The holidays have arrived and with them comes lots of shopping, not to mention the weekly groceries and year-round household essentials you need. All these can add up quickly to leave a nasty dent in your wallet.
Here are 10 easy tips to help you save money this holiday season, or on any other shopping excursion!
1. Cashback apps
Today’s digital lifestyle has afforded us many luxuries we didn’t used to have. One of my personal favorites is cashback and rebate apps. These typically let you submit receipts for cash back on select items or entire retailers that you can then redeem as a bank deposit or gift card.
Pro tip: Combine these cashback offers with coupons. Sometimes after a discounted price and the cash back from an app, you can get some of your items for free - or close to it!
A few reputable apps that offer great cashback and savings opportunities include:
- Fetch Rewards
With OMB’s Rewards Checking account, you can also earn cash back on debit card purchases each month.
Remember the days of cutting out coupons from newspapers or ads you found online? While those are still widely accepted, coupons have mostly become digital.
From apps to websites and emails, simply pull the coupon up on your smartphone during checkout, scan the barcode or enter the promo code, and enjoy the reduced total.
3. Loyalty programs
Many stores have their own loyalty programs in place. These often offer several perks including discount codes, free samples, birthday offers, and early access to sales. The best part? Most are completely free to sign up.
4. Take advantage of rewards points
Many credit cards offer some sort of point system. One useful strategy is to save up rewards points accumulated throughout the year and redeem them when it comes time to holiday shop or make an especially large purchase. It can potentially save you a lot of money at checkout and helps significantly when you have several gifts you need to buy at once.
To that end, make sure to remember that money spent on a credit card still has to be paid back and impacts your credit if it isn’t. No Christmas gift is worth wrecking your finances.
Tight budget? No worries! Consider gifting loved ones creative handmade items instead!
5. Consider free pickup over shipping
Online shopping has begun dominating the marketplace, even for brick-and-mortar stores. That said, if you’re near the store you’re ordering from, try opting for store pickup when you can. You’ll spend far less driving there than paying what can be hefty shipping and handling fees.
6. Go in with a list and stick to it
It’s easy to get carried away inside a store when you’re just grabbing whatever calls to you on the shelves. Making a list of the things you truly want and need not only saves money, but time as well.
According to this AARP story quoting a university study, nearly 60% of all grocery purchases are impulse buys. Cutting out the urge to buy more than you need and setting some guidelines for yourself are some of the most efficient and effective money-saving tips of all.
7. Make a running total
If you’re shopping on a budget, making a total as you shop – whether mentally or on a calculator – can help stay within your limits and avoid any uncomfortable surprises at checkout.
One of the benefits of shopping online is your cart doing the math for you and displaying a total as you add items.
8. Keep an eye out for clearance, sales, and promotions
Stores run sales often, especially as the seasons change. Holidays, after-season sales and major events like the Super Bowl often present great opportunities to find deals on clothing, appliances, and electronics. Take advantage of these timely opportunities to really save big. And don’t forget to check the clearance section year-round for some great finds at a steal!
9. Compare prices
You’d be surprised how much prices can vary from site to site, and even store to store. When making large or expensive purchases, it’s wise to shop around a little and snag the lowest price you can.
Many retailers often price-match, even if they don’t advertise it. It never hurts to ask during checkout.
10. Buy secondhand
From opting for the “nearly new” option on Amazon to browsing your local thrift stores, you can often find great bargains on gently used items ranging from jeans to furniture sets. Just be sure to ask about any damage before you commit to the purchase.
No matter your financial situation, saving money is always a plus. Try out some – or all – of these tips and watch the savings add up right before your eyes! And if you think your love of shopping has become an issue, learn about impulse shopping and get some tips to help curb the urge.
OMB and its affiliates do not provide legal, tax or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decision.
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