Buying for gifts for friends, family, and even for people you don't like is stressful. From work Christmas parties to Friendsgiving, it's an expensive time of the year. Budgets are not typically kept and credit card debt skyrockets. However, there are some steps you can take to help lower the cost.
Price Compare Everything
Simply typing the item you're looking to buy into Google might be sufficient, but there are several apps and Google Chrome extensions that can save you money such as Amazon Assistant, Honey, Pricescout, and The Camelizer. These apps check for price changes over time and look for lower prices for the same item elsewhere online. Sometimes you can find massive discounts by buying an item on another site.
What they don't do, that I wish they did, is to check the available coupons at the various sites and factor discounts from a promo code into the prices they are comparing. Also, they don't factor in loyalty points, store cash you could earn, or personalized discounts.
Surprisingly, there are a few things that stop people from buying an item for a lower price somewhere else: store credit cards and store loyalty. If you have a credit card for Amazon, not the VISA but the actual Amazon Store Credit Card, you are most likely not going to buy an item at Target.com to save a few bucks. You are probably going to buy the item at Amazon and use your store credit card.
Tip: Don't miss out on a lower price for the item you're about to buy. Use price checking tools and compare all discounts, store cash you can earn, and loyalty points before clicking place order.
Even I have forgotten about cashback while shopping for the holidays. I'll end up buying something in the store, instead of online, and miss out on the free money.
For example, I just bought about $100 worth of holiday gifts from Kohl's, if I bought them online I would have made 3% from cashback from Rakuten - $3 might seem small, but it adds up quickly! Sometimes the cashback offers are higher than normal, especially during the holidays. I use the Rakuten Chrome Browser extension, but there are many more out there.
Tip: While you're out shopping, check to see if you can buy an item online instead of in-store and earn cashback. If you don't, you're leaving free money on the table!
Buying gifts for the holidays doesn't have to be expensive. There are a few ways you can save money and still get great gifts. It just takes a few tools and patience.