday Shopping Guide is here.

Updated: We're adding the top Christmas sales and all the best holiday deals as they become available. And, we've bundled them up into this convenient holiday shopping guide.

To navigate this page, this helpful guide is divided into several sections to help you shop for gifts the way you want:

In this Shopping Guide you will find:

  • Our Opening Prayer: Prayer for a Safe and Festive Holiday Season
  • Online Holiday Shopping Scams You'll Want to Avoid
  • Travel: Mid Range, Low Budget, and No Budget; Sky Scanner Deals
  • Best Shops and Stores - Best Christmas Deals: Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, Kohl's, Macy's, Target, Walmart; Best Meal Deals
  • Best Shopping Apps: Ibotta, Honey, Flipp, Ebates, SlickDeals, Dosh, and RetailMeNot
  • Best Deal Sites: Deal Oz, Deal News, Deal Catcher, Retail Me Not, Coupons.com, God-Driven-Designs, Gotta Deal, Slick Deals
  • Article: How to Take the Stress Out of Holiday Shopping

     

And, away we go!

Disclaimer: We can't confirm deal prices will still be in effect and we can't confirm apps and store websites will work properly. But, we do want you to have an awesome holiday season. Shop safe, never use a debit card, and never open links from emails about store deals or deliveries (ahem). Always keep your receipt and send cookies to us. Now, let's do this!

 

Prayer for a Safe and Festive Holiday Season

Father God, we praise you because you are the Most High God. Lord, we ask traveling grace and mercies over the holidays. Cover and protect each and every person that's traveling by air, road, boat, train or bus. Father God, please provide for all those in need of comfort. We pray, dispatch angels to them as there are so many in need, Lord.

When people shop, Father God, please give them favor, discounts, and deals - and rebates, so they can have "more than they thought" they would have this year. Please keep everyone safe online and in stores and parking lots, protect their wallets and purses. Please protect the pocketbooks and packages of everyone shopping and please keep all children safe in the malls and stores. We praise you for HUGE discounts and let it be after each purchase floods of money come back in - let them hold onto their receipts for added discounts when prices drop even further.

Also, let people "get ready for company" and surprise visitors that might stop in. Fill the lives of those reading this prayer with cheer, Father God, and special signs from you. And, please let people find things that will "add value" to their lives. Please make things affordable so parents can shop for what they need.

As people shop, give them favor and extra and help them be a blessing to others. Let them shine a light of encouragement to those in need - whether it's paying it forward or giving to homeless shelters and food banks. Lord, we pray for all delivery personnel and mail carriers. Please surround them with covering and angels. Protect them and their vehicles and let the shipping companies increase protection for their drivers and provide them with more security.

Father God, you have a hedge of protection over our lives and no harm shall come near our dwelling places and no evil shall befall us. We praise you and love you and we plead the blood of Jesus over each and every one in Jesus' name, Amen!

(Remember to keep reading your Bible for encouragement.)

Buckle up. We're going in...

Online Holiday Shopping Scams You'll Want to Avoid

SCAM ALERT: Be very careful with your email's inbox and text messages. Fake sites are already sending out fake FedEx alerts about delayed packages. To help you, don't click on any FedEx, UPS, DHL or USPS alerts in email or any company email like Amazon or eBay. Scammers know people are shopping now.

Instead, go directly to the store's website to track your packages. That way, you're not redirected to a phishing site that will try to steal your information or put malware on your computer. And, if you haven't updated your router to one that's secure, add that to your list.

SCAM ALERT 2: There's another scam that targets people to buy gifts for others. It's called the Secret Sister Gift Exchange. It suggests you purchase one gift that you give secretly to someone on the list and you can then expect to receive 6 to 36 gifts in return. Eyewitness News did an in-depth report about avoiding this holiday scam.

SCAM ALERT 3: From shipping empty boxes to sending items to you with the wrong name, eBay has seen an increase in scams. Use this link for eBay scams to avoid. It also has tips for selling on eBay (yup, there are scams for sellers, too).

For other tips on holiday scams and safety while shopping, see our helpful holiday shopping tips here.

Tip: Use a VPN for holiday shopping or open a private window if you're shopping on a shared computer your family uses. Because stores are marketing products that you look at, chances are they will show you ads right away for the items on your holiday list and you don't want anyone to know what they're getting, right?

Tip 2: Put a temporary hold on your credit card until you're ready to shop. Your bank knows that predators are lurking online. A lot of banks are now offering a feature where you can put a hold on your card to block unwanted charges. It takes effect immediately and then when you're ready to shop, remove the hold and make your purchase.

A Discover Card representative told us about this. A lot of consumers were complaining about subscription services renewing when they didn't request or approve the charges. Contact your credit card provider for more information (use the phone number on the back of your credit card).

