(NEW YORK) — With three daughters — ages 4, 2 and 10 weeks — Sarah Perillo, a blogger at CTWorkingMoms.com, and her husband Chris have their hands full and not a lot of time for holiday shopping.
So Joanna Stern, the technology editor at ABCNews.com, went to meet the Perillos in Simsbury, Conn., to show them how to outsmart stores and use technology to get great deals.
After Stern shared the following tips with the Perillos, the couple was able to cross a few items off the kids’ wish list and put $390 back into their pockets.
1. Arm Yourself With Apps Like Decide
ABC News and the Perillos were surprised to learn that online prices fluctuate hourly. The price of a Sony camera dropped three times — almost $50 — in the course of 12 hours.
At the store, the Perillos saw a digital camera they’d been considering. Using the Decide app, they scanned the barcode and then searched through thousands of pieces of information to see whether they should buy it now or wait for a lower price.
The app’s data told the Perillos not to buy the camera just yet, but it did give them the green light on a Samsung TV on sale for $648.
2. Click to Compare
A Tigger toy — at the top of the girls’ holiday list — that Sarah Perillo had found at Target for $39.99 was marked down to $28.99. Using an app called Red Laser, she scanned the bar code and found it for a lower price — $21. Because Target matches competitors’ online prices this year, Sarah Perillo took it home for $21.
3. Walk Away From Your Cart
“If you put something in your cart and you walk away from it, it’s kind of like playing hard to get,” Stern said. “Tell them [stores] you want it and walk away and then it might lower the price. They’ll send you an email saying, ‘Actually we noticed you had this in your cart. Here’s a 10 percent discount.”
To trick the computer, you may need to put your credit card number in the designated spot but don’t go any further with the order.
4. Forgo the Black Friday Lines and Shop Wednesday
Stern said to avoid the Black Friday lines and shop on Wednesday. This year, many retailers are already offering their Black Friday discounts. The Samsung TV that the Perillos found on sale for $648 will be the same price Friday. There were only four left when they looked.
Stern also suggested skipping the Black Friday stampede in the toy aisle on Black Friday and put off buying any toys. Experts say they’ve found that toys are at their lowest prices online in the two weeks before Christmas.
According to Extrabux.com, the best days to buy products — based on when consumers are most likely to shop online for categories of products — are:
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Kathryn Vasel, CNN
Doug Criss, CNN