Here’s how to save money during the holidays

Stretching Your Dollar
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Whether it’s the pricey gifts, travel expenses, or crowds, the holidays can bring out the Grinch in all of us.

But there are ways to make things less hectic.

A great deal can quickly turn into a dud when the shipping costs are calculated.

“To dodge delivery fees, refer to websites like FreeShipping.org and watch out for retailers that offer free shipping. Don’t forget, many retailers will waive shipping minimums during Free Shipping Day on December 16 and guarantee delivery by Christmas,” said Andrea Woroch, a consumer spending expert.

Another pitfall to avoid is the thought that you have to sometimes spend more to save more. That’s because some retailers do an excellent job of convincing consumers to spend more than they intended.

“Tiered deals that offer a ‘dollar off’ amount like $5 off $25, $20 off $100 or $40 off $200 often mislead consumers into thinking they should spend more to save more. Instead, make a specific list of items you want to buy and use coupon apps to find better deals from top brands,” said Woroch.

One example is Coupon Sherpa, a website that has a downloadable app and a holiday coupons page to help you find the discounts.

How many of you create and track your shopping budget?

It can be a huge money saver because it’s easy to get caught up in the holiday frenzy of overspending. So setting a realistic holiday budget can save you the burden of debt when the season is over and help you track everything you spend.

The other money-saving tip during the holidays is to not overlook hidden expenses.

“There are many hidden costs during the holidays and it’s important to remember seasonal spending includes more than just gifts. Are you flying somewhere for the holidays? If so, make sure to budget for such travel expenses as snacks and water, which can cost you a premium at airport shops,” said Woroch.

The final tip is about credit cards. Many shoppers now put all their holiday expenses on credit cards, but should you? If you’re great at budgeting and get cashback or rewards by using your credit card, it can be a good idea.

“There is a risk to solely relying on your credit card. Using them to make purchases during the holidays makes it easy to overspend. And a new year doesn’t start out well with heaps of debt accumulated from holiday expenses,” Woroch said.

“Unless you can quickly pay off holiday purchases, use your credit card as little as possible. You’ll be doing your finances a favor by using cash and by preparing a budget ahead of time to figure out what you’re able to afford.”

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