Attention, procrastinators: Your lucky day is almost here. It’s called Free Shipping Day and falls this year on Dec. 17.
The retail holiday, founded in 2008 by the people behind FreeShipping.org, was designed especially for people who’ve put off their holiday shopping, along with those who haven’t finished.
Free Shipping Day is also a great way to save online, whether you’re buying gifts or groceries. Here’s how to maximize savings…
- Double-check participants. Many of the stores participating in Free Shipping Day this year are already listed on FreeShippingDay.com, but others won’t be revealed until 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 17.
- Double-check cutoff dates. If you buy a gift online any day between now and Christmas, confirm that store holiday shipping cutoff dates guarantee your purchase arrives in time without added fees.
- Think outside the (gift) box. Free Shipping Day isn’t just a great savings opportunity for procrastinating gift shoppers. If you ever buy anything online – even if it’s just groceries or personal care items like shampoo – this retail holiday is a great day to stock up.
- Compare prices. Enter your intended purchase into the search engine of a price-comparison website like PriceGrabber, Bizrate, or Nextag to be sure you pay the lowest price.
- Read the return policy. Best and Worst Return Policies for 2012 Gifts explains return policies for online purchases so you or a loved one aren’t stuck with an unwanted item.
- Look for specials. Stores participate in Free Shipping Day to help squeeze in more last-minute sales before Christmas. Some stores therefore run specials in honor of the retail holiday, so check the “Coupons for Free Shipping Today” list at the bottom of FreeShippingDay.com as well as your favorite store’s homepage and sale page.
- Check for discounts. Google for [item name] + “coupon” or “promo code” to ensure you’re not overlooking extra savings.
- Pay with a discounted gift card. It’s too late to buy them to use on Free Shipping Day. But some of the Best Sites for Buying Discounted Gift Cards, like Plastic Jungle, also sell electronic versions. Just don’t wait till the last minute: Plastic Jungle says their eCODEs take a little longer to be emailed to you – about 24 hours – the first time you buy one.
- Pay with a rewards or cash-back credit card. That is, if you pay off your balance monthly.
- Get a rebate. Rebate websites will essentially pay you to shop if you know How to Make Money With Rebate Websites.