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In Touch With 21st - December 2013

How to save on holiday shopping


How to get a good deal on a new car

The holidays are a great time of the year, but not without their frustrations. Most often, finding the right gift for someone is at the top of that list. We’re here with a few strategies you can use to save and hopefully make your holiday shopping go a little smoother. Remember, too, that these tactics can be used throughout the year, not just the holidays.

Avoid impulse shopping

Consumers can be bombarded with offers and advertisements during the holidays. To stay on budget, make a list of everyone you plan to buy a gift, and include ideas of what to give each person, along with the maximum amount you’re willing to spend. Don’t forget people who will receive holiday tips, such as your doorman, babysitter, and mail carrier. This will help you manage your holiday budget. If you are prone to impulse purchases, it might be a good idea to only bring the amount of money you budgeted into the store with you, or even a shopping partner to help you resist the urge. To save money it is always best to stick to the list, no matter how nice an item looks in the store.

If you have trouble resisting the urge to impulse shop at a store, a good alternative is to shop from home. Amazon, Wanelo, Overstock and Wayfair are some great sites for staying home and getting your shopping done.

Coupon apps

To help you make the most of your budget, we’ve collected some shopping/coupon apps. These are some of the best we’ve found for locating coupons and deals from your favorite retailers.

Flipp

Hate carrying around print versions of a retailer’s coupons? We do too, which is why we recommend Flipp. This app contains digital versions of store coupons you can flip through with your finger. You can also search for stores by name and digitally “clip” deals you want to save. If there’s a store you shop at often, you can receive new ads automatically. You can also build a shopping list or compare prices from different stores. Unfortunately, an Android version does not currently exist.

Shopkick

This free Android and iPhone app gives users points for visiting major stores like Toys R Us, Macy’s, Target and Best Buy, and you can redeem the points for rewards later. Plus, you can use the app to browse deals at your favorite stores. An added bonus of this app is that some of the offers on Shopkick are exclusive or aren’t well-advertised. With the latest app update, when you browse rewards before going to a store, you'll get even more points for walking in.

Yowza

This free app eliminates the need to clip coupons. It alerts you to coupons and deals in your geographic area. Many of these coupons come directly from merchants, so they may be options you won't find anywhere else. With Yowza, you can save the coupons you like best, so they're easy to find on your phone. Then, have the cashier scan the coupons directly from your phone at the register, just like traditional paper coupons.

PriceGrabber

Another great site to help save on shopping is PriceGrabber.com. You can set up alerts for items you want, and be alerted if the price drops. You can also download their mobile app to check prices on the go.

General shopping and safety tips

Know refund and return policies prior to your purchase. Verify if the refund issued is by in-store credit, cash, or exchange. Ask about restocking fees, especially for electronic items. Ask for “gift receipts” to help if wrong sizes or colors are purchased. Save shopping receipts for 90 days in case you run into problems, as this will allow for a more hassle-free return.

Use end of season or end of year sales to stock up. Save these gifts for when they are needed. For example, during the second week of December many retailers will dramatically cut prices or offer free shipping incentives to meet year-end sales goals. Take advantage, but keep in mind that this strategy most likely won’t work for any must-have holiday gift.

Shop mid-week. Stores can be chaotic on weekends, but retailers need weekday shoppers too, and will often offer deals to entice shoppers. An added benefit is more attentive customer service and leisurely experience.

Shop with friends or relatives if possible; safety in numbers. Be alert, walk with your head up and scan your surroundings. Before you leave the register put money and credit cards back into your wallet or purse. Women need to zip or close their purses. Carry only a few shopping bags. Return to your vehicle to unload purchases in the trunk and consider moving your car to another parking space if you plan to do additional shopping. Finally, check your accounts daily. This will help you spot any unauthorized activity. Also, check your monthly account statements for errors.

Happy holidays and happy saving!

Please note: This information is of a general nature for educational purposes only. It must not be taken as advice and does not signify an endorsement. 21st Century Insurance is not responsible for any injuries or loss incurred.

Sources: wired.com; cnbc.com; today.com; nbcnews.com

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