(StatePoint) Even after setting a holiday budget, the most wonderful time of year is often the most expensive. Experts say that this Christmas, there are new ways to make your dollar go further.
“The days of clipping coupons may be out of style, but finding ways to save money never is,” says Michael McAuliffe, president of Family Credit Management. “From in-store apps to price trackers, new tech tools can help.”
The experts at Family Credit Management are encouraging consumers to research their money-saving options, as technology is always evolving. To get you started, they have narrowed down a few tech-savvy ways to streamline and save this season.
• Browser Extensions: Forty-six percent of all holiday shopping occurs online, according to WeAreTop10, so, do your share of it wisely. Whether you use Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari or Firefox as your internet browser, there are sites you can visit to add an extension to your searching power. It’s like adding an additional search box which will know to look for the best deals out there whenever you are shopping online and compare prices side-by-side, cutting out some of the legwork for you. Some well-known examples are PriceBlink, The Camelizer and InvisibleHand.
• Coupon Apps: Mobile apps such as Coupon Sherpa, SnipSnap and Yowza, enable you to scan items while you’re in-store and find the best value coupons on the spot.
• Price Drop Alert Trackers: Eighty-four percent of Americans plan to check Amazon before looking or buying elsewhere, according to the Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey. Don’t make the mistake of assuming Amazon is the be-all-and-end-all for saving. Prices drop all the time, especially around Christmas. But, how can you keep track of who is dropping them and when? With a tracker app, you can tell the app what to look for and it will notify you when your wanted items drop in price. IFTTT (If This Then That), camelcamelcamel and Price Tracker for Amazon will keep an eye on prices for you to make sure you’re the first to see the best deals.
• Credit Card Points/Discounts: Credit cards can encourage overspending, but when used carefully and within budget, offer certain advantages. For example, store-specific credit cards often offer special discounts, kickbacks and coupons for cardholders. Just think how you could double up on the savings by using some of the above tools, as well as by purchasing with a card with added bonuses. Remember though, that any savings you earn will quickly be eaten up if you pay interest charges. To avoid this trap, never use a credit card unless you can pay the entire balance in full each month. Also, think very carefully about opening a new account, as this can negatively affect your credit.
More holiday shopping, spending and saving tips can be found at familycredit.org.
When it comes to spending, don’t let the spirit of the season carry you away. You can stay within budget by practicing spending discipline and leveraging the latest tech tools.
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