By J.R. Duren • Last updated: November 20, 2018
1. Use a Christmas-list app to organize and budget presents.
Overspending during the holidays is a real possibility for most consumers. Avoid this by creating a budget and using a Christmas-list app to track who you’re buying for and when you buy their present. Here’s how to make a holiday budget.
2. Use apps to make smart buying choices.
Knowing if you’re getting the best deal on what you’re buying can be stressful, especially if you’re in a department store on Black Friday. Use barcode-scanning apps like RedLaser, ShopSavvy, and Flipp to scan item barcodes and see how much the item costs at other retailers.
3. Get the best deals in your inbox.
If you’re keen on a particular retailer, don’t just rely on the paper ads that are available to the general public, since stores reserve the best deals as an “inside scoop.” Be sure to sign up for their email list, which might provide you with advance notification of any sales, as well as money saving coupons.
4. Change your passwords.
Online shopping spikes during the holiday season and crooks know this. Security experts agree the best way to protect your identity is to make sure you have different usernames and passwords for the sites you shop at. If all your logins are the same, a thief only needs to steal your info from one site to break into all of them.
5. Do you have old gift cards lying around?
In 2018, MarketWatch estimated that $1 billion in gift cards go unused every year. Take a minute to think about any unused gift cards you have. If you don’t want to re-gift them, use them to supplement the cost of your Christmas presents.
6. Get the most out of your cash-back rewards card.
If you have a cash-back rewards card with rotating categories, make sure you know which categories will get you bonuses on your holiday purchases. For example, the Chase Freedom card offers 5% cash back on purchases made at department stores, wholesale clubs and Chase Pay purchases from October 1 to December 31.
7. The holidays are an excellent time to buy tools and grills.
Lowe’s and Home Depot tend to have one or two super-useful tools, toolkits, and grills whose price drops way below what you’d normally pay. For example, last year Lowe’s sold the Charbroil Advantage grill for $99 on Black Friday and the days following. The grill is usually $199 and dropped to $149, at most, over the course of the year.
8. Home appliances, travel deals, gaming systems, and electronics are cheap on Black Friday.
Not all Black Friday buys offer savings that are worth standing in line for. Savings on toys, bedding, and winter clothing are minimal on Black Friday. However, home appliances, travel deals, gaming systems, and electronics typically are at their lowest prices of the year.
9. Cyber Monday clothing deals are excellent.
Save yourself from the Black Friday madness and go shopping on Cyber Monday instead. The experts we spoke with said that you can save 30% - 40% on clothing if you can leverage coupons.
10. Bargains don’t always mean better value.
With all our shopping this time of year, it’s a good idea to scrimp and save where possible. When it comes to electronics, clothing, food and drink, liquor, and fragrances, however, it’s generally worth the extra expense to purchase from name brand manufacturers.
11. Save money on your Christmas tree.
Buying a used Christmas tree from Craigslist, Letgo or other classified sites/apps is an amazing way to save tons of money on your tree. You can find dozens of name brand Christmas trees for under $75 that would normally cost you between $75 and $250.
12. Book airline tickets at the right time or with rewards.
Our research indicates that Tuesday at 3 p.m. is the best time to buy airline tickets. If you don’t have the money for a ticket but you use a rewards credit card, find out if you can transfer your points to an airline, as rewards seats can save you a considerable amount of money.
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