With core holiday shopping season just around the corner, it can be stressful thinking about all of the money you may have to shell out for presents. Don't worry, we've got you covered with five easy ways to save on your holiday shopping.
Buy Discounted Gift Cards
If you find something you want to buy, check to see if you can score a discounted gift card to get instant savings.
Sites like Raise.com typically offer gift cards with discounts off of the total cost ranging from 5% to as high as 30%. For example, consumers can currently purchase Nordstrom gift cards for 5% off, Allen Edmonds gift cards for nearly 12% off, and Happy Socks gift cards for 15% off on Raise.com.
Aside from store gift cards, the holidays are also a great time to stock up on discounted restaurant gift cards, for yourself or others. Restaurants usually offer these deals from November through the end of the year.
Many restaurants offer exceptional promotions during the holidays, including several of the major steakhouse chains - such as Capital Grille, Del Frisco's, Morton's, The Palm, and Ruth's Chris - as well as upscale restaurant groups, including Rosa Mexicano, BR Guest Hospitality, and Starr Restaurants. Even casual dining restaurants like Chipotle, Jamba Juice, and Steak n' Shake sometimes offer discounted gift cards.
Use Cash-Back Shopping Sites
Cash-back shopping allows consumers to save money on nearly everything they buy online, regardless of whether a particular store is holding a sale. The savings come from cash-back portals, which have affiliate relationships with all of the stores listed on their sites.
Quite simply, cash-back sites earn a commission when they refer a customer who ends up making a purchase. These sites allow referred consumers to share in the commission generated in the form of cash back, typically in amounts ranging from 1% to 30% of the purchase price. You can take advantage of cash-back shopping through two simple steps:
- Sign up for a cash-back site. Some of the most popular options include Ebates, Mr. Rebates, and TopCashBack.
- When planning to make a purchase, go directly to the cash-back shopping site instead of the store's website. Once there, search for your store of interest, click its name, and - ta da! - you will be redirected to the store and off to cash in on some savings through cash back.
Most cash-back sites allow you to cash in on these savings through a check or online deposit within a specified time frame, such as one to three months after completing the purchase.
Take Advantage Of Sales
Combining the first two strategies with store sales allows you to save even more money. During the holidays, a sale always seems to be going on, so you have little reason to pay full price. In addition to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, sales also occur for Small Business Saturday, Green Monday, and Free Shipping Day, among other events.
Use A Price Adjustment App
Although sales abound during the holidays, you may still find it difficult to time when you will get the best price for a particular product. That's where a price adjustment app could be helpful. By signing up for an app like Earny, your credit card and email will link to the app. The app will then track whenever you might be eligible for a price adjustment, either through the store or through your credit card, for past purchases.
If you're eligible for a lower price, the app will automatically send an email to the store or card company, detailing the relevant transaction, the price difference, and the refund request. That's it! At the end of each month, Earny will take 25% of the total amount refunded across all transactions.
Look For Free Shipping Both Ways
Some stores offer free shipping to you, but not necessarily free shipping both ways. Certain stores, including Nordstrom, Bonobos, and Zappos offer free shipping both ways year-round. Other stores may offer free shipping both ways only during the holiday season.
Don't despair if a particular store lacks free shipping and free returns as you may still be able to qualify for these benefits. Services like Shoprunner offer free shipping and free returns for a range of participating stores, including Bloomingdales, Express, Kate Spade, Saks Fifth Avenue, Under Armour, and 1-800-Flowers. The service typically costs $79/year or $8.95/month. However, consumers with a personal or small business American Express or World or World Elite MasterCard are eligible for free Shoprunner memberships. If you don't have either of those credit cards, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Shoprunner, which you may be able to strategically use for the holidays and then cancel.
Even if a store lacks free shipping and isn't a Shoprunner partner, there is still hope. Check FreeShipping.org to see if you're able to find a free shipping code for your store of choice.
Putting It All Together
There's no time like the present to start planning to save on your holiday shopping. You can sign up for one or multiple cash-back shopping sites today, to save you time during your actual shopping journey. In addition, you can start scouting out stores that offer free shipping both ways. Remember to continue checking back as many stores offer free shipping promotions around the holidays.
When you find an item that you want to buy (on sale, of course), the remainder of your shopping journey can be as simple as 1-2-3:
- Go to a site like Raise.com to look for discounted gift cards for the applicable store
- Go to your cash-back shopping portal, click through to your store of choice, find your item, and proceed to checkout
- Sit back and relax while you wait for your item. In the background, your price adjustment app will be monitoring prices for you to see if you are eligible for a refund, should prices decrease