shopping bagsI like to think of the post-Thanksgiving online shopping frenzy known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday as just the opening bell for holiday season savings. Sure, stores want us to believe those are the only days we're going to be able to score the biggest, fattest deals -- and gotta give 'em credit for doing a damn good job with Cyber Monday sales going up by 33 percent this year! But, pfft, most savvy shoppers know better!

Here, eight fun, easy ways you can still save money while gift shopping online ...

  1. Amazon.com - The monster shopping site is celebrating Cyber Monday all week long. Plus, you can subscribe to daily deals emails from them, so you can get in on savings even after this week.
  2. RetailMeNot.com - Any time of the year -- but especially around this "most wonderful time of the year" -- I check this awesome coupon site before buying anything online. You can search for coupon codes and special discounts or offers at over 140,000 retailers (like J.C. Penney, Lands' End, Shutterfly, etc.), and from the main page, you can see the top promotions going on right now.
  3. DealCatcher.com - Similar to RetailMeNot, but also offering coupons you can print and use in brick-and-mortar stores. They also tweet their deals as they find 'em, which is pretty nifty.
  4. eBay.com - Never underestimate the power of eBay to find highly coveted items (especially things that are tough to find elsewhere, like sold out theater tickets or video games) at a mega-bargain.
  5. Stalking bloggers - Lots of blogs run promo codes and special coupons for sites they've tried, love, and want to promote, so you can always visit Google Blog Search and type in the retailer you're looking to score a deal with (i.e., "Jewelmint") and then "promo code," "coupon," "deal," etc.
  6. Set up a shopping email address or folder - I made the mistake of using my regular email address when I've made online purchases in the past, and soon, my inbox was way too full. But I didn't want to let go of the daily emails from retailers announcing their special online sample sales or 24-hour, 30 percent off deal. So I created up a brand new email address just for emails like that. You could also make a filter in your email so all coupons and correspondence related to shopping flows into a special folder. More organized = more savings savvy!
  7. Sale event sites - OMG. Obsessed! You can score so many awesome items at a major discount by signing up for sites like HauteLook.com and RueLaLa.com, which have a handful (at least!) of sales in all different categories (women's clothes, men's clothes, kids' clothes, lifestyle, travel, home decor, local deals, etc.) every day.
  8. Daily deals - Scoring $50 worth of wine for $25 or a $150 spa day for $75 is definitely a sweet way to save cash these days, but it also works for gift-giving. In fact, almost 60 percent of online shoppers plan to use daily-deals sites (like Groupon and LivingSocial) to shop for gifts this year, according to a PriceGrabber analysis. Since it's win-win for gifter and receiver, it's definitely smart.

Do you use any of these sites or tips? How do you save money when shopping online?


Image via Annie Mole/Flickr