Top 5 Ways to Save on Your Holiday Shopping
November seems to sneak up on me every year. I’m minding my own business, working out costume details and sugar coating trick-or-treaters when, BAM! Out of the blue it’s time to get cracking on holiday shopping. To help myself get in the game and to help you save some money, here are my top five ways you can use your tech savvy to save money on your holiday shopping.
1. Check out the resale market:
I know, you’re thinking, “wrapping up used gifts?” but a lot of things available though sites like Craigslist and Ebay, or even at your local gently-used second hand store, haven’t actually been used. We’ve all received a present that we thought for sure would come in handy but instead just gathered dust. That posh purse may be perfect for your sister-in-law and is significantly less expensive than buying it in the store. If you have any youngsters on your list I can assure you that they aren’t going to care that the shiny new tricycle took a few spins in someone else’s yard before it showed up under their tree.
2. Use discount gift cards:
Just as there’s a resale market for items that people didn’t end up needing, there’s a resale market for unused gift cards. Check out eCard Exchange (www.ecardexchange.com) or Cardpool (http://www.cardpool.com ) for an extensive selection of discount gift cards that you can use to get instant savings on your holiday shopping. Benefit from those looking to cash-out a gift card they don’t need with savings averaging 10%. Unlike buying on eBay where you have to take a leap of faith that the balance on the card will be valid when you receive it, these sites act as a middle man. They purchase the card from the seller and then guarantee the value to you, the buyer. There’s even free shipping. While you can certainly re-gift the gift card itself, I like to buy discount gift cards for the places I know I’m going to shop for presents, earning myself an instant discount that I can then combine with sales and coupons.our nerds know all the nooks to get deals in!
3. Become a coupon printer:
Before you head out the door to cruise the mall, check out the in-store coupons available online through RetailMeNot (www.retailmenot.com/printable) and Coupon Cabin (www.couponcabin.com/printable-coupons/?tn=printable-coupons). You can earn yourself a quick $10 or percent off your purchases with just a couple of clicks and an available printer. If you’re buying online, be sure to check the coupon codes section for instant savings on your order.
4. Compare, compare, compare:
The Shopping Assistant browser extension (http://taoassistant.com/, available for Chrome, Firefox, Opera or Safari) gives you a toolbar that automatically shows similar products to what you’re shopping for at other online retailers, such as Walmart, Newegg and slickdeals. If you prefer to peruse the shelves in person, make that Smartphone data plan earn some money back for you with ShopSavvy 5 (http://shopsavvy.mobi/, for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone). Once installed on your Smartphone, simply use your phone’s camera to take a picture of the barcode of the item you’re considering. The app will instantly report back prices of that item online and at other local retailers, allowing you to request a price match or drive next door to get the best deal.
5. Make your credit card work for you:
Many credit card companies have discovered that the key to keeping customers is to help them save money on purchases they are already making. Most deals and special coupons can only be activated by logging into your account and navigating through the associated deals section. For example, Bank of America cards now offer “cash back deals” that give you cash back on purchases made at certain retailers, restaurants and more. The catch is that you have to activate the offer in advance of making your purchase to get the reward. Citibank now offers Citi Price Rewind which it calls “buy now, save later.” Register your covered purchases and Citibank will track prices at online retailers for 30 days. If the price drops by at least $25, you get the price difference back – up to $250 per item.
Photo used by permission: stevendepolo