Holiday saving strategies: How to get free shipping, cash back, bonus gift cards and more
We may still be a few weeks shy of Thanksgiving, but, well, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the stores.
As you start making your “nice” lists in preparation of the gift-buying season, we’re here to help you create a shopping strategy so that you can save big on your holiday haul (and maybe even earn yourself a vacation for the New Year). And, for a little extra help, we’ve turned to ShopAtHome.com’s holiday mascot, Yulie the Yuletide log for a little added advice. After all, Santa makes it snow; Yulie makes it rain.
Savings tip 1: Buy online, pick-up in store (and still get cash back). The “in-store” pick-up shopping trend has gained lots of momentum recently, with retailers including Macy’s, Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Toys “R” Us and Nordstrom offering the option. Kohl’s also is testing the “buy online, pick up in-store” model at 100 of its stores this fall. The best part? You still get the perks of shopping online, including earning Cash Back on your purchases, without paying shipping fees. Just fill up your online shopping cart when it’s convenient for you (go ahead, shop in your pjs at midnight), get your Cash Back and then pick up your online buys in store when you’re out running errands. Yulie says: Why get all gussied up and fight crowds in the stores, when you can buy from your couch—and you don’t even have to wear pants?
Savings tip 2: Get gift card bonuses during the holiday season. You deserve a reward after all that holiday shopping, right? Lots of retailers will be offering “gift card” bonuses to shoppers who buy gift cards or spend a certain amount of money with them. How’s this for a savings triple-threat? Buy your gift cards online, earn Cash Back and get a bonus gift card for yourself. Here’s an example: Spend $75 or more on gift cards or e-gift cards at Barnes & Noble, and get a free $10 e-gift card from the retailer. Plus, earn 4 percent Cash Back from ShopAtHome.com. The “bonus” gift cards are especially popular among restaurants during the holiday season, but Best Buy, DSW and Children’s Place have also been known to offer the bonus gift cards. Yulie says: Paid full price? You’re way too nice. Getting a little something back for yourself isn’t selfish; it’s karma.
Savings tip 3: Combine your credit card rewards with Cash Back. Yep, you can piggyback Cash Back with rewards from your credit cards. (The trick to making this work is having a budget that allows you to pay back your credit cards before you pay interest). Here are a couple good credit card offers that are available in time for the holiday shopping season:
- Discover. Earn 5 percent Cash Back from Discover on up to $1,500 in online shopping and department store purchases from now through December 2014.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred. Want to take the family on a vacation for the New Year? Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. (That translates to $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards).
Yulie says: Don’t get burned this holiday season. Stacking coupons, cash back, rewards and more is the only way to go. Don’t be a sap; it’s easy to save.