[FPMD: Posting a little early this week as I think this might help with your weekend shopping. Cheers!]
While the honor of the world's greatest shopping holiday now belongs to Alibaba's Singles' Day which hauled in a staggering $17.8 billion on 11/11/2016, the Black Friday weekend is still the largest shopping bonanza in the western hemisphere. So while this post has been sitting in my draft queue for some time now, I thought this is a good time to release it. Welcome to the Future Proof Toolkit - Online Shopping edition.
I've been using Slickdeals.net since 2004 when I bought my very first laptop through a Front Page deal. It was a Compaq and caused me headaches to no end - but it was cheap! Slickdeals is a community based deal forum where users (myself included) post deals they find on the internet. Deals can be commented and voted on by other users and the good deals naturally gain traction. The deals that make it onto the Front Page are usually screaming bargains. If you want to find the best deals on electronics, make sure to check out Slickdeals.
Warning: VERY ADDICTIVE.
When you purchase deals through sites like Slickdeals.net, they often receive a commission on your purchase. Think of it as a referral fee (Look in the sidebar and you'll see my referral link to Amazon.com). Some sites choose to split that referral fee with you in the form of cash back. Over the years, so many such sites have sprung up so how can you keep it all straight? Enter Cashbackholic.com. Cashbackholic compiles and updates the cashback rates for different deal sites so you can always go for the maximum savings. All the usual suspects like Ebates, TopCashBack, and Mr. Rebates are included.
Credit Card Bonus Offers
I have shared with your the quarterly rotating 5% credit card cashback categories previously, but did you know the credit card companies are offering you even more? Through programs like Amex Offers, Discover Deals, Mastercard Masterpass, and Visa Checkout, you'll be able to find many great deals not available when you pay with cash. For example, right now you can get $25 off of $100 or more when you use Visa Checkout at Staples.com.
You may have forgotten this one in the age of Amazon, but Craigslist remains one of the best places to buy physical goods. Often you can find brand new items at a significant discount from the retail price. And if you don't mind buying used and have a passion for haggling, you can really score some steals. For example, I was able to purchase some leather couches at the beginning of medical school on Craigslist for $350 which I sold when I graduated for $450 - still one of the best bargains I've gotten.
Daily Deal Sites
Groupon's once-bright star may be burning out, but it's no denying they made the Daily Deal site a product for the masses. Some other names you may recognize include Living Social (soon to be a part of Groupon), Travelzoo, Woot and Restaurant.com. While the business model has proven to be a bust for Groupon, you can still find great bargains on experiences such as travel, things-to-do and dining out. For example, I was able to visit Iceland on the cheap this January through a deal from Travelzoo, very similar to this one: $679-$734 – Iceland 4-Star Trip. If you haven't been, I highly recommend it.