Holidays can be a stressful time. We often feel as though we are being pulled in more directions than we usually are with extra shopping, gift wrapping, and holiday parties. Perhaps we have more money going out than coming in and not to mention gathering with relatives that we only see once a year. But with a few handy tips, shopping can be less stressful and you can actually have money left in your wallet when the holidays are over (more money than you may have had in the past). Allow more savings and less stress be the name of the game this holiday season.
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9 Money-Saving Tips for Holiday Shopping
All stores this time of year will have ongoings sales luring consumers into their stores. There is such an array of sales occurring during this time of year it’s rare that you’ll have to pay full price for products. Well maybe except for those hot must-have items, you may have to pay full price for those items.
Reminder: Not all stores will have the same discounts so it’s important to do some comparison shopping prior to purchasing items. I tend to make a list of items that I am looking for at the beginning of November so if a good sale pops up I’ll be prepared to snag the item. Be aware of ad’s advertising 50%, 60%, 70% off, etc. because it may sound like a deep discount but depending on the original price it may not be a great price. Always remember to ask yourself, 50% off what price? Don’t be persuaded by a discount amount until you see the original price.
It pays to have store apps installed on your phone. Cartwheel is a great app that allows you to receive additional discounts for all types of items without any effort. It’s available for both Android and iOS. If you don’t have a smartphone you can still utilize the Cartwheel discounts. Create a Target account online, sign in to your account, add items to your account, and then print out your list of items which will print out with a barcode on the top of the page that allows Target team members to scan it.
What is great about Cartwheel is that you can stack the discounts with sales, gift card offers, manufacturer’s coupons as well as store coupons.
Cartwheel is now integrated into the Target app. The Cartwheel app itself is being faded out. Target is trying to make it easier for shoppers by combining the Cartwheel app with the Target app. It helps to cut down the clutter on your phone now that it’s inside the Target app. One less app and account taking up valuable space on your phone.
There is a limit of no more than one manufacturer coupon (paper or Cartwheel digital), one Target coupon and one Cartwheel offer can be combined per item. Each Cartwheel offer may be used for up to a maximum of 4 qualifying items per offer per transaction. Limit of one Cartwheel barcode per transaction and 6 Cartwheel barcode transactions per day.
The only downside is that Cartwheel can’t be used if price matching an item.
Walmart’s Savings Catcher is another great way to save money. There are two options on how you can choose to utilize the Savings Catcher. You can scan the barcode on the receipt with the Walmart app which is available on both Andriod and iOS as well as accessing it on the internet.
One of the easiest ways to save money with Walmart is by entering the receipt information online. Once entered, Walmart then compares the prices paid, with local competitors and if they find that a price is cheaper elsewhere they will issue the difference to a Walmart gift card.
A word of caution though, not all items qualify for the program. There are several items excluded. They need to improve this feature since they are doing away with their price matching.
Target is one of the stores that not only issues paper coupons but they also issue coupons through text messages. They make it very easy to for the consumer to save money. If you happen to leave your paper coupon, often found in their weekly ad, at home don’t panic. Target posts signs near the applicable items in the store. The sign has the word, you’ll text to 827-438 and the coupon will be sent to your phone by text message while you shop.
As an example from earlier months, if you texted CLEAN to 827438 you would have received a coupon for $15 off a select household essentials purchase of $50 or more.
Walgreens is another store that issues store coupons not only inside their weekly ad but also in their monthly coupon booklet found in stores.
Many stores provide consumers with coupons whether it’s in the mail and/or within their apps. I would also suggest checking online on the store’s website and download apps to your favorite stores to assure you receive their latest coupons. Another great way is to subscribe to your favorite store’s emails (more about that later).
Sales, coupons and store apps are the more common ways of saving money but there are also rebate apps that earn you some money back also. What’s great about these types of apps is that as long as the item purchased aligns with the item that is listed in the rebate app you can receive money back. You can purchase the item on sale and use other coupons and still earn money back. Simply scan the item and the receipt, press submit and allow time for approval and before you know it you’ll see the money in your account. Some of the more commonly used apps are Ibotta and Checkout51.
There is one store that provides the best rebates. Staples provides easy rebates by providing a Visa debit card. I love that their rebates don’t lock you into reward points that can only be used within the store like Office Max/Depot does. You can use your debit card anywhere Visa is accepted. They allow you 6 months to use the total amount before the card expires.
There are advantages and disadvantages to utilizing store rebates. If you happen to forget about the rebate and it expires you’re out the money. Staples does make it easier because you’re not restricted to only being able to use it with the store itself but anywhere Visa is accepted. Tracking the rebate is also very easy with Staples, just sign into the rebate webpage and you can see if it’s been approved, fulfilled and shipped to your address.
Gift Card Offers
Target is notorious for providing gift cards with purchase opportunities. They run gift card promotions often with beauty products, food, health products, housewares, etc. In fact, recently they ran a promotion for selected healthcare products. When you purchased 4 items from select categories you received a $5 gift card. The gift card can’t be used with the current purchase it is only good for future purchases. It’s basically giving you an instant $5 back.
A couple other promotions they recently ran were with coupons. When you used the coupons with qualifying purchases you received either a $5 or $10 gift card. The great thing about these promotions is if you happened to forget your coupons at home or you don’t receive a Sunday paper then you can easily send a text to 827438 to receive the coupons.
I have written in depth about which stores allow price matching and the regulations attached to their policies. You can find an in-depth post here. You may be surprised at the stores offering price matching.
Whether you’re planning on shopping in stores or online become good friends with Ebates. You’ll be happy when you receive money back when the holidays are over and the bills roll in.
Using Ebates Online
It couldn’t be easier to use Ebates. I would suggest adding the plugin to your browser so that you don’t forget to activate the Ebates link. Each time you shop at an eligible retailer (the list is extra long & includes many popular stores) just click the button to activate and you’re on the way to receiving a bonus back.
There is a new feature that allows you to connect your credit card to your Ebates account. When you choose to use the registered credit card in a store you can now earn money back on those purchases also. It becomes a win-win situation to receiving extra money back at the end of the quarter.
$10 Bonus for Signing Up With Ebates
Joining and being a member is FREE. There are never any charges to become or remain a member. The great news is if you’re new to Ebates you can earn $10 cash back automatically on your first purchase. It doesn’t have to be a purchase at a certain store. It can be any store on their network. You can quickly signup here.
Join E-mail Lists
Email lists can be a great way to gain early access to sales or secret sales for only their email subscribers. I would suggest joining the email lists of all your favorite stores and brands. You can score some amazing deals through being one of the first to know about a sale before it goes live and discounts that only email subscribers have access to.
I’ve provided a list of stores with the best promotional emails in an earlier post. Be sure to check it out to assure you’ve signed up before the holiday shopping begins.
If you do decide to signup for different email lists I would highly suggest creating an email account just for email subscriptions so that you don’t become inundated or overwhelmed by a number of emails you’ll receive. Save yourself the trouble and create a new email account before signing up for any email subscriptions. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. 🙂
As I mentioned previously as an email subscriber of a company and or a store you are more likely to be sent discount codes or free shipping codes. Utilize those discount codes as you can end up saving a lot of money. Some stores will even allow you to stack your discount codes so you can use multiple codes toward one total purchase online.
Save, Save & Save Some More
Utilizing the money-saving tips for holiday shopping will enable you to save extra money. Mix and match the different tips to best suit your needs. You’ll be pleasantly surprised when your credit card bills start coming in, the amount of money you were able to save by implementing just a few of the tips.
Comment below with your money saving tips that you utilize during the holiday season. What are some ways that you save a little extra money?