Shared via CBS News: Scams currently in use target consumers with online coupons for specific products or retailers, then direct them to third-party sites that ask for credit card or other personal information.

Another comes in the form of a letter from Santa, usually an email from a phony retailer offering the season's must-have toy as a marketing tool, said Harzog. "It'll say, 'you'll get a discount, but hurry since supplies are limited,'" an appeal that could start a parent's heart racing if their child was pining for the specific item, she noted.

"The biggest thing we're seeing that's fairly new now is targeted fake ads," said Kennedy.  As with fake news, social media companies including Facebook have staff devoted to detecting and removing fake ads, but often the damage is already done. 

"The problem with Facebook is the main way they get revenue is through ads, and targeted ones at that," said Kennedy. "They try, but it's like whack-a-mole," in which the work of one bad actor is quickly replaced by the efforts of another, he added.

Emails and texts alerting recipients that a package won't get to them unless they take action are another way of getting the unsuspecting to hand over personal information. "The package ones are the largest we're seeing now -- 'hey, we tried to deliver and we're sending your package back,'" said Kennedy. He noted that the idea is to get people to enter their user name, password and possibly credit card information by directing them to sites made to resemble FedEx or Amazon.

Consumers still in a giving mood should be wary of phony appeals for needy children or dog shelters. "Make sure it's a real charity," said Harzog, who recommended charitynavigator.com as a legitimate site to research charitable organizations.

 

 

Travel

Mid Range Budget: Check online for top travel rewards credit cards. If you have one, check your points. You may find that you can now combine your points with other travel rewards cards. For example, your Capital One Travel Rewards Mileage Card might get you a free or upgraded ticket, while your American Express will give you access to international lounges.

Low Budget: Shop for deals on flights over the holidays and shop for packaged deals with a hotel or with a rental car for added savings.

No Budget: Look for 2-for-1 airline deals over the holidays. If you don't fly, look for added savings on monthly train and bus passes and ask for discounted pricing. Some states offer deals to students, seniors, etc.

Sky Scanner Deals: Sky Scanner states, "Southwest Airlines has already announced their winter fare sale, and they are offering discounted prices throughout December. However, their blackout dates are December 21-23, 26-27 and 29-30. If you can travel in-between those dates, then congratulations – you’ve just scored a great Christmas travel deal!"

Want to travel internationally? The discount air service suggests, "If you want to travel to Europe and experience a holiday market there, then you’ll love WOW Air‘s Christmas travel deals. To get 30% off, you’ll need to use promo code WOWTREAT when booking a round-trip flight to Europe from Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City, Orlando, Pittsburgh, St. Louis or Washington, DC. Book by November 2 (the only blackout day is Christmas)."

 

 

 

 

Shops and Stores - We're updating this section now (Keep checking back)...

Christmas Deals: While stores are eager to open at the crack of dawn, a lot of consumers are staying snugly warm at home and taking advantage of some of the year's best online deals.

Pace yourself. Make some cookies. Check the ads again after the holiday when discounts will be deeper for end of year clearances.

One special note: With the increase in Amazon shipping this year, try to get your gifts now. Remember, Christmas day falls on a Tuesday this year. While some stores like FedEx will ship same day, its still going to be extremely busy for delivery services due to Amazon orders - and that's not including any weather delays. Ordering early also helps if you have a problem with an order. Lastly, make sure to open your packages and inspect them instead of waiting until Christmas. There have been issues on sites like eBay and Amazon where fake packages were sent. For details on this, see the scam tips above and click the eBay link.

To help you navigate the myriad of ads and deals that are available this holiday season, use the list below:

Amazon: Amazon is currently running a 12-days of Christmas special. Check their site for daily deals which are running similar to Prime Day with set times that they expire.

A few of the best deals include:

Special Note: Amazon is offering free shipping on most products even if you're not a Prime member until December 25. If you are a Prime member, take advantage of free same day shipping depending on your area.

Best Buy: The electronics retailer offers free shipping until Dec. 25.
Save up to $150 on the iPhone XS. Toshiba 55" TVs are priced at $349. Apple Airpods are $159. Sony Playstation Classic Consoles are $99. Dell 11.6 Chromebooks are $149. Lenovo 330 1TB 8GB Laptops are $329. Microsoft XBox 1TB with Fortnite Bundle is $249. Toshiba 32" Smart TV is $149.

eBay: TBD

God-Driven-Designs: Take $10 off when you spend $50. Use Code: Save-10. Take 15% off gifts and gift sets. Use Code: WinterSale-15. Take 10% off prayer cards. Use Code: Take10 at checkout. Codes cannot be combined with other offers and are not good on gift card purchases.

Kohl's:  Get $10 off for every $50 spent. Take an extra 25% off with friends and family code Holiday25. Take an extra 15% off bed and bath products with code BedBath15. 

