Tightening your belt? How to score the best ‘Black Friday’ deals with … – USA TODAY

‘Tis the season for gift-giving or treating yourself to something special as a reward for making it through a tough year.

After all, many have cut discretionary spending due to higher prices – caused by inflation, supply chain issues, and other factors – and so finding a great deal is even more important than before.

This was confirmed in a recent survey conducted by market research company Morning Consult, which found 84% of polled respondents said deep discounts and store sales factor into gift purchase decisions this year.

The good news is Black Friday (Nov. 25) and Cyber Monday (Nov. 28) are around the corner when brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers are motivated to move inventory ahead of the holidays.

Even better, a handful of shopping apps, websites and browser extensions are designed to sniff out the best bargains, whether alerting you to a fire sale on something you’ve had your eye on or providing coupons to scan at the store or giving you cash back on purchases.

And so, the following are three fantastic freebies worth taking advantage of to help lighten the load leading up to the holidays.


Ideal for retail shoppers, Flipp aggregates those paper store circulars (ads) we get delivered to our doorstep, but it also highlights the best deals, too.

A special Black Friday carousel can be accessed at the top of the app or website.

Best early sales to shop:Learn more about the best deals and biggest sales going on this year

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It's much more than an aggregator of paper circular (ads) we get on our doorstep each week – Flipp shows you the lowest prices at top retailers near you, lets you virtually clip items, apply coupons, and it holds your loyalty cards, too.

To get going, type in your ZIP code and local retailers will be displayed, and the sales they’re offering (including related coupons), whether you’re looking for consumer electronics, household items, fashion or groceries.

Tap and hold to learn more about a product you’re interested in, or quickly tap to virtually clip it into your shopping list. In fact, it’s a “smart” shopping list that also lets you type in a keyword, like “OLED TV,” and it will show you the best deals nearby.

The app also holds your loyalty and rewards cards, so you don’t have to carry all that plastic with you.


Another “must have” app, Slickdeals is billed as the largest online deal-sharing community – boasting more than 12 million shoppers – many of whom are sharing the best deals they’ve found on products, services, travel and more.

Powered by a community of about 12 million shoppers, deals are vetted and voted up by the community, so you know if it's a real bargain or not. Sign up for 'Deal Alerts' and earn cash-back, too.

Every online or retail deal discussed on forums is voted on by the community, and the hottest ones move up to the Popular Deals section (such as 50% off a Ring video doorbell). The best of the Popular Deals are then screened by the company’s Deal Editors, to see if the deal is good enough to graduate to the coveted Frontpage of the app and website.

If you want to price-watch an item, you can sign up for “deal alerts” if the community deems it a great discount, and you’ll be notified via email.

Slickdeals.net also offers coupons, promo codes, weekly ads, freebies and a browser extension that pushes deals to your desktop.

Its latest feature, a Cashback Rewards program, enables users to receive cash back at participating retailers, via PayPal credit, gift cards and other options.


Speaking of cash back, Ibotta pays shoppers a percentage of the purchase when shopping through participating retailers. The company says they work with more than 2,700 brands and retailers across home goods, apparel, travel, toys, jewelry, electronics and other categories.

The percentage you get back varies but can add up. Ibotta pays shoppers via bank deposit, PayPal or gift card.

Earn cash-back on purchases at participating online retailers. The percentage you get back varies but can add up over time at places you'll likely shop at anyway. Ibotta can pay shoppers through bank deposit, PayPal or gift card.

Along with app, Ibotta (pronounced “I bought a …”) has a browser extension to keep an eye on purchases, including the option to set notifications for items you’re interested in, and an alert will pop up when items are restocked or are about to be sold out. Plus, you can view on-demand price comparisons and see when prices go down.

Ibotta says it pays to shop online for gifts as you can get up to 15% back from select retailers through the shopping season and will be offering extra cash back over Black Friday and Cyber Monday from participating retailers.

Also consider apps and websites like Rakuten (formerly eBates), PayPal Honey, eBay, Amazon Warehouse Deals and Amazon Coupons.

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