6 marvelous last-minute holiday sales for 2016

Avast, ye holiday shopping procrastinators!

Although Black Friday and Cyber Monday have long since passed and Christmas is days away, you still have time to catch great holiday deals. To woo last-minute shoppers, many retailers are launching spectacular sales across all major gift-giving categories, including electronics, toys and apparel. Others have unleashed free shipping promotions and offer rush or even same-day delivery to guarantee gifts are nestled beneath the tree on time.

To help you find your way through the crowds and discover the best deals, we've included a list of six marvelous last-minute holiday sales.

[See: Prepare Your Finances for the Holidays.]

Kohl's Last-Minute Holiday Sale

Dates: Dec. 12-24

Extended hours: Open 24 hours on Dec. 23;Open 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

To catch the eye of holiday procrastinators, Kohl's is taking an extra 20 percent orders of $100 or more and 15 percent off orders under $100. Kohl's continues to offer free standard shipping on orders of $50 or more.

Last days to order: Kohl's guarantees Christmas delivery with standard shipping on orders placed before Dec. 19 at 11 p.m. Two-day shipping with Christmas delivery is available until Dec. 20 at 1 p.m., and one-day shipping is available until Dec. 21 at 2 p.m.

Best Buy Last-Minute Sale

Dates: Dec. 18-24

Extended holiday hours: Open 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. on Dec. 23; Open 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve

Best Buy is running its own week-before-Christmas sale, offering deep discounts on electronics and appliances. Top deals include:

  • $80 off a Samsung 40-inch LED Smart HDTV
  • $40 off Amazon Echo Hands-Free Voice Controlled Device
  • Up to 30 percent off select 4K Ultra HD TVs
  • Up to 25 percent off robot vacuums
  • Up to 30 percent off small kitchen appliances

Last days to shop online: Best Buy will provide free shipping with Christmas delivery until Dec. 21 at 10:30 a.m. CST. Two-day shipping with Christmas delivery is available until Dec. 21 before 10:30 a.m. CST. Best Buy offers in-store pickup on Dec. 24 for orders placed before 4 p.m. local time.

[See: 14 Important Personal Finance Dates to Mark on Your Calendar.]

Target Last-Minute Holiday Sale

Dates: Dec. 18-24

Extended hours: Check locally

A week before Christmas, Target will release an array of deals on popular products. Noteworthy offers include:

  • 20 percent off LEGO items
  • An extra 10 percent off baby gear
  • 30 percent off cold weather accessories
  • 30 percent off boots
  • 15 percent off hair styling tools
  • 15 percent off fragrances
  • 25 percent off kitchen items
  • $70 off the Apple Watch Series 1
  • Up to 50 percent off select women's pajamas
  • An extra 20 percent off clearance items
  • Free standard shipping on all orders

Last days to shop online: Target is offering free standard shipping on orders made through Jan. 1, but shoppers should get their orders in no later than Dec. 17 to ensure Christmas delivery. The last day to order via premium shipping for Christmas delivery is Dec. 22 and via express shipping Dec. 23. Same-day delivery is available on Christmas Eve in select areas.

Macy's Last-Minute Holiday Sale

Dates: Dec. 21-25

Extended holiday hours: Check locally

A mere four days before Christmas, Macy's is launching a last-minute sale, giving holiday shoppers an extra 20 percent off.

Last days to shop online: Macy's is offering free shipping with guaranteed Christmas delivery on qualifying orders until Dec. 21 at 5 p.m. EST. Express shipping with guaranteed Christmas delivery is available until Dec. 22 at noon EST. On Dec. 24, same-day in-store pickup is available for orders placed by 12 p.m. local time, and same-day delivery is available in select areas until 10 a.m.

[See: 8 Big Budgeting Blunders – and How to Fix Them.]

Sears Last-Minute Holiday Sale

Dates: Dec. 15-25

Extended hours: Check locally

During its Countdown to Christmas sale, Sears is unveiling new daily deals on popular apparel, fitness gear and appliances. The ever-changing offers may include:

  • An extra 20 percent off online orders over $50
  • 15 percent off any online order
  • Up to 60 percent off coats
  • 50 percent off women's boots
  • Up to 50 percent off bed and bath
  • Up to 50 percent off sleepwear
  • Up to 30 percent off snow removal
  • Free UPS ground shipping on orders over $49

Last days to shop online: Sears is promising free UPS shipping and Christmas delivery on orders placed by Dec. 19 by 11:59 p.m. CST. Standard shipping with Christmas delivery is available for orders placed by Dec. 21 at 4 p.m., and premium shipping with Christmas delivery is available for orders placed by Dec. 22 by 4 p.m. On Dec. 24, Sears offers free in-store pickup.

Tractor Supply Company Last-Minute Holiday Sale

Dates: Dec. 12-24

Extended hours: Open 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Dec. 23; Open 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve

To draw last-minute gift seekers, Tractor Supply Company is running a sale on thousands of items. Highlights from the sale include:

  • 30 percent off select ride on toys
  • 30 percent off select RC and drones
  • 20 percent off select insulated outerwear
  • 20 percent off leather footwear
  • 20 percent off select men and women's flannels
  • 20 percent off select stoves
  • 15 percent off tool sets
  • Free UPS standard shipping on all orders

Last days to shop online: Tractor Supply Company offers free UPS standard shipping with Christmas delivery for orders placed by Dec. 16. In-store pickup orders must be placed a week in advance, so last-minute shoppers must shop in-store if they want their gifts before Christmas.

