There are ways to save money and time this holiday season by using some tricks when shopping online.
For example, you can avoid shipping charges by ordering your items online, then choosing to pick up your order in a nearby store rather than having it delivered. Or, shop online on Dec. 16, which is free shipping day for many online businesses. More than 1,000 stores offer free shipping on that day. Find out which of your favorite stores participate at Freeshippingday.com.
When ordering online, at the checkout screen there’s often a place to enter a promotional code. You can find these on the catalog you’re ordering from and at Ebates.com or Retailmenot.com. These websites will match available promotional codes with the stores where you shop.
Some stores — Kohl’s, Victoria’s Secret, Jo-Ann Fabrics and a few other retailers — accept multiple promotional codes. Ebates also will give you money for signing up and using their site as a starting point. No strings attached.
Here’s another trick: When shopping online, if you see an item you don’t need right away, put it in your online shopping cart. Then leave the website. I have found more times than not that I will receive an email from that company asking whether I forgot that I was shopping for an item, and, as an encouragement for me to buy it, they’ll send a promotional code for 10 percent off your purchase.
If you are looking for a specific item, go to PricePinx.com to be notified as soon as that item is marked down. There are many sites online where you can buy the item you are looking for, but how do you know if you are getting the right price? Check out Bizrate or PriceGrabber. They do comparisons on items.
And my final suggestion for online holiday shopping: Never shop at unfamiliar sites. Don’t shop online using public wi-fi or an unsecure connection. Don’t shop on any site if the URL doesn’t start with “https.” The “s” means the site is secure.
Deals and freebies
▪ This Friday’s free Kroger download coupon is for one Sheba cat food (2.6-2.75 ounce any variety) redeem by December 4. Kroger.com
▪ Get a free copy of the charter issue of Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street magazine. 177milkstreet.com/magazine
▪ Print out a coupon for one free classic waffle at Waffle House. Expires Nov. 24. Bit.ly/2fuQe8D
▪ Fill out the form to request a free sample of Grime Boss surface and hand wipes. Bit.ly/2fTp5cu
▪ On Nov. 19, Kmart is offering free jumbo lollipop for kids 12 and younger. Limit one per child while supplies last. No coupon required.
▪ Quiznos is offering a free small sub with any purchase when you download the Quiznos Toasty Points app. Just make sure not to click the redeem button until you are at the restaurant.
▪ Fandango is offering a free child’s movie ticket with a One A Day Kids multivitamin purchase. Complete the form and upload your receipt by Nov. 30. Limit two rewards per promotion. You’ll receive an email with a link to redeem your reward for a $9 child’s movie ticket. Bit.ly/2fuTL6K
▪ Join Nerf Perks and refer some friends to get free Nerf toys. Simply sign up and confirm your email address. You can refer as many as 10 friends, too. The offer can be redeemed for a free football, darts, sunglasses or a mini blaster. You can get your referral link by sending an invite to another email address. Nerfperks.com
▪ York Photo is offering 20 free 4 by 8 or 5 by 7 photo cards when you use promotional code PCARDS at checkout. Limit one order per customer. Note that you will have to pay for shipping, and the cost will depend on where you live. This freebie is valid through Nov. 27.
▪ Sign up for text alerts at Staples and get an exclusive coupon code for $5 off a $25 purchase. Text SIGNUUP to 555444. Charmin Essentials 20 Giant Rolls are on sale for $7.99, and Cascade 75 ounce fresh scent gel is on sale for $4.49. I order online and then pick up in the store, so I don’t have to pay shipping. Staples.com
▪ Colgate Total toothpaste is on sale, two for $6.98 at CVS. Use two $2 coupons from the Nov. 6 newspaper for your purchase to receive $2 in Extracare bucks.
▪ Buy any Sure or Brut deodorant at CVS for $1.75. Use the 50 cent coupon at CVS.com/coupons and receive $1 in Extracare bucks.
▪ Buy three cans of Progresso soup for $4 and use the 50 cent coupon from the Nov. 13 newspaper. At CVS you’ll also receive $2 Extracare bucks.
▪ Download Load2Card 50 cents coupon at RiteAid for Sure or Brut deodorant. Then, buy the item for $1.75 and earn 100 Plenti points. Riteaid.com
▪ Print out a gobble guide from Design Finch to make your holiday cooking easier. Bit.ly/2eCJuGj
▪ Make a $30 purchase at Meijer grocery store and receive 50 percent off any size and brand turkey. Limit 1.
▪ Buy one Wet ’n Wild Eye Candy Gift Set at CVS for $4.99 and receive $4 Extracare bucks.
▪ Tiny Prints is offering 10 free holiday cards and an additional 30 percent off cards when you use promo code HOLIDAYGIFT at the checkout. You will need to pay for shipping, which will depend on the size of your order. Expires on Nov. 17. Tinyprints.com
▪ The Cheesecake Factory is offering two free cheesecake slices for every $25 gift card purchase starting Nov. 25. The free slices will be redeemable Jan. 1 to March 31.
Deborah Morris’ every-other-week column, the Fru-Gal, can help you get more for less. Go to her website, Fru-gal-friends.com.