This Memorial Day weekend, Americans will mark the unofficial start to summer with barbecues, picnics and beach outings. But they'll also indulge in that favorite national pastime -- shopping. And more people look inclined to hit the malls this year than in 2011, according to IBM (IBM) findings, based on analysis of chatter on social networks.
They'll be embarking on more weekend getaways this year, too. The ratio of positive to negative comments about shopping and Memorial Day travel, which IBM calls the "Desire Ratio," is 6.5 to 1 this year, compared to a ratio of 1.3 to 1 in 2011, the data revealed.
For you budget-minded shoppers and travelers, here's some tips to get the biggest bang for your buck this holiday weekend.
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Holiday Savings Tips
1. Maximize Coupon Savings
Mining coupons is "particularly important around Memorial Day, as many of the best deals will come from the use of a stacking discount," Lindsay Sakraida, features director for deal site DealNews.com, tells DailyFinance. Stacking is when you combine two or more discounts on the same product during the same transaction, be it a coupon on top of a preexisting sale, or the use of two or more coupons.
DealNews boasts an extensive list of current coupon codes, "and often shaving an extra $10 to $20 off your order total ... is as easy as performing a 30-second coupon code search," she says. You can search the site by product or store."
2. Price Comparison Shop
• Don't assume that a sales offer is valid both online and in a brick-and-mortar store. "You would think a product's price in-store would match what that vendor charges online, but this is frequently not the case," Sakraida says.
"A retailer can more easily orchestrate a special promotional discount online than it can across all stores, so if you find something you like, check the vendor site -- as well as competitors, when applicable -- to see if you're getting the best price," she says. "Sometimes with items like extremely late season clearance apparel, you'll find a steeper discount in-store.
• Let search engines like ShopAtHome.com and Bargainist.com do the bargain-hunting leg work for you.
"Shopping around can be daunting to some consumers," Marc Braunstein, CEO ofShopAtHome.com, a source for cash back offers, coupons and deals, tells DailyFinance. "The time required to search for the best possible deal keeps shoppers from comparing prices, even if that means saving them a lot of money." That's where these bargain-finding search engines come in handy, he says. They'll "not only save you time and hassle, but more importantly, the money too," he says.
3. Take Advantage of Cash Back Rewards
Sites like ShopAtHome.com offer special cash-back rewards that can glean shoppers up to 35% savings on purchases from retailers.
ShopAtHome.com boasts that it's the only site that backs up their claim that they have 'the best cash back [offers] on the web, with an 110% guarantee," Braunstein says. If you find a better cash back deal out there, ShopAtHome.com will give you 110% of that discount off your qualified purchase.
4. Take Advantage of Get-Them-While-You-Can Deals
Here are some of the many limited-time only, Memorial Day weekend deals.
• For some high-end fashion bargains this weekend, check out Nordstrom (JWN), Last Call, Neiman Marcus' outlet chain, Anthropologie (URBN), Italian online fashion retailerYoox, Club Monaco and Ralph Lauren (RL) for a variety of deals, Tamra Feldman, vice president of marketing for ShopItToMe.com, which bills itself as your personal online shopper and bargain hunter, tells DailyFinance. Many of their sales "will have average discounts of 35% off," she says.
• For you fashionistas out there who love a deal, ShopItToMe's celebrity stylist Annie Ladino highlighted some of her favorite items for under $25 that should remain on sale throughout the weekend: Lucky Brand, summer straw totes for $24.99; botanical-themed, graphic tees from Express (EXPR) for $27.99; women's denim shorts from Old Navy (GPS) for $15, and round, printed sunglasses from Urban Outfitters for $9.99.
• What's more, "Now is a great time to take advantage of spring clearance items like gardening supplies and seasonal apparel," Brad Wilson, CEO of coupon and savings siteBradsDeals.com, tells DailyFinance. "But don't ignore sales on summer essentials like patio sets and bathing suits. Many will be at the lowest prices you will see until much later in the season."
• RetailMeNot.com, the biggest provider of online coupon codes, noted these two weekend deals: Kohl's.com is discounting summer essentials -- from swimwear to sandals -- by 20% for shoppers who enter the code SUMMER20. "Plus, get free shipping over $75 -- no code is needed," Trae Bodge, senior writer for RetailMeNot's Insider, the site's online magazine.
• If you're going camping, Cabelas, marketer of camping, hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is holding a big sale event this weekend that includes camping-related items.
• And checkout daily deal site DealFind.com for a random mix of bargains available this weekend, including a 12 month subscription to Rolling Stone magazine with a framed poster, $49; a two-pack of extra large, memory foam pillows for $55; a memory foam dog bed for $30; and an Ultrasonic tooth brush system for $69, a spokesperson says.
5. Don't Forget the Road Trip, Weekend Getaway Savings
• "Road tripping it? Your smartphone can help you save on gas when it's time to hit the pump," RetailMeNot's Bodge tells DailyFinance. Apps like Gasbuddy guide you to where to buy the least-expensive gas in any given area.
• If you're planning a day trip to a city by car, search online for discounted parking coupons on sites like Central Parking, the operator of parking facilities, for savings offers available in 50-plus cities, Bodge says.
But you might not need it. "Because street parking can be easier to find on holidays -- and no meter feeding is typically required on the actual holiday -- plan to look for a spot on the street first, and have your coupon as a backup," she says.
• Tap Memorial Day weekend savings for future summer trips. Scour RetailMeNot.com's travel deals to find coupons on discount travel sites like Travelocity,Orbitz (OWW) and Expedia (EXPE) for savings on weekend packages, rental cars and even theater tickets.
• You can also save up to 35% on daily, weekly and weekend Budget car rentals by June 30 with Expedia coupons, Bodge says.
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