Macy's:  Get 15% off beauty products with promotion code FRIEND. Get $10 in Star Money for every $100 spent. And, take an extra 30% off regularly priced styles. Take 25% off Michael Kors and 40% off Hotel Collection bedding. 

Old Navy: Card members can take $25 off their $75 purchase. New card members can take 20% off their first order. Hot deals include rhinestone pendant necklaces for $9. Women's thermal knit tees are priced at $7. Women's classic boat-neck sweaters are $12. Men's thermal crew-neck tees are $10. Women's puffer vest jackets are $22. Sherpa zip jackets are $35. Text-friendly fleece gloves for women are $3.

Target: Take up to 30% off home products and take up to 30% off holiday decorations. Get up to 20% off holiday lights. Save up to 20% off LEGO toys. Save up to 20% off bikes and scooters. Save up to 20% off kids' sweaters and dresses. 

TJ Maxx: Take up to 75% off clearance products. Toys are priced from $9.99. Jewelry prices start at $19.99. Shop their sweater sale with prices starting at $29.99.

Walmart: Kitchen Aid mixers are priced at $199. The Disney Frozen Jeep Wrangler is priced at $249. Sceptre 50" TVs are $199. Sterling silver elephant necklace and earrings are $14.88. Elizabeth Arden 2-Piece Perfume Gift set is $19.99.

 

*NEW - Meal Deals:

Dec. 4: It's Double-Star Day at Starbucks

Starbucks Rewards members can get double the stars on their Starbucks purchases Tuesday, Dec. 4.

Dec. 5: The Cheesecake Factory’s Big Birthday Deal

The Cheesecake Factory is celebrating its 40th birthday and is giving away 40,000 free slices of yummy cheesecake through DoorDash.

The promotion begins at 11:30 a.m. local time Wednesday and will extend until 10 p.m. or until they run out, based on their offer terms.

To get the free slice, place your DoorDash order and use promo code FREESLICE when you checkout.

Burger King: Now through Dec. 12, Burger King is selling Whoppers for a penny "at" McDonald's in a cool promotion entitled the "Whopper Detour." To score this deal, use the BK app and deal details here.

Carrabba's Italian Grill: Now through Dec. 7, when you order one lunch entrée, you can get one free. Offer details are at www.carrabbas.com. This is for dine-in only during lunch.

Cicis: Now through Dec. 12, you can get two large two-topping pizzas for only $12. This is Cicis’ 12 Days of Pizza promotion with this coupon.

Dunkin’: Now through Dec. 30, you can get a medium-sized Dunkin’ latte or a cappuccino for only $2 from 2 to 6 p.m.

IHOP: Now through Dec. 31, IHOP has a special kids eat free deal and special holiday menu. This is inspired by "Dr. Seuss' The Grinch." Kids aged 12 and under can receive a free entrée from the kids menu with every purchase of an adult entrée from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily. 

Subway: For a select time, buy a kids meal at Subway and get a code for a complimentary ticket to see "Mary Poppins Returns."

Uber and Starbucks: The companies are partnering for the “Week of Cheers” promotion. Now through Dec. 9, each day you take an Uber after 2 p.m., you can get a Starbucks "buy-one-get-one free" drink deal. Coupons can be redeemed through Dec. 12. Uber is also is giving drivers Starbucks coupons and rider tips.

Wendy’s: Love hot, crunchy French fries? Don't miss the  $1 fry deal. Now through Dec. 26 you can get a small, medium or large order of fries for $1. Not valid with combos.

 

Apps

We've included a few apps to help you shop. These are not limited to Christmas deals, so we're going to keep these up through the full holiday season. Take advantage of these helpful ways to streamline your shopping, get deals and price alerts, and money back when you shop (now that's something to be app-y about!).

 

Honey: Short on time? Don't want to scroll the ads? We hear ya. Try Honey.
The Honey App works with thousands of stores and adds discount codes, coupons, and codes to your shopping cart. Short and sweet!

 

Flipp: Find Christmas shopping flyers right on your smartphone.

Browse the ads, load your coupons and add coupons right to your loyalty card. Voila!

 

SlickDeals: Tired of waiting for an item to go on sale?

No problem, use SlickDeals and it will send you an alert. Now that's express service to help you shop!

 

Ibotta: Want to see if you can save even more money on your purchases?

Use the Ibotta app and scan your receipts for added savings (cha-ching!).

 

RetailMeNot: To help you find coupons and deals at your favorite stores, use the RetailMeNot app. 

It shows you the best coupon codes and discounts that other users have tried.

 

Dosh: Get cash back by shopping at your favorite stores. With some stores offering 7% to 10% back on your purchase, the savings can add up.
Note: Dosh needs your credit card and uses SSL encryption. We do not recommend ever using a debit card. Always be safe online when you shop. 

