ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s easy to get carried away with spending during the most wonderful time of the year -- AKA holiday shopping season -- but that doesn’t mean you should, especially if money is tighter this year than in previous ones.
To avoid overspending, Money saving expert Andrea Woroch recommends getting your holiday shopping done early, according to News 6 sister station WDIV in Detroit, since shopping early can help spread purchases out over a longer period and avoid debt or racking up high credit card bills.
But before you start shopping, it’s important to make a list of who you need to shop for and map out a budget.
“I would definitely recommend getting organized, making a list, setting a budget because your finances may have changed this year versus last year,” Trae Bodge, a lifestyle expert, told WDIV.
Once you’ve set that budget, you can start hunting for deals to make sure you stay within it.
Here are a few apps and browser extensions Woroch recommends to help you stay on track and spot those opportunities to save:
- Flipp: According to WDIV, this free app pulls at the store circulars, enabling consumers to review deals in one place. It also alerts consumers to deals. The Flipp App also allows users to create their own digital shopping list -- which will be easy, because you’ll have already crafted yours elsewhere -- then instantly finds deals for the items on their list, according to its website. If you have loyalty cards at any stores, you can add them to the app and clip coupons digitally.
- Popcart: Remember when kids were going crazy over Hatchimals that one Christmas a few years ago and parents were setting up camp outside stores in hopes of being there in case they were restocked? Well, using Popcart might help you avoid ending up in a similar situation in the event your child just has to have whatever toy is next to be all the rage. Oh, and remember when people were waiting in outrageously long lines for toilet paper at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic? This browser extension likely could’ve prevented that, as well, since it sends you in-stock alerts for hard-to-find items based on your location. Popcart can also make comparing prices easy because it shops for your desired items across multiple retailers at once, according to the app’s website.
- Cently: This extension is for everyone who’s ever spent way too much time surfing the internet for coupon codes only to try dozens at checkout and never find one that actually works. Uh, isn’t that the worst? According to the app’s website, you never have to search for a coupon code again because “Cently automatically sniffs out and applies coupons for you at checkout, to ensure you score the best deal -- every time.” Yes please. In addition to finding you coupons, Cently also helps you earn by allowing you to earn cash back on purchases from thousands of stores. Oh, and it’s free!
In addition to using the apps, there are a few other tips to keep in mind to sniff out savings on your own.
Woroch said some stores offer incentives to shop now, like cash back and gift cards that consumers can hold onto to use later in the holiday shopping season as well, according to WDIV.
Bodge recommends looking for deals among your existing memberships.
“For instance, AARP has amazing number of benefits including discounts on holiday gifts and discounts on travel,” Bodge told WDIV.
Bodge said AARP offers travel-related discounts, like 30% off car rentals and 10% some hotel and resort reservations.
The experts say even if you’re shopping online, you should consider using curbside pickup because there could be savings there as well.
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“They may offer extra incentives with sale or coupon when you choose that delivery option, plus, that helps you avoid any potential shipping delays and you don’t have to deal with fighting for a parking spot or waiting in long line, so it’s kind of a win-win for everybody,” Woroch said.
Shoppers should also consider shopping local this holiday season and taking advantage of small businesses in the area that could use the extra boost. It can’t hurt to see what promotions they’re offering, if any.
“Obviously our small businesses need us more than ever. And so if you have a couple favorite boutiques that you typically shop with, give them a call and see what they’re doing around the holidays. They may not be able to discount, like a big box store [can] but they may offer really beautiful gift wrap, they may be offering curbside pickup, or time to visit so you don’t have to pack into the store,” Bodge told WDIV.
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