It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in retail stores and online shops. Holiday sales have arrived earlier than ever, and deep discounts are expected on items, including toys, apparel, and electronics. A new survey by Gartner Marketing found that nearly one-third of consumers are planning to spend less this holiday season. With inflation a concern for consumers, many are planning to shop early.
Another study reported by BusinessWire agreed with 38% of those surveyed reporting that they expect to spend less for Christmas this year. Inflation has caused consumers to look for ways to decrease spending on non-essential items, and for many, this includes holiday shopping. Many credit card holders reported they are using their cards more due to a tighter budget and increased product costs. If you’re feeling the pinch when it comes to holiday shopping, here are 6 tips to stretch your holiday bucks.
1 Plan ahead for the biggest bang on cashback rewards
To reiterate, holiday sales are starting earlier this year as retailers look to sell off excess inventory. Now is the time to download a cashback app or two and start searching for great deals at your favorite retailers. Apps such as Rakuten can help you earn cash back when shopping through the app or browser extension. Honey is another browser extension that is great for cash back as well as finding discounts and deals. You can redeem your honey “gold” for cash or gift cards. There are many cashback and coupon sites to help stretch your holiday bucks further.
2 Shop retailers offering price match guarantees
Price tracking now can also help you maximize your savings. Apps such as Camelcamelcamel, a free Amazon price tracker, and Shopsavvy will alert you when an item you’re interested in drops in price, or when something is on sale. Apps like these are a great way to keep an eye on price changes when shopping for a particular item.
To encourage early shopping, certain retailers such as Target are also offering a price-match guarantee. At Target, this means that purchases made now may qualify for a price adjustment if the price goes down before a certain date. If you purchase an item in-store or online after October 6, 2022, and the price goes lower at Target before December 24, 2022, you can request a price match if you have proof of purchase. Be sure to check a store’s price match guarantee policy before you shop.
3 Be smart when using credit cards
When used with care, a good credit card can help with all of your holiday shopping and entertainment costs. A rewards credit card is a good way to stretch your dollar by enabling you to take advantage of the rewards to purchase additional gifts. A low-rate balance transfer credit card or low-rate rewards credit card can be most beneficial. For example, Choice One Community Credit Union is currently advertising a VISA balance transfer credit card with a 0% APR* on balance transfers for 6 months with no balance transfer or annual card fees. After six billing cycles, the rate returns to the current fixed rate at that time.
Choice One’s current Platinum Visa Credit Card Rate as of October 14, 2022, is 8.90% APR and Classic Visa Card is 13.50% APR. This is well below the average credit card interest rate in America today, which is about 22.21%. Being smart when using your credit cards means understanding how much you can afford and paying off your balances quickly before you are buried in interest charges.
4 Factor shipping before making an online purchase
Have you ever scored a great deal on an online purchase until it came down to the shipping? We’ve all been there. Online purchases can seem cheaper than in-store until those shipping costs are added in. Be sure to look at the bottom line before you complete your purchase.
5 Take advantage of a low-rate Holiday Bucks Personal Loan if your budget needs a boost
Let’s face it, the cost of living keeps increasing, and our income doesn’t always keep pace. If you need some help covering the items on your holiday list, a Holiday Bucks Personal Loan from Choice One can help. With rates as low as 5.24% APR** for a 12-month term, it beats charging everything on a high-rate credit card. Especially when you see what the average credit card interest rate is right now as we mentioned above.
6 Avoid last-minute shopping
Finally, waiting until the last minute to knock those gifts off of your list may mean a very limited selection and inflated shipping costs. You are better off shopping now and sticking to your list and budget, rather than panic shopping in the days leading up to Christmas.
We hope you’ve found our 6 tips to stretch your holiday bucks helpful!
*0% VISA Balance Transfer Rate is valid for 6 billing cycles from the date of transfer. The rate returns to the current rate at that time. Choice One’s current Platinum Visa Credit Card Rate is 8.90% APR and Classic Visa Card is 13.50% APR with No Balance Transfer or Annual Fee. Balance Transfer offer is good on any new or existing Choice One Platinum or Classic Credit Card. The 0% balance transfer rate is for balances transferred from another institution only. Transfers may not exceed the credit line a member is approved for.
** APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Rates shown are for qualified borrowers and are subject to change without notice. Rate shown includes a .25% discount for auto deduct from a Choice One share or share draft account. Additional rates and terms are available. Contact the credit union for complete details.