It’s finally the season of giving. But with consumer prices in the U.S. on the rise due to inflation, it could feel like the perfect season for penny-pinching. That is, if you’re not optimizing your holiday shopping strategy.
There are actually plenty of ways to still give the gifts you were planning and get money back for those purchases. Want to save without being a Scrooge? Use these tips for getting cash back on your holiday shopping this season.
A simple search in your phone’s app store will bring plenty of options for cash-back and rebate apps to your fingertips. While you’re holiday shopping, these apps will earn you rewards that you can trade in for cash, gift cards, or other offers. Popular cash-back apps include Fetch, TopCashback, and Ibotta.
Ibotta is a favorite among online shoppers, and it’s easy to see why. Shoppers can scroll the app for daily deals, some of which offer up to 30 percent cash back on purchases from top retailers. Once you’ve started saving, you can cash out your Ibotta earnings via PayPal or apply the balance to gift cards. You can use the app in stores or online at participating retailers, and you can even link existing loyalty accounts from certain stores to capitalize on your savings.
Ibotta has a whole selection of offers for holiday shoppers, and you can get a $15 earnings bonus when you spend $50 right now.
Store Credit Cards
Don’t spend it all in one place! Unless you’re going to make some money back, of course. If you’re looking to do most of your holiday shopping at one big-box retailer, it might benefit you to apply for a store credit card to rack up more perks and savings at that particular store. What’s more, many of these store credit cards are offering competitive cash back deals just in time for this holiday season.
The Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card earns three percent back on purchases from Amazon.com, which accrues into points you can apply toward other Amazon purchases or redeem them for cash. You’ll also receive a $60 Amazon gift card when you’re approved.
You don’t have to be an Amazon Prime member to apply for the Amazon Rewards Visa Card, but it could earn you even more savings. If you go for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card, you earn five percent back on Amazon purchases and receive a $150 Amazon gift card upon approval. Combining either of these offers could earn you some real money back on your holiday shopping.
Shopping in person? Stores like Target have similar rewards in place for their credit cardholders. The Target RedCard credit card, debit card, or reloadable card already gets you five percent off of in-store or online purchases. But now through December 12, 2022, you can get $40 off a future purchase of over $40 when you’re approved for any RedCard.
Credit Card Cash Back Rewards
When you’re making your holiday gift list, make sure you check your credit card benefits twice, too. Many personal credit cards offer cash back rewards for purchases from certain retailers or brands. These rewards typically last for a set number of days, so make sure you check your rewards online and add them to your card before shopping.
A highly recommended credit card for cash back options is the Chase Freedom Unlimited Visa. With this card, you regularly earn 1.5 percent cash back or more on all purchases. Bonus – you can earn $200 cash back if you spend $500 in the first three months after opening your account.
Check for Price Drops
It’s the consumer’s classic struggle – buy the item now to ensure you have it, or wait til it goes on sale? Well, sometimes you don’t have to choose.
Many major retailers like Target, Best Buy, and Macy’s will offer price adjustments. That means if you purchase an item at full price and it goes on sale within the period you can exchange or return it, you can take it in and get refunded the difference. I have been known to take a dress back to Madewell three times for them to honor the decreases in selling price within my return window.
Now this strategy would take some real discount diligence, so you’ll need to keep an eye on your product’s price after purchase to see if it goes down. If you’re a Capital One shopper, the app Paribus is available to track purchases you’ve made and alert you when a price online dips below what you paid for it.
If you’re giving the gift of giving back this holiday season, you may also give yourself a little break next tax season.
Making a charitable donation on someone’s behalf is a thoughtful gift – and if you’re the one donating the funds, you get to claim the amount on your own tax return the following year.
There are, of course, some stipulations. The organization receiving your donation needs to align with the IRS’s qualifications, and you’ll want to keep the proof of donation on file in case you need to submit it with your return or an audit. Read through the IRS guidelines for charitable contribution deductions before writing it off.
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