By JACQUELINE LAUREAN YATES, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — The holiday season is upon us, and retailers big and small have been ramping up huge sales events a bit earlier than usual.
Mass retailers such as Walmart, Target, Macy’s and several others have announced everything from earlier Black Friday plans to extended Cyber Monday deals and more that will last throughout the coming weeks.
While many of us are finding glory in having a chance to get a head start on shopping for gifts, lots of us are also looking for ways to navigate through what feels like a gazillion sales without losing our minds.
Search interest for “early deals” has increased by 60% over the past month in the United States, according to Google as of Oct. 12.
The overwhelming amount of discounts can be a lot to take in, but luckily, there are a variety of digital tools and tactics you can use to get the very best bang for your buck.
There are also a variety of resources that can help you navigate sales, find discounts, get cash back or exclusive coupons, pay over time and even earn points to use toward purchases from your favorite retailers.
“Keep in mind that many stores themselves have their own app, for example, Target has Cartwheel, and you can layer savings by using the store discount first, then using the code provided,” Tiffany Aliche, financial educator and founder of The Budgetnista, told ABC News’ Good Morning America.
RetailMeNot shopping and trends expert Sara Skirboll also told GMA that you can find deals and coupons on just about anything and everything, from travel and holiday gifts to office supplies and toys.
“It’s worth it to spend a few minutes doing research to always find the best deal,” she advised.
To help you successfully shop this year, consider the resources below your go-to guides for all the best digital tools to use before you hit the “check out” button this season:
RetailMeNot’s Deal Finder: “My favorite new trick to help me save time and money when I’m shopping online is Deal Finder,” said Skirboll. “It’s a browser extension that automatically applies coupon codes and cash back offers right at checkout. It’s super helpful if I’m short on time and need to check out quickly without doing my research first.”
Deal Finder can be downloaded for free by simply adding it as a browser extension. From there, every time you shop on that same browser and get ready to check out on an order you are placing, Deal Finder will run any available coupons pre-purchase to get you the best savings possible — savings are then automatically applied at check out.
Deal Finder works at wide variety of stores, including Target, Ulta Beauty and more.
Paribus: “Stores change their prices all the time,” advises Aliche. She recommends this platform, as it allows you to get money back on price drops you may not be aware of.
“Enjoy shopping online as you normally would. Paribus tracks your confirmation emails and watches for price changes so you don’t have to,” she said.
When potential savings are detected, Paribus alerts you and helps you get money back.
Rakuten: This free browser extension automatically alerts you on deals, applies the best promotional codes and helps you easily earn cash back.
The company has partnered with more than 3,500 brands in apparel, electronics, health and beauty, travel, subscription services and much more. More than 15 million members have received nearly $2 billion in cash back just by shopping with Rakuten.
Featured stores include Macy’s, Net-a-Porter, Asos and a huge range of others.
Favado: “This mobile savings app helps shoppers stop overspending by notifying them when their favorite items are on sale,” said Aliche. “Favado has money-saving experts who hand select sales and coupons every week in more than 65,000 grocery and drugstores nationwide. This enables you to discover the best deals for savings up to 70% on everyday items.”
Captial One Shopping | Wikibuy: This browser extension provides a vast amount of coupon codes, best prices and alerts when items you’ve viewed are available at discounted prices.
Capital One Shopping price comparison tool features an “all in price,” which accounts for fees such as shipping, memberships and coupons. Additionally, the browser extension automatically tests and applies the best codes at checkout.
This free online tool is available for Captial One cardholders and non-cardholders to use.
Swagbucks: Aliche recommends this tool, which allows you to earn points when you shop online, watch entertaining videos and search the web.
“You can also answer surveys and find great deals to earn your points. Plus, you can redeem your points for gift cards to your favorite retailers like Amazon and Walmart or get cash back from PayPal,” she said.
Google Shopping: This price insights tool gives shoppers the opportunity to unlock a ton of features that make it much easier to find great deals.
When you search on Google, the shopping tag can easily display if a retailer’s price is considered high, low or typical compared to other prices. You can also turn on price tracking to receive alert notifications that will be sent to your email or straight to the Google search app.
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