Saving for the Holidays - Shop Smarter Online!
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Saving for the Holidays – Shop Smarter Online!

Posted on Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013 at 8:00 am
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santa-shopping-onlineGetting a jump on your holiday shopping is key, but so is making the most out of each penny you spend. There are a few techniques that can really save you some dough when shopping online and we’re here to help you learn how. The first thing you’ll want to do is get started early. It may sound too good to be true, but starting your holiday shopping early (or ideally doing it year-round) will not only save you some stress during the season, but it’ll cut down on your expenses. Here are our best strategies.

1. Daily Deal Sites

The internet can really do wonders for your holiday budget, and daily deals are one of the best resources out there. The basic gist of these sites is that they provide deep discounts on a few products that change every day. Believe us, there is a daily deal site out there for everyone and everything that is on your holiday shopping list. Since you are starting your holiday shopping early you do have time to peruse and see which sites offer the types of deals you’re interested in. We’ve come up with a list of our favorite reputable daily deal sites:

1. Woot.com 

2. 1SaleADay.com

3. NoMoreRack.com 

4. Jane.com 

5. LivingSocial.com 

2. Shopping Smarter Online

If you don’t plan on utilizing daily deal sites like the aforementioned, it’s a good idea to have the goal  to never pay full price for whatever you purchase. You can do this in several ways: using promo codes, getting free shipping, joining store emailing lists, and getting cash back on your purchases.

If you aren’t familiar with what a promo code is it’s a set of words or characters that you enter to get a discount on your purchase when you checkout online. The real trick to using promo codes is finding them and making sure that they work. A good place to start with promo codes is by checking the Freecoupons.com Coupon Code section. Simply type in whatever store you plan on shopping at to see if there are any valid promo codes or coupons you can use. If you can’t seem to find any there be sure to use your favorite search engine to double-check there are no valid offers.  Another great way to save is by getting free shipping. When searching for promo codes you’ll often find codes for free shipping too. If you can’t seem to find a free shipping promo codes stores will probably have a minimum purchase amount you have to meet before receiving free shipping. If this is the case you simply have to ask yourself whether you want to make an extra purchase to fit this requirement, or if free shipping is just not worth it.

One other way to save is by getting a heads up on hot promotions from your favorite stores is by signing up for their mail or email newsletter. By becoming a store insider you’ll be the first to know about coupons, flash sales (sales that last only a few hours which have deep discounts), and any specials they have coming up. If you aren’t a fan of tons of email from varying stores we recommend you create a separate email account just for store newsletters and coupons. Doing this makes sorting through what deals you’re interested in and which ones you aren’t much easier. If you do plan on purchasing something online be sure to see if you’re able to get cash back on your purchase. Check out Ebates.com to see what percentage of your purchase you can get back from popular stores such as Macy’s, Sears, Amazon, and many more!

3. Get Creative

Just because you are holiday shopping doesn’t mean you actually have to buy someone a thing. This may sound strange, but some of the best gifts out there are experiences! With online gift certificate programs like Groupon or Amazon Local you can purchase truly unique experiences for your loved ones at a fantastic price. Since there is such a wide variety of offers on each of these sites you are bound to find something that is not only in your price range, but something your gift recipient will love. If you are planning on purchasing a gift certificate for someone be sure to double-check the expiration date and if there are any limitations on usage.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.