Holiday shopping survival guide: Save with online shopping

Holiday shopping survival guide: Save with online shopping »Play Video

If you're like most people, according to the National Retail Federation, you'll do 36 percent of your holiday shopping online. So the KATU Problem Solvers looked into some new ways to save on every one of those purchases.

The founder of FrugalLivingNW.com, Angela Davis, has strategies that can save you money not just at the holidays but all year long.

"You start shopping by going to the cash-back site first," said Davis.

What's a cash-back site?  Think of it as the front door to a virtual mall. Davis' favorite is Ebates.com.

Once on the site, you simply search for the store you want – say J.C. Penney. Click on the "Shop Now" button and you automatically go to J.C. Penney's website. If you buy something, Ebates will give you back a percentage of your purchase. In the case of J.C. Penney, it's 5 percent.

"You're getting money that you wouldn't have received by just going directly to the website," said Davis. "It's free money. The deals are exactly the same.  The prices don't change if you go to through the cash-back site first."

You just need to earn more than $5 and Ebates will mail you a check!  It's totally legit.

But before you checkout at any store's website, make sure to do a quick search for free shipping or discount codes. The best places to look: retailmenot.com, promotionalcodes.com, freeshippingcoupons.com, or freeshipping.org.

Next, sign up on your favorite retailer's Facebook page or website for alerts. Amazon, for example, sends out daily emails about its Gold Box deal of the day. However, Problem Solvers suggests you use a separate email address so your personal account doesn’t get overwhelmed.

Speaking of the daily deal, Davis is a big fan of Groupon-like offers. Her favorite daily deal site is Sharing Spree. It focuses on local businesses and gives back percent to charities.

On a day the Problem Solvers checked, Finnegan's Toy Store was offering a $50 voucher for just $25.

And if you really want to be a super shopper you could get really fancy and combine a daily deal with Ebates.

"Groupon is also offered on Ebates," Davis said. "And so if you go through Ebates first before you make your Groupon purchase, they will give you 3 percent cash back on your entire purchase. 

Again, free money.

You don't have to wait until cyber-Monday to try out these strategies. Some retailers have posted their deals already. And if you miss Monday's cyber-sales, don't worry, there'll be plenty more in the days leading up to Christmas.