by Elizabeth Scholes
Christmas – the birth of the long-expected Christ, time with family, making special memories, and…..shopping! No matter who you are, chances are you’re going to do some shopping this season. You can learn to save money each time you do any retail shopping using today’s tips.
The key to savings is time. You have to put in time and effort in order to save, but it’s so simple that soon it will be second nature. Most stores offer multiple coupons, online promo codes, and specials and you can find them with a simple internet search. Each time you plan to go to a store, check online first to see if there are any savings. There are actually websites that compile this information for you. One I like to use is www.retailmenot.com. Completely dedicated to Black Friday and Christmas 2011 promo codes is www.promocodes2011.com. Keep in mind that you may need a printer to print a coupon. You may also find that you’ll save more if you shop online. At this time of year many stores are offering special online incentives and many offer free shipping. Internet shopping is very safe now, and for major retailers, you should not be fearful to enter in your payment information. Be sure it is a credible retailer before purchasing online. Be careful with mom & pop businesses unless you are sure of their policy on secure payment. You could also purchase a gift card (in store) and then use that as payment if you feel safer doing that.
Another great thing about online shopping is websites like www.shopathome.com and www.ebates.com. These sites allow to you shop through their host site and get a percentage of cash back for your purchases. Most store percentages are between 3-6% but often they will offer even up to 50% cash back for certain stores. If I do any online shopping, I always go through one of these to earn extra savings.
ShopAtHome.com requires you to sign up to join. They send cash back checks when you reach $20, up to once a month. The drawback is that if you have not reached $20, your money sits in their hands until you reach $20, which may take a long time if you don’t do a lot of online shopping.
Ebates.com also requires you to sign up to join. They send cash back quarterly and they will send however much you have earned in that quarter. There is no minimum cash back requirement. This site allows you to choose if you would like your check mailed to you, deposited in a Pay Pal account, or donated to a charity of your choice or family member.
Christmas shopping (or any shopping for that matter) doesn’t have to exceed your budget and be a headache. If you plan wisely and look for coupons, you can save a lot. Don’t underestimate the savings that can add up from 10% off or free shipping.
This week’s challenge is to look for coupons for any stores where you plan to shop. If you do a lot of online shopping, look into setting up an account at one of the cash back