5 ways to save money on holiday shopping this season

This holiday shopping season promises to be longer, more expensive and, in some ways, more chaotic than previous years, making it easier to overspend. But there are also significant savings opportunities if you know where and how to look for them.

“There are supply chain issues, inflation, big retailers cutting inventory — when you put it all together, it looks like a recipe for disaster,” says consumer coupon expert Jill Cataldo. based in Chicago. His solution? “I started shopping now. If you see something and it looks like a good deal, it’s time to pick it up.

Indeed, while prices are higher overall, retailers have already kicked off the season of holiday deals, spreading discounts and sales over the last three months of the year. Given this complicated backdrop, here are the best ways to save money this Black Friday season:

1. Buy early and often

It may seem counter-intuitive, but starting early can lessen the impact on your budget and allow you to land the best deals. “I look at prices, see which retailer has the best price, and always look for coupons before I buy — anything is better than paying full price,” says Cataldo. When she makes an advance purchase, she keeps the receipt handy in case the price drops. Some retailers offer price matching, or you can buy the best deal and return the most expensive purchase.

2. Be fierce at comparing prices

Apps, browser extensions, and other tools that will help you track and compare prices abound; you just have to choose the one you like to use the most. You can find picks that crawl the web in the background while you shop and alert you to lower prices, discount codes, and cash back opportunities.

For example, the ShopSavvy shopping app will track price changes on specific items. John Boyd, co-founder and CEO of Monolith Technologies, owner of ShopSavvy, says he uses this feature for things he watches, like a single-lens DSLR camera. “I want to get an alert as soon as these items are marked down because they might only be on sale for a few minutes and then the quantity runs out,” he says.

The Camelizer app performs a similar function for Amazon prices in particular.

Greg Lisiewski, vice president of PayPal Shopping, which includes the Honey shopping browser extension, says that when he wants to buy something, he looks up the retailer in the PayPal app to see if any discounts are available (under the “Offers” section).

These discounts are particularly valuable now as PayPal Honey reports that toys and games are 11% more expensive this year compared to last year, coffee machines are up 7% and cycling equipment and gear is up 9%. The company also reports that the biggest reductions this holiday season have been in cosmetics, musical instruments and general department stores.

3. Layer up coupon codes and cash back

Getting a bargain isn’t just about price: you can add further savings with coupon codes and cashback offers.

Cataldo takes advantage of cashback offers, which are available through apps such as Rakuten, CouponCabin and Ibotta. “It’s just an extra step if you go shopping online and then you get a check,” she says. “I like easy things, and it’s very easy.”

Scott Kluth, founder and CEO of CouponCabin, says stores with excess inventory will often have discounts of 10% to 15%, and cashback offers range from 3% to 20%. “Pile all those savings on top of each other,” he says, adding that sometimes online retailers accept multiple discount codes and offer free shipping.

4. Get to know your local stores

Deborah Weinswig, CEO and founder of Coresight Research, a retail research and consulting firm, says knowing your local stores and attending in-person events can be the way to close the biggest deals. “Store managers have the ability to negotiate and price match or beat prices,” she says, especially when they have excess inventory on hand.

She suggests joining live streams, following your favorite brands on social media, and signing up for brand loyalty programs to be the first to know about discounts or sales. “Some codes are only good for 24 hours and some prices are only good for four hours,” she says, so if you want the best deals, be prepared to act fast.

5. Tell your friends and family about the discount

With so many people feeling the pressure of rising prices, it’s a good year to talk with family and friends about setting limits. For Sarah Schweisthal, social media manager of budgeting app You Need a Budget, that means creating a gift exchange with family members so that each person only buys one gift as part of a gift. agreed spending limit. “We used to buy presents for each other, but there are a lot of adults in our family. It just took one of us to say, ‘Hey, that doesn’t seem sustainable,’” she says.

Schweisthal credits the gift-exchanging approach to saving her family hundreds of dollars — and this year in particular, budgeting for the holidays is more important than ever.

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press.

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Kimberly Palmer writes for NerdWallet. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @kimberlypalmer.

The article 5 Ways to Save Money on Holiday Shopping This Season originally appeared on NerdWallet.

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