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Buy in bulk — and other hacks to score last-minute gift deals online

Ethan Rotberg
·4 min read
Buy in bulk — and other hacks to score last-minute gift deals online
Buy in bulk — and other hacks to score last-minute gift deals online

Though time is running short, it's not too late to get great online deals as you try to finish your holiday shopping.

You can save on time, stress and money, so long as you’re using the correct methods and the right resources. Now, with surveys showing half the country is worried about in-person shopping and 2 in 5 are planning to rein in their spending, that know-how is more important than ever.

Here are five online shopping hacks you can use to optimize your holiday gift hunt.

1. Compare prices

Top view business woman buying sneakers on ecommerce website with smart phone and coffee on wooden desk
Zilu8 / Shutterstock

When you finally spot the perfect gift, it’s tempting to throw it in the cart and cross a name off your list.

Not so fast: Are you sure you’re getting that product for the lowest possible price?

You don’t need to scour the internet yourself. With a free browser extension, you can instantly search other sellers to check for better prices while you shop on Amazon, Target and more.

With Capital One Shopping installed, the next time you shop on Amazon, you’ll be notified if there’s a lower price available at another online retailer. It even takes taxes and shipping into account.

The days of having 50 tabs open on your computer are over.

2. Research shipping and return policies

African young smiling girl opening box with Christmas gift
Lucky Business / Shutterstock

With so many competitors vying for your money, stores are going to chop their prices down to get your attention. But unless you dig deep into all the possible fees, that doorbuster might not be as cheap as you think.

First, investigate the shipping policies of your favorite retailers. Some may offer free shipping on holiday purchases, even if they don’t at other times of the year. Others may lower the bar to qualify for free shipping.

But if you’re planning on sourcing gifts from retailers across the web, make sure you’re not blowing all your discounts on sky-high shipping costs.

You’ll also want to review the return policy before clicking the “buy now” button. You don’t want to buy the wrong size shirt, only to find out that item was final sale.

3. Find (available) coupon codes

Over shoulder shot of modern woman reading e-commerce email with discount coupon on a laptop laying on sofa at modern home in sunnny hot summer day.
Alliance Images / Shutterstock

Many people spend hours clipping out paper coupons and hunting for promo codes online. It takes a lot of work, but the extreme couponers out there swear by the savings.

Now, imagine if you had instant access to available coupon and promo codes.

One of the other features of the browser add-on we mentioned earlier is a database of coupon codes gathered from millions of other online shoppers. When you go to check out, the service will automatically apply any codes available to the items in your cart.

Won’t you feel smart knocking a few extra bucks off that already discounted item.

4. Buy 2 (or 7)

Sample of colored perfume bottles with different types of fragrances and aromas in a makeup case on the table. Beauty concept. Feminine concept. Colorful concept.
gideonijunior / Shutterstock

Most people wait for holiday sales to splurge on big-ticket items for themselves or others. However, if you keep your eyes peeled, you can also get great discounts on products you use all year.

So when a deal hits your favorite makeup or aftershave, go nuts.

Some stores will offer discounts when you buy more than one. If not, you’ll still save money by buying in bulk when prices are at their lowest. Try to find a site that offers free shipping or a flat rate, so you can grab as much as you want without hiking your costs.

You can even double up when it comes to gifts. Did prices get slashed on a nifty wooden box of assorted pressed teas? Don’t hesitate to pick one up for all the tea lovers in your life.

5. Bookmark your favorites

Happy couple with laptop spending time together at home
baranq / Shutterstock

Being a super online shopper means being super organized.

Try creating a separate bookmark folder to keep tabs on ideas for each person on your list. Or narrow down your search by bookmarking your favorite retailers and product pages.

If you get started early, you can use that browser extension or its related app to set price alerts on specific items. If the item goes on sale at any point during the holidays, you’ll be the first to know.