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Consumer Reports: Online shopping strategies for the best digital deals

Posted at 8:44 AM, Nov 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-24 15:11:58-05

Feeling ho-hum about holiday shopping at the mall? Consumer Reports can help you get the best digital deals.

The free browser extension, Invisiblehand, tracks prices at 11,000 online stores without collecting any of your personal information.

And can let you know if an item you are looking at is cheaper somewhere else.

Another free browser extension, Honey, sweetens your discount at checkout, automatically.

Consumer Reports Money Editor, Nikhil Hutheesing said, "As long as you're shopping at one of the participating stores, Honey goes out and only finds discount codes for you -- and enters them automatically, when you check out."

Honey collects data to help save you money but does not sell it.

You can also save money by playing hard to get. If you put things in a shopping cart but do not buy them -- you may get an email the next day, offering a discount to complete the purchase.

Nikhil Hutheesing "Sometimes you can even get a better price, just by asking. If there's a live chat option, you can go in, tell the representative how much you like the product, but you think it's a little pricey -- and ask if there are any promotions or discounts," said Hutheesing.

Use sites like Raise and Cardcash to create your own discounts by buying unused gift cards below face value and using them to purchase gifts for others.

Strategies that take a little work but could lead to big savings.

What about waiting until Black Friday or Cyber Monday?

Consumer Reports says it depends on what you are buying.

After comparing prices for several, coveted holiday gifts -- including televisions, fitness trackers, and smartwatches -- Consumer Reports found all came up cheaper on Cyber Money.

But experts say the best deals on laptops can be found on Black Friday.