RELATED: 10 retail sales tricks that get you to spend more

10 retail sales tricks that get you to spend more
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10 retail sales tricks that get you to spend more

1. Free-shipping offers

Shopping online is so convenient, but paying for shipping is a real drag. Beyond that, it can be downright expensive at some stores.

Web retailers know that many of us have an aversion to paying shipping costs, so they often offer free-shipping deals. However, these may come with a catch: You have to spend $30, $50, $100 or some other amount to get the free shipping.

How many people have spent precious time searching for extra items to add to their order to reach the amount needed for free shipping? I’ll raise my hand and admit to spending an ungodly amount of time looking for a $15 item (that I really didn’t need) to add to my $35 purchase in order to get free shipping. In hindsight, I should have stuck with my $35 buy, paid the $5 in shipping and come out $10 ahead.

(Paul Bradbury via Getty Images)

2. Multiple purchase pricing

My go-to grocery store loves to run a 10-for-$10 promotion. Not only are the sale items a mere dollar each, you also get the 11th item free. There are often at least a dozen products included in the sale, and you can mix and match items! How cool is that?

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It’s awesomely cool for the grocery store when we load up on 11 items we don’t need. It’s even better when those items regularly sell for $1.09 anyway.

I’m not saying multiple purchase pricing is always bad. It’s just that when we see four-for-$5 sales, we tend to buy four items even if we only need one.

(fStop Images - Patrick Strattner via Getty Images)

3. BOGO, B1G2 and B2G1 deals

BOGOs — buy-one-get-one-free sales — work similarly to multiple purchase pricing. They entice you to buy more than you normally would.

Now, if you’re already planning to make a purchase and a second one is free, by all means, take the freebie. But if you find yourself suddenly justifying the purchase of unneeded new shoes because of a BOGO ad, the marketers can pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

B1G2 and B2G1 deals involve, respectively, buying one item and getting two free, or buying two items and getting one free. There is also another common variation that involves buying one item and getting the second for half off.

(Getty Images)

4. Bundled purchases

Another silly way retailers persuade us to buy more is by bundling purchases. So as part of a special sales bundle, for example, you might get a printer and office software along with a laptop. If you need a printer and software, this could be a cheaper option than buying all three separately.

However, you might have a perfectly good printer at home, and maybe you only plan to use the laptop for Facebook and World of Warcraft. I could be wrong, but I don’t think you need Microsoft Excel for either of those things.

Why wouldn’t you want to buy $1,200 worth of computer gear for only $900? Because if all you need is a $700 laptop, you’re $200 poorer for no good reason.

(Pieter Bollen via Getty Images)

5. Coupon savings

I love coupons, so I can’t advise you never to use them. That said, coupons have a sneaky way of making you buy items you would never purchase at full price, or even sale price.

Bottom line: Coupons make it feel like you’re getting a deal even if you aren’t. Double-check and make sure the after-coupon price is in fact a bargain.

If you’re looking for a break on a specific item, check out sites like Coupons.com. Again, just be clear-headed about whether the deal on the coupon is really a bargain.

(Jill Fromer via Getty Images)

6. Sales events

The fact that a store declares a sale to be phenomenal does not necessarily mean that it is a great deal. In fact, you could walk into a store that has announced sale prices “as much as 70 percent off” and find everything minus one lonely rack is only 20 percent off.

It’s not false advertising either; the ad clearly includes the qualifier “as much as.”

Remain skeptical of sale claims and don’t get caught up in the hype of a supposed once-in-a-lifetime deal. Trust me, there will always be another deal.

(Paper Boat Creative via Getty Images)

7. Rewards programs and loyalty cards

Rewards programs are how retailers get you to keep coming back to their store when you have other options.

Maybe there is a better sale at Kohl’s, but you have a Shop Your Way rewards card so you don’t even bother checking Kohl’s. You head straight for Sears instead.

It works the same way if you have a loyalty card for a gas station, grocery store, coffee shop or hotel chain. You stop comparison shopping and simply go to the business offering the rewards. That’s good for them, but it could be costly for you.

(andresr via Getty Images)

8. Psychological pricing

You would think by now we would be savvy enough not to be tricked by seeing the number 9 at the end of a price. And yet, we continue to think something priced $19.99 is a better deal than an item priced $20.

Known as charm pricing, ending sales tags with a “9” is only one way businesses use psychological pricing to their advantage. They may also trick you into spending more by dropping the dollar sign, putting a per-customer limit on sales and using a small font.

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Who knew we could be so easily manipulated by a price tag?

(Tetra Images via Getty Images)

9. Upselling everything

Whenever you’re asked whether you want an extra shot of espresso with your coffee or a bucket rather than a bag of popcorn at the theater, you’re being upsold.

In fact, even the language they use is finely tuned to maximize your chances of saying yes. When I worked as a mystery shopper, one specific chain required its workers not to ask, “Do you want anything else?” Instead, they were told specifically to ask, “What else would you like?”

By using those words, they created the expectation that you would in fact buy more.

10. Point-of-sale add-ons

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The final seemingly silly sales tactic that drains our wallets is the point-of-sale add-on. These are all the gum and candy displays by the register and the nice sales clerk who asks if we’d like to save 25 percent by opening a store credit card.

At a gas station in my town, the sales clerks are rather shameless about promoting the monthly candy deal, informing customers that they are competing for who can sell the most. That tidbit is followed by an appeal to help the worker out by making a purchase.

The only thing missing is some slight whimpering and big puppy dog eyes. I’m sure some heartless folks can say no to this plea for help, but it gets me every time.

Did we cover them all? Do you find yourself falling for one tactic over and over again? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.


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