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How savings experts do holiday shopping

How savings experts do holiday shopping
© Dmitriy Shironosov | Dreamstime

I look at shopping, especially holiday shopping, as an art. It takes strategy to shop around on websites, trying to find the best deals online and in stores.

Even if you think you have mad shopping skills and are the best at bargain hunting, there are shopping "experts" who always have more money-saving tricks up their sleeves.

So take note of these tips to get more bang for your buck.

Apps and websites

Apps are always a great way to find savings if you’re an avid shopper. You’ll get rebates through PayPal from popular retailers when you shop through iBotta. You actually get $10 just for signing up.

Swagbucks and ShopKick give you points for purchases that you can redeem for gift cards.

You can get discounts on purchases and cash back each quarter with eBates. They send you a check in the mail and offer you $10 just for joining.

Another helpful hint is to use a browser extension instead of searching for your own promo codes. Cently is a free browser add-on. It’s best to use extensions with good online reviews since you don’t want to accidentally install malware. 

Loyalty Programs

Many retailers offer rewards programs but many want you to join their members’ club first. Usually, there’s a big discount on your first purchase. You’ll also receive sales and promotions emails throughout the year.

The thing you need to watch out for is auto-pay systems that automatically charge your debit or credit card each month. Some memberships require you to sign up for one. Be sure to know the terms and conditions before enrolling.

Credit card perks

You might be thinking another credit card is the last thing you need. However, some credit card companies offer you cash if you make a big purchase right away with a new card. Some offer up to $150 in a cash bonus if you spend up to $1,000 in the first three months. Sometimes you can even get a percentage of your purchases back by shopping at certain stores. Remember to pay your balance off in full to really benefit from those perks.

When shopping online, make sure to keep your credit card handy. If you find a great deal, some retailers will set a time limit on items in your cart. If that time limit expires, items will go back on the “virtual shelves” and you might lose out on that good deal as a result.

Live chats

If you spot an online retailer offering live chat don't dismiss it! You may be able to haggle an even better deal on an item.  Ask a few questions about the item before you request a discount. Even if you don't get one, they might point you to some helpful promo pages.

Avoid these 3 online shopping scams

For every good online deal, there seems to be a scam. Click here to learn more.

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