Thank you to Socialix and Giving Assistant for sponsoring this conversation. As always, all content and opinions are mine alone.
There is no denying it anymore . . . the holidays are right around the corner once again. So many people go into debt for the holidays, but I’m not into playing that game. I prefer to shop smarter from the beginning and have gotten pretty good at making the most of online shopping and saving.
Set up a Holiday Savings Account
Set up a Holiday Savings Account with your bank or on your own. This is a savings account that you put a certain percentage of your paycheck or make regular deposits into to use for all of your holiday shopping. This way you won’t be broke in January.
I prefer to set them up on my own because we earn a higher interest rate than a traditional Christmas Club, but if you aren’t disciplined then setting it up through your bank may be your best bet.
Use rewards points
Use your credit cards wisely. If you have cards that give you rewards points for purchases, use it. Free money is always welcome, right? But don’t let that balance linger because then you will pay more and it won’t be worth it. Use the card, get the points, then pay off the statement balance or, better yet, the entire balance with your Holiday Savings Account money or designated savings account.
You may also be able to use store rewards points. This isn’t available for all stores, but if you have a rewards card then you may be able to use it. I made an order with World Market and I was able to enter my rewards number at check out.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but how often do you go to your favorite online retailer and purchase from them without shopping around? There is one large retailer that often has the lowest prices, but it’s not always the case. Especially as we get closer to the holidays, retailers that you may not expect just might have the lowest price. There are several price comparison browser extensions you can use as well.
Use cash back sites
When shopping online, use an online rebates site like Giving Assistant. You will earn cash back on your purchases and who doesn’t want free money? This can really add up and is the main reason why I prefer online shopping for the holidays.
Even if you shop last minute, many stores allow local pickup. You will get the savings and the rebate and will still be able to get your purchase on the same day.
I used Giving Assistant to shop for some mini baking pans at World Market and it couldn’t have been easier. In addition to the 8% cash back that I will earn for shopping through my Giving Assistant link, I was able to use one of the 10% off coupons available. I also chose in-store pickup so I didn’t have to pay for shipping and I can get my pans today and start baking!
Speaking of coupons, don’t forget to use them! Many retailers offer online-only coupons so it ends up being less expensive to shop online. There are some retailers that even allow you to use a percentage off coupon in addition to a $10 off coupon and/or store rewards points. Giving Assistant has many coupon codes available for their retailers, and you can also find some by using a search engine. Use your coupons strategically for maximum savings.