There are three key days left to save money before Christmas

Make a list, check it twice. And also the calendar.
Make a list, check it twice. And also the calendar.
Image: Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes
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There’s one more day between Thanksgiving and Christmas than last year and, with Dec. 25 falling on a Monday, an extra weekend day for last-minute shopping.

Partly thanks to that extra Sunday, the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts that holiday retail sales in November and December (excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants) will increase between 3.6% and 4% this year from 2016.

Americans spent a record $5 billion in 24 hours on Black Friday and whopping $6.59 billion on Cyber Monday last month, though that’s only a fraction of what will be spent during the holiday shopping season. Some savvy shoppers are holding out for promotional shopping days during the month of December that you may never have heard of: Green Monday, Free Shipping Day, and Super Saturday.

Green Monday

When: Monday, Dec. 11

What it is: The term “Green Monday” was first coined by eBay to describe its best sales day in December more than a decade ago. Now, it refers to the second Monday in December, about the time that retailers anxious to clear shelves before the holidays start offering steep discounts to encourage last-minute buying.

Best practices: Like a lesser-known little sister of Cyber Monday, Green Monday is more a retail phenomenon than an official promotional event. It’s a good idea to keep an eye out for discounts around Dec. 11. Many retailers will push big reductions on the second Monday in December, though may not necessarily publicize them as Green Monday deals. Big-box retailers like Walmart and Target have already announced Green Monday promotions.

Free Shipping Day

When: Friday, Dec. 15

What it is: Free Shipping Day is a promotional day when online retailers offer free shipping, with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve on Dec. 24. With many retailers offering discounts and incentives in addition to free shipping, there’s a strong chance you’ll find better deals on Free Shipping Day than on Cyber Monday.

Best practices: You can see the full list of participating online retailers (there are over 1,000) on the Free Shipping Day site, which will post details at 12:01 am US Eastern Time on Dec. 15. Some stores don’t announce they are taking part until the 15th—to dissuade shoppers from holding out for a discount.

Super Saturday

When: Saturday, Dec. 23

What it is: The last Saturday before Christmas, Super Saturday, is by far the biggest shopping day of the holiday season. The term was coined by retailers to mark shoppers’ last-minute scramble (the alternate name on Wikipedia is “Panic Saturday”). Many retailers offer one-day, in-store discounts and incentives, and stores are typically open for extended hours because many may close early.

Best practices: Super Saturday is the day before Christmas Eve this year, so both the sales and the crowds will be daunting. If you have your eye on something specific, head out early in the day.