For many Americans keeping their distance from the mall this year, being forced to shop for the holidays online isn’t much of a downside.
The big digital storefronts Amazon and Walmart.com have just about everything, so you may be able to check off your entire list in just a few hours.
The convenience is undeniable — but do the big chains also have the best prices? I decided to do some digging to find out.
I asked the MoneyWise.com editorial team for the kinds of gifts they'd like to see under the tree this year, then used a free service that lets you instantly search for better prices at thousands of other online stores.
Here's what you need to know as you get pumped for Cyber Monday.
Amazon vs. Walmart vs. Capital One Shopping
The service is called Capital One Shopping. After setting it up on my laptop (it’s also available as a mobile app), I started browsing for gifts on Amazon as I usually would.
Every time I brought up an item, a notification from Capital One Shopping told me whether I could find it for a better price at another store. I also had the option to compare directly with the prices at other big retailers, like Macy’s.
I assumed Amazon or maybe Walmart would generally be the best option. Most of the time, I was wrong.
Here are some of the savings I found, ranging from $8.34 on a Lego set to $87.44 on an espresso maker.
Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones
Capital One Shopping: $163.93 (Aldorama)
Pikmin 3 Deluxe - Nintendo Switch
Capital One Shopping: $48.88 (eBay)
BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium-Plated Ultra-Thin Straightening Iron
Capital One Shopping: $80.99 (Groupon)
OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner
Capital One Shopping: $29.55 (Macy’s)
Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Collection Blu-ray Set
Capital One Shopping: $89.02 (Amazon Marketplace)
DeLonghi EC702 15-Bar-Pump Espresso Maker
Capital One Shopping: $218.99 (Amazon Marketplace)
Kobo Clara HD 6" Carta E Ink Touchscreen E-Reader
Capital One Shopping: $118.30 (eBay)
Apple AirPods with Charging Case
Capital One Shopping: $100.10 (eBay)
Samsung 970 EVO 1TB - NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD
Capital One Shopping: $128.71 (Newegg)
LEGO Architecture New York City
Capital One Shopping: $42.53 (eBay, with coupon)
HON Ignition 2.0 Adjustable Lumbar Work Chair
Capital One Shopping: $301.53 (Amazon Marketplace)
Oral-B Pro 1500 CrossAction Electric Toothbrush
Capital One Shopping: $49.10 (eBay)
Wanjiaone LED Desk Lamp
Capital One Shopping: $45.72 (eBay, with coupon)
Cuisinart TOA-60 Convection Toaster Oven Air Fryer
Capital One Shopping: $172.90 (eBay)
uni-ball Jetstream RT Ballpoint Pens 12 Count
Capital One Shopping: $21.99 (Amazon Marketplace)
Assassin's Creed Valhalla - PS5
Capital One Shopping: $50.05 (eBay)
A few other items I looked at, like a portable blender and a Godzilla Blu-Ray box set, were in fact cheapest at Amazon or Walmart.
But in total, I was able to save $461.24 just by taking 30 seconds to install Capital One Shopping on my browser.
That’s a lot more than I expected; it almost makes me want to actually buy all this stuff for my coworkers. Almost.
You can save on your holiday shopping, too
Even if you’re only planning to pick up a few holiday gifts online this year, make sure to price-check them first with the help of Capital One Shopping. It’s totally free to use and takes less than a minute to set up.
The service even takes into account things like tax and shipping when determining the best available deal.
As an added bonus, you also can search for coupon codes from a database of millions of users to help you save even more money when you check out.
Last year Capital One Shopping saved its customers over $160 million, and with just a few clicks you can start saving, too.
Don’t just buy from the big chains because it’s easy. Download the app or the browser extension today and stop paying more than you have to for those smiles on Christmas morning.