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If your business or back-to-work shopping budget is slim to none, look at these ways to create some holiday season savings.
Whether you have your heart set on freelance writing, returning to your prior career path or you’re still figuring out your next step, you’ll be spending some money to achieve your goal.
You may want to set aside money to set up your home office, update your wardrobe or to plan ahead so funds are available when you are ready to jump, saving even $100 this holiday season can get you rolling towards affording a few of your New Year’s goals.
Here are some holiday season savings tips for you:
This list includes affiliate links and referral codes, which means that if you make a purchase, I make a small commission at no additional cost or work for you. Here’s my full disclosure policy.
1. Amazon, my trusted friend!
For so much of my holiday shopping, it’s now happening on Amazon. If you’re an Amazon shopper (whether Prime or not), you probably have been shopping Amazon for years. But, are you taking full advantage of Amazon features that make your life easier?
My favorite Amazon feature all year round is the wish list. For the past few years, I’ve created wish lists for myself as well as for my kids (and I need to start a list for my husband, too!)
Why? So many good reasons!
- When I have time to read a book or maybe watch a movie, I can scroll through my wish list and see what’s caught my eye recently.
- When my husband asks me what I want for my birthday or a holiday, I can text him my wish list and he will know exactly what I’ve been wishing for this year! Yes, it takes away some of the surprise. I’m okay with that. Here’s how to share your list from Amazon Customer Service.
- When a family member asks what to buy one of my kids for a birthday, Christmas or other special event, I just text or email them the link to the list! Plus, then I can keep track of what has or has not been purchased, saving myself time and energy making any returns.
2. Trust and verify, though.
After more than one incident of buying a $15 item, only to find it for $8 locally, I’d been trying to do more price checking. But, it seemed like such a hassle.
So, this year I was glad when I stumbled upon Honey.
If you decide to check out Honey and actually make a purchase using the tool, I will earn a small referral fee (and you can, too.) Here’s the link to Honey and check out a quick demo below.
At first, I just added the Honey Chrome extension to my browser to help me automatically price check Amazon product pages. (If you use Firefox, Safari, or Opera, Honey is also supported on those browsers, too.)
Here’s an example of how Honey works when I open up a product page in Amazon. See the additional buttons below the rating? Cool, huh? I like the feature to get alerted if there’s a price drop within my target time frame!
I’m planning to try out Honey’s coupon search when I start my holiday shopping with online retailers any day now.
Apparently, once you are on a checkout page with a promo code field, Honey will pop up and ask if I want to check savings. Then, Honey will automatically do a search for coupons!
Anyhow, I say, check it out. I look forward to using this feature to find the best deals this holiday season, and to not walk away from any purchase with that guilt that I should have spent more time (that I don’t have) to look for a better deal!
Only shop on mobile? As of October 2017, Honey only works on desktop and laptop browsers (not phones or tablets.) In the meanwhile, I guess the workaround — worth it for big ticket Amazon purchases — is to add things to your wishlist from mobile and then open up the Amazon product page when you get to a computer. (I’ll update this section when I see a mobile app come available!)
3. And for big purchases, check again.
For anybody who is making their purchases exclusively over mobile, here are some apps that you can use! Especially at the holidays, I’m more careful to check Ebates and Ibotta before I make larger purchases.
There are several other money back and coupon apps available, but I’ve just found them much more difficult to deal with and not worth my time and effort. (Do take an extra minute or two before using any of the apps to read the rules, to make sure you click the right links, etc. to qualify for the discounts!)
Have you found the Ibotta or Ebates apps to work for you? Or, do you like other savings apps? Comment below or hop on over to the Facebook page and post a tip! I’d love to learn more, and also help other readers learn from your success!
Ebates: Most of the items I buy on a regular basis on Amazon don’t qualify for the 3% cashback offer available on Ebates. As of September 2017, Amazon categories qualifying for 3% cash back for purchases coming via the Ebates app:
- Amazon Echo Devices
- Amazon Video
- Fire Tablet
So, especially if you’re buying any electronics this holiday season, consider spending the extra minute to click through from Ebates before you buy from Amazon.
Ebates covers a bunch of other retailers as well, so take a look at their site for your favorites.
Ibotta: If you’re not finding deals on Ebates, then double check the Ibotta app. For example, today I’m finding 3% cash back on Kindles on Ibotta but not on Ebates.
On this late September day, I’m finding 12% cash back available on qualifying purchases from:
- Living Social
Plus, I’m finding other deals available for purchases with eBay, Groupon, Stitch Fix and Apple Certified refurbished products.
With these apps, you won’t be getting instant cash in your hand. Typically, there is a waiting period to ensure no returns against that transaction. In the past, I’ve received my payouts via PayPal roughly 45-60 days after purchase.
One final suggestion (so simple, but I’m mentioning it because I often forget), before shopping online, or in-store, search your own email for coupons! 😉
4. Local shopping
Yeah, you’ll find lots of local sales, but you’re not going to find me throwing elbows at a Black Friday sale. I’m more of a Cyber Monday type of gal. I’ll flip through and grab the Kohl’s coupon from mail flyers and I check my “junk” email address for a few coupons if I have a specific item that I want (such as a good discount coupon for A.C. Moore.)
Also, with both Ibotta and Ebates, you can also get cash back for your in-store purchases. You’ll need to plan before you head to the stores.
Before shopping, download the apps to your phone, link a credit card to your account, link the specific cash back offers, then use your card in the store. Of course, with every deal there is some fine print, and you’ll need to comply with those rules to make sure you qualify for any cashback or discount.
And, here’s the trick to actually setting money aside for your business or career relaunch nest egg… You’re only buying items that you would have purchased anyway. Right?
So, for example, if for some reason you misunderstood the rules and don’t get the deal or cashback, you hopefully still got the item for a decent price. Of course, if you discover the error early enough, you can usually return the item and go to another store (if there is a better price elsewhere that makes all that effort worth it.)
For Ebates, some of the in-store deals that I’m most interested in this holiday season would be with: Bed Bath & Beyond (2%), Macy’s (2.5%), and The Body Shop (4%).
For Ibotta, there’s been an item at Things Remembered (10%) that I’ve been meaning to buy, so I just might snap that up before this cashback offer ends!
I might not get the hottest deal or the highest discount, but I’ll probably get a good discount, and not spend THE WHOLE OF FOREVER researching it.
What about you? Like me, do you like to go after deals, but lose steam after a certain point? Or are you known among your friends for always finding the very best deal? Comment below or hop on over to the Facebook page and tell me!
I hope that at least one of these suggestions helps you set aside a little money this holiday season, one step closer to funding your next job or business goal!
Take a few moments right now to download any extensions or apps mentioned above. Then, take advantage when you next have some downtime (waiting in line, or at the doctor’s office for example) to set up your accounts and figure out which programs make best sense for your shopping preferences.
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Thanks for stopping by!