Still shopping for the holidays? Thankfully, we’re almost at the end of our list. While we’ve tried to find awesome deals and use coupon codes as we shopped for our family, some types of presents – like experiences – make it challenging to get a good deal. As I think back on all the gifts we purchased this holiday season, I thought I’d share a few unique ways to save on Christmas gifts. And yes, I’ve done all of these!
- Shop eBay. I’m lucky that my brother wants a few retro gifts for Christmas, so eBay has been an easy way to find affordable like new video games. Don’t worry, he doesn’t read my blog so this isn’t a spoiler. But in years past, eBay has been the perfect place for me to find affordable prices on new boxed DVD sets. It’s a good place to comparison shop if you have the time.
- Use Ebates. I’ve mentioned Ebates several times, but one of my tricks to online shopping is using cash back sites. To date, I’ve made over $800 using Ebates. Whenever I make a purchase online, I log on to Ebates first, click on the retailer, and I get a percentage of cash back. When I’m comparison shopping, I definitely take this into account. For example, a present for my parents was the same price on Amazon and Macy’s – and both had free shipping. Macy’s offered 8% cash back, making it my retailer of choice so I could save an extra $3.
- Check Your Paypal Balance. I don’t online shop often throughout the year, but this time of year, if a retailer takes Paypal, I use it. I received money via Paypal from a few friends this year, and didn’t want to pay the fee to transfer to my bank account. Now that Paypal balance has come in handy as a few retailers accept Paypal. I’ve managed to work down my Paypal balance and buy gifts for my family. By not putting this on my credit card, it has helped me lessen my bill. Check to see if you have any money sitting in your Paypal account. If you do, consider using it to pay your favorite merchants.
- Leverage Your Credit Card Points. Last April, my husband and I switched to Citibank’s Double Cash credit card. We get 1% cash back for every purchase, and 1% cash back every time we pay the bill. We exclusively use this card, with the exception of when we use our Chase Freedom card. The Chase typically offers 1% cash back, but there are quarterly categories where you get 5% cash back. This month it is department stories, drugstores and wholesale clubs. We stick to using this card only for those 5% times. As a result of using our Double Cash so much, we’ve managed to rack up almost $550 in cash rewards. With the end of the year coming up, we opted to cash in our points and apply as a statement credit on this year’s holiday bill. This way, our statement will seem a lot less scary. If you aren’t planning on saving your points for something special, now is a great time to cash them. If you can only get gift cards, consider trading your points in for a retailer where you will be doing the remainder of your shopping, like Amazon.
- Use Digit. Digit is a tool that you connect to your bank account. The app learns your spending habits and sneakily takes a few bucks out of your account every few days. The goal is that this will help you save without you having to make a conscious effort. In the past month, I’ve saved about $238 from it taking a few dollars every few days. Yes, it is taking my money and hiding it from me. But, when my credit card bill comes, I can transfer the money back into my bank account and put it towards my bill. Without even thinking, I’ve put money aside to pay for Christmas gifts that I didn’t even realize I was missing.
What are some of your ways to cure January’s financial hangover?
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