Temperatures are dropping, leaves are falling, and shoppers are in full swing for the 2019 holiday season. In fact, the National Retail Federation is expecting holiday retail sales in November and December to increase between 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent over the 2018 season.
With this holiday spending in mind, many consumers are wondering: “How can I save a few bucks?”
We did our homework and touched base with a few experts in the space to fill us in on some easy ways to save money. Here’s what they had to say.
Choosing the Right Credit Rewards Program
With so many cards available on the market today, it can be tough to choose which is the right fit for your shopping needs. Some of the core themes to look for in a credit card are automatic rewards on purchases you are already making. It is also a good idea to find a card that has a marketplace program incorporated that enables getting more bang for your buck by using the points within their network of preferred merchants. Preferred merchants can range from a wide variety of options including travel partners, food and beverage as well as widely used marketplaces, like Amazon.
It’s also a good idea to look for a credit card with automatic rewards with no opt-in required, unlimited point earning potential and unrestricted point redemption. Providers like Canada-based Brim Financial and Chase Sapphire have turnkey reward programs that make it simple to automatically earn more points on every purchase you make with their participating merchants.
Saving Through Websites
In addition to saving through credit points, shoppers can also earn points and cash back on purchases through cash back shopping sites. You read that right- there are cash-back shopping sites that literally pay you to shop.
Mobile apps like iBotta earn commission on what they sell when they refer a customer who later makes a purchase. As the customer, you get some of that commission kicked back to you in the form of cash back, which can range from 1-30 percent of the cost of the purchase.
When it comes to choosing what products to purchase, many companies offer rebate programs that allow shoppers to earn cash back on purchases.
“Look for turnkey rebate programs that offer cash back or prepaid cards in return – these give you more flexibility in where you can spend the funds,” said Berkeley Payments’ CEO and founder Jonathon Hamberg. “There are also programs that encourage trade-ins, so you know your old TV, computer, mobile phone, tires etc. are being recycled or reused to minimize waste and environmental impact.”
Through rebates, shoppers can earn a large percentage of cash back on many purchases they were planning to make anyway.
According to Hamberg, if you are in the market for technology products or auto deals, it’s a good idea to keep your eyes peeled as many companies of this nature aggressively use rebates to build longer term relationships and gain market share.
Waiting is Not Always a Bad Idea
While there’s a lot of noise around November and early December for flash sales, if you missed Black Friday- you shouldn’t sweat it too much. The best deals on coveted electronics and other large-ticket items actually come after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. According to The New York Times it’s ok wait even later, with some of the best deals actually coming the week before Christmas.
The holidays can be a stressful time, but they don’t need to be stressful on your wallet. Follow the above tips and your holidays are sure to be full of cheer and a little extra cash.