 

Deals

Best Deal Sites to Help You Shop and Save for the Holidays

With the holidays upon us, here are the best deal sites and bargain shopping pages: 

  • Deal Oz: This is a great site if you're pricing electronics and school books. It uses Amazon, eBay, and other top sites. Why use it? It's great for students who need the "best" deal on books. We've used this site for textbooks and they usually find the cheapest deals.
  • Deal News: This site has been featured on different news sites. They have a Black Friday section set up, so be sure to hit the "home" button to see their full site and look for updates.
  • Deal Catcher: For more retail stores like Kohl's, Macy's, Kate Spade, Pier 1, and the Banana Republic, check out Deal Catcher's home page.
  • Retail Me Not: An old favorite, Retail Me Not is a great way to find deals with coupons that others may have used. You can get all kinds of deals to save on shipping and maybe 10 to 20% off. We use this site all the time to save on ProFlowers, cookie deliveries, and Macy's.
  • Coupons.com: Similar to Retail Me Not, this is a fast way to find a coupon code if you're already on a site and want to save a little extra money. They have coupon codes, cash back offers, and discount codes you can add right to your store discount card. What we don't like? They need more products and an easy search tool to avoid unnecessary scrolling.
  • God-Driven-Designs: We're running Christmas specials starting and our discounts include up to 85% off select products, buy one get one 50% off, and more!
  • Gotta Deal: Love, love, love this site. Not only does it give some of the best prices, but it compares Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Kohl's, Home Depot, Best Buy, and more. Whose it for? Anyone that wants to find a bargain right away without having to open multiple windows.
  • Slick Deals: Okay, this is one of the best for a little bit of everything. You can find all kinds of deals on categories like groceries, games, TVs, finance - i.e., credit card offers, cable offers, food delivery deals, computers, entertainment, etc. If you didn't see the apps above, download the Slick Deals app so you can get alerts on your phone.

Disclaimer: As with any site you try out for the first time, these are just recommendations. Please check the reviews first on the sites, run a virus scanner, and don't click on links they send in emails to avoid phishing scams. If you do make purchases, only use a credit card and not a debit card so if you ever need to dispute a charge, you can get your money back right away.

 

How To Shop Stress-Free This Holiday

Christmas is here, and, as many consumers know, so are the year's best deals. The Christmas season is one of the busiest times of year to shop for friends and family.

But what's the best strategy to have before you hit the stores?

1. Make a list before you go online or into stores: If you know what you're shopping for, you won't be tempted to overspend. You'll also be able to find something and no one will be forgotten on your list. Set your budget and then decide where you want to shop.

Before you think that you have to shop on eBay or at Walmart for deals on $35 comforters, a lot of the deals sites are advertising BIG savings so look there first. And, don't spend all your money. Pace yourself. There will be more deals a comin'!

2. Don't necessarily wait for Black Friday sales: Start now because the deals are already taking place. And, don't stress about the pre-sales if you miss them. Stores will have returns and you can always ask for a rain check.

Now, with popular items that might sell out fast, yes, get these ASAP, but hold onto your receipt. That way, when the price drops, which it will, you might be able to get more money back.

Note: Read your receipt so you don't buy something that's final sale. These can be tricky purchases because you can't return them but you can sell them on eBay or Poshmark later. Cha-ching!

3. Keep tabs on your favorite retailers: The season can be dizzying with store ads. Don't get caught up in all the hype. Stick to your favorite stores and favorite designers. Keep your phone on and use the price alerts in case something you want is reduced. You can also sign up for email newsletters and follow your favorite stores and brands on social media.

Brands may offer added savings of an additional 10 or 15 percent. And, don't forget to check Instagram. Because stores can now track you, check in on Instagram periodically and you might see your favorite store offering a sale (don't ya' just love that?).

Other money-saving tips include buying discount gift cards for an extra 10% off, using coupon codes and cash back offers, and using apps that find the best deals available. We listed a few above like RetailMeNot and Honey is great, too.

4. Don't feel obligated to travel to the stores: If you're used to shopping at the stores, it can be hard to shop online, but you can save time waiting in line and trying to find parking. Similar deals will be available online.

Now, that's not to say you won't miss a deal or two, but the whole point in holiday shopping is making it easy and stress-free from the comfort of home while you're in your PJs sippin' cocoa. Just sayin'.

5. Wait if you can: Yes, there will be huge sales for Christmas, but just like every year, the closer we get to the end of the year, the deeper the discounts. And, did we mention that upcoming New Year's sale?

 

Ultimately, we hope this shopping guide was helpful and that you found lots of deals and savings. Make sure to save your receipts to get even more money off. You still need to save room for the post-Christmas sales (wait, what?).