With the holiday season quickly approaching, it’s no doubt that people across America are preparing their shopping lists. From entertaining the family at Thanksgiving to getting a gift for everyone in your immediate family, there is something to buy for everything.
And American consumers aren’t slowing down spending either. According to a recent report released by Gallup as published in Business Insider, holiday shopping is expected to reach an all time high since the Great Recession of 2009 with an average spend rate of $812 per person.
As an entrepreneur in the booming eCommerce space, I know perhaps too much about the holiday shopping process. That is why I am bringing you 5 holiday shopping hacks that you can use this year to save your money and sanity. While the crazies are out wrestling for a spot in line, you’ll be sitting in your living room enjoying a nice glass of wine.
Holiday Shopping Hack #1: Don’t be Fooled by Black Friday and Cyber Monday
We’re all too familiar with Black Friday…the day after Thanksgiving when retailers claim to offer the best deals of the year to kick off the 25 days of shopping before Christmas. The day has become synonymous with crazed shoppers stampeding each other at local retail stores to save that extra buck.
What most may not know is that Black Friday deals are only on a very select number of product types. It is usually high-ticket electronics, appliances, and gaming systems that steal the show. For all other products being bought on Black Friday, there is a good chance that you could have bought them cheaper or for the same price a few weeks earlier. However, the hype of Black Friday tricks you into making you feel like you are receiving a deal!
The story is the same for Cyber Monday…the Monday after Thanksgiving that has been deemed the Black Friday for online shopping.
It all boils down to simple economics. There are goods and there is demand and supply for those goods. As consumers create a greater demand for the good, the retailer has the power to slightly raise prices without it affecting the consumer’s actions.
Be a smart shopper on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Make sure that the deal you are receiving is actually a true deal.
Holiday Shopping Hack #2: For God’s sake…Comparison Shop
When shopping during the holidays, consumers become more spontaneous and tend to lose out on savings. The beauty of online shopping is that you now can comparison shop for every single product that you want to purchase for your loved ones.
The best thing…it’s extremely simple. Let’s look at an example.
I’m shopping for a gift for my father on Amazon because I love Amazon. They have everything and they always have the best prices. I’ve found exactly what I want and it seems (keyword “seems”) to be a good deal.
Instead of adding it to my cart and checking out, I copy the product name and search it on Google shopping. When I do this, I see that the same exact product is being sold at Best Buy for $10.00 cheaper. How did that happen? Because Amazon is a marketplace, they are not the only one selling products. When you don’t realize that Amazon is not the seller, you may not be receiving the best price.
Imagine being able to save $10.00 on every product that you buy over the holiday season…those savings can quickly add up. If you end up buying 20 products, that’s a total savings of $200.00.
To make comparison shopping even simpler, check out the PriceBlink extension for Chrome. It’s a Chrome extension that automatically presents you with other retailers where the product may be available for a cheaper total price.
Holiday Shopping Hack #3: Make Money while you Shop! Introducing Mr.Rebates, eBates, and Credit Card Points
Do you enjoy making money while you shop? Who doesn’t?
This holiday shopping hack makes it so that every time you swipe your credit card, you make 2 to 10 percent of the transaction that is eventually redeemable in cold hard cash. These are the two strategies.
Credit Card Cash Back
For all holiday shopping, you should be using a credit card with cash back rewards on every dollar spent. Put your cash, debit cards, and checks away.
If you spend $2,000 on shopping in the holidays, you have the opportunity to earn as much as $20 on a credit card that offers 1% on all transactions. Use cash or your debit card and you lose that $20 real fast.
For some credit cards, like the Chase Freedom card, you can earn up to 10% on all transactions from select retailers like Amazon in the 4th quarter. Spend $1,000 on Amazon over this holiday shopping season with the Chase Freedom card and watch as your cash back jumps $100 higher. Say hello to free money!
Mr. Rebates and Ebates
Rebate sites offer you the ability to earn 1 to 6% on online purchases as long as you navigate to the site through their site. Pretty simple. It’s free to sign up and you can immediately rack up cash.
Let’s say that out of the $2,000 that you spend this holiday season, you end up spending $1,000 of it online. Using a combination of Ebates and Mr. Rebates, you could earn 2 to 5% on your purchases. That’s another $20 to $50 that you just got paid to shop online.
When you combine these two holiday shopping hacks, you have the opportunity to earn back as much as $150 on a $2,000 spending budget. That’s a few more gifts for the family or one great gift for you!
Don’t overspend this holiday season by making your credit card and online purchases work for you. Sign up to a rebate site now and make sure that your credit card is ready to go.
Holiday Shopping Hack #4: Amazon Prime
If you’re an Amazon junkie and plan to buy all of your gifts on Amazon (good idea if you have the Chase Freedom card), now is the time to sign up for Amazon Prime.
Being the holidays, Amazon has a free 30 day promotion on its Prime service and you always have the option of cancelling after you’ve successfully shipped all of your holiday products for FREE.
If you’re really interested in getting an outstanding deal and hacking the Amazon system a bit, sign up for Amazon Prime and order your products before the 30 days is up. Once all orders have shipped, cancel your Prime account. With that holiday hack, you receive all shipments absolutely free.
If you’re not into gaming the system, signing up for Prime is also a great long term investment. You not only receive free 2 day shipping on all Prime eligible products, but you gain access to Amazon’s Prime movies, TV shows, eBooks, and music.
The most important habit to get into when using Prime on Amazon is to make sure that the products you are
ordering are Prime eligible. It’s not all that hard…just look for the Amazon Prime logo on your product!
Holiday Shopping Hack #5: Stop Shopping Online on December 22nd
No one wants to be the family member that didn’t have their gifts arrive on time. If you still haven’t done your online shopping around December 22nd, join the rest of the last minute shoppers at your local mall.
Even if they don’t advertise it, most online retailers are struggling to keep up by the last week of December before Christmas hits and there is a much better chance that your gifts don’t arrive because of a warehouse mistake. If you do decide to take the risk, make sure to triple check the estimated delivery date for your product.
Total Possible Savings
On a $2,000 budget, you have the opportunity to save a boat load of cash by using my holiday shopping hacks. Let’s take a look at how much you could potentially save in this upcoming holiday season:
Holiday hack #2: $200
Holiday hack #3: $150
Holiday hack #4: $50 (on shipping)
Total savings = $400.00!
Share the Joy!
If you have any loved ones that you want to help save money this season, share with them my holiday shopping hacks on Facebook, Twitter, or through email!