The holiday season is fast approaching, and for many people this means extra financial stress. The pressure to give the people in your life the perfect gift can take a toll on you and your wallet. We can’t completely make that go away, but we can give you some handy tips and tricks to help save money and earn rewards. Of course, you could always make handmade gifts, but if you’re not crafty or you don’t have time, keep reading to find out how you can still cross everyone off your gift list without breaking the bank.
1) Watch out for fakes
Unfortunately, scammers often try to take advantage of people during this season by setting up fake online stores and sending out emails that appear to be from reputable companies, but are actually not. Make sure to only shop at sites with https in front of them for security, and always check the URL and email sender. For instance, Amazon’s official website is https://www.amazon.com, but a fake might pose as http://www.amazonstore.com.
2) Separate your credit cards
If you’re a big online shopper, consider having a separate card for online purchases only. If your information is stolen, you can easily cancel that card without impacting or jeopardizing your other payment transactions such as bills.
3) Be cautious with store cards
We’ve all been at the checkout when a cashier has told us that we can get a great discount by opening up a store card. This might sound like a good idea at the time (who doesn’t want to save some money?), but be cautious. Unless you can afford to pay that card off in-full right then and there, the high interest rates and late fees can wipe out any discounts you might receive.
4) Make a list (check it twice)
Holiday shopping can be exciting and retailers have designed every single aspect of their stores to entice you to buy. It’s hard enough to go to Target without walking out with 5 things you don’t need, but add in holiday prices and decorations? You really have to make an effort to avoid going on a shopping spree. To help combat this, make a list of all the gifts you need, and stick to only the things on that list. If you’re still tempted to make off-list purchases, try taking a break and doing something else before starting to shop again.
5) Be strategic with your rewards
If you’re going to be using a credit card this season, try and use the one with the highest cash back rewards options. Ones that give you extra points for things like groceries or gas can be doubly helpful if you’re hosting a holiday meal or traveling somewhere for the holidays. You might be spending more than usual, but at least you’ll also be getting a little something back! To learn more about the credit card available through Central National Bank, visit https://centralnational.com/personal/lending.asp#creditcard
6) Use online coupons
Just because you’re shopping online doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of coupons. If you have a checking account at Central National, you can take advantage of our LifeNOW Rewards program, which gives you access to thousands of discounts and deals at online, local and national retailers. You don’t need to have a credit card to be rewarded for your shopping.
7) Take advantage of apps
8) Watch out for pricing-matching
Many retailers offer a price-match guarantee. If you can find the same item at a different retailer for a lower price, they’ll match that price. Make sure you pay attention to detail though, as many price-match policies are very specific, requiring products to have identical brands, color, model number, etc.
9) Use those old gift cards
Retailers love gift cards as they often sit unused in someone’s drawer. If you have a couple laying around from previous gifts, dig them out now and use them to purchase gifts for others. Even if there’s only a few dollars left, if you have a lot of gift cards, this will definitely add up.
10) Buy in bulk
If you have a lot of people on your gift list this year, consider buying in bulk. While you’ll probably want to choose personalized gifts for family members and close friends, you might want to give the same thing for others. Buying in bulk gives you a lower price per unit, giving you more for less.