The holiday season can be hard on the purse and wallet. Most of us will shop at the major national outlets this holiday season, but there are many cost effective alternative outlets that many don’t consider. This is a list of some of the best places to shop and ways to save money through good money management and online ordering.
1. Order from Amazon.com – This is something that millions of people are picking up on each year. Chances are if you’re looking for a very specific product you can find it on here. The counter argument is that shipping prices make up the difference of any amount that someone might save, however, especially during the holiday season online retailers like Amazon offer promotions. Simply Google “Amazon Coupon codes.” This will bring up many different websites that list promotional offer codes. Many will offer, 10, 20, or even 50 percent off orders as well as offers such as “free shipping” or “buy one get one free.” Another good tip for Amazon is to buy the item used. Beneath the price of the item on Amazon you’ll see a “buy used” option with lower prices.
2. Use Google to compare prices – When ordering online it’s just like buying in stores. You should shop around for the best price. And with Google shopping you can do this easily. Just go to Google and select “Shopping” from the “More” menu. Type in what you want and a list will show up. You can order the list from lowest to highest price. When you find the one you want click on it, and you’ll be taken to the website to order it on.
3. Make your purchase on Ebay – Ebay.com is an awesome way to find products of all kinda especially cheap. The counter argument to Ebay is that you don’t know what you’re getting and you have to trust the other person. This isn’t exactly true because you can look at the reputation of the person you’re buying from to see if they’ve made honest transactions in the past. Every person who has bought from this individual will have the opportunity to make comments, positive or negative. If you don’t like the idea of bidding, you can always select the “Buy now” option and skip past all the bidding.
4. Shop at Goodwill Stores – Online isn’t the only place to find cheap prices for the holiday season! Goodwill and other consignment shops offer a wide range of great products for highly reduced prices. Obviously it’s all used merchandise, but most of it is still in great condition. Just take the tag off!
5. Ad-match – If you’re going to shop at the major retailers, be aware that many of them will ad-match! So if you find one price at Best Buy and it’s more expensive at Target you can ask them if they’ll match the price.
6. Use cash, check, or debit card – It’s smart to avoid the credit card when holiday shopping. Set aside some money and pull it out of your account as cash. Set a limit of how much you’ll spend, even by how much you’re carrying. Check or debit card is good too, but avoid credit card spending. It can easily get out of control and the interest will leave you spending more than you intended in the long term.
7. Check out GiftCardRescue.com and PlasticJungle.com – On these websites you can trade unwanted gift cards for gift cards from various stores. You can also purchase gift cards for discounted amounts from others.
8. Avoid websites like Beezid.com – I’m sure most of us have seen the commercials for these type of scams. It seems like a great idea in theory, but it’s not good for anybody but the people who own it. Beezid is an auction website. Very simply, it’s a penny auction scam. You’re charged for each bid. You can get free bids to start out with, but they run out fast. You’ll end up wasting your time and money if you aren’t careful.
9. Use Shopping Apps – There are many apps for smart phones that will display prices, deals, and sales at various outlets online and otherwise. Some good ones are: Amazon mobile, Groupon, Snaptell, Red Laser, GoodGuide, and Consumer Reports Mobile Shopper. It’s good way mobile way to be aware of price ranges.
10. Show your Student ID – Many retailers will give discounts for students. Some of these include Apple, Sony, Microsoft, Buy.com, Amazon (Student Program), and many others.
– “Like” businesses and chains on Facebook to get exposed to more discounts and offers
– Join email lists for major businesses
– Join rewards programs at places such as Best Buy, Walgreens, Pick ‘n’ Save, and many others.
– Make your own gifts
– Be safe and remember it’s about giving and family!