The holidays bring together family and friends to celebrate the joy of the season. Festive meals, gift giving and celebrations are a special part of this time of year, but the extra expense can put a strain on your wallet.
We’ve pulled together nine tips to save some cash during the holidays:
1. Find food deals.
Look for grocery store sales on holiday staples like baking supplies, turkeys and trimmings like potatoes, yams and gravy. Check your newspaper for coupons on staples to double on savings. Remember, you can “stack” coupons, which means you can use a manufacturer’s coupons and a store coupon for the same item.
2. Be loyal.
Sign up for loyalty programs and emails from your favorite grocery stores, clothing stores and local mom-and-pop shops. Follow them on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. You’ll be the first to hear about sales and you may score special coupons reserved for their most loyal customers.
3. Go mobile.
Download mobile apps for your favorite stores for instant access to in-store coupons, notice of secret sales and other perks. If the store you love offers online sales, you can do your holiday shopping from the comfort of your couch.
4. Give yourself a bonus.
If you are heading out to dinner for holiday meals or have a big electronics purchase on your shopping list, look for deals that offer a bonus card with purchase. Some restaurants offer a $20 bonus gift card with a $100 gift card purchase and big retailers often offer bonus gift cards with purchases of larger ticket items.
5. Get cash back.
6. Look for free shipping.
If you do shop online, when you log into a retailer look for free shipping offers and online discount codes that will take a percentage off your total. Pay attention to return policies, and whether you will have to pay return shipping if the item you buy is not right for you.
7. Price match.
Look for stores in your area that price match and save yourself a bundle in time and money. (Be sure to check for holiday exclusions.)
8. Get rewarded.
Use credit cards that reward you with cash back or points toward your favorite airline or hotel chain. Remember to stay within your budget and only charge what you can pay in full at the end of the month. You don’t want to start the new year with a pile of credit card bills that you can’t afford.
9. Give a gift from the heart.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to give a memorable gift. A framed picture of you and your loved one, homemade goodies, handcrafted items or a “gift certificate” for a special outing like a picnic or movie night can make a lasting impression.
Written By: Julie Laviolette
Julie Landry Laviolette is a Florida-based freelance writer who reads finance magazines for fun. She has written a personal finance column for the Miami Herald and a money-saving blog for its website. Her work also has appeared in The New York Times, Orlando Sentinel and The Times-Picayune in New Orleans.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
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