11 Smart Ways to Make Money Off Your Holiday Shopping

November 21, 2017 by Lauren
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[Hey guys! Today I’m proud to bring back Lauren Keys from DealCrunch.com to give us some great tips on how to MAKE money from your holiday shopping. Thanks again Lauren!]

The holiday season is not only a time of giving, but also for receiving — which is especially nice when it’s your wallet on the receiving end.

Now, thanks to modern money-saving technology, it’s actually possible to earn some green while shopping, including scoring great deals on gifts and earning cash back rewards on your purchases.

Going from store to store in search of the best discounts is downright exhausting — no matter if it is online or in-person. So, instead, save your physical energy for caroling and opt to use these strategies the next time you go shopping to earn some extra cash and extend your holiday cheer.

11 Smart Ways to Make Money Off Your Shopping

The Cashback Apps That’ll Pay You Back

While it’s exciting to save money, it can be even better to be paid real cash as a reward for your shopping activity.

Cash back websites and mobile apps reward users by giving them a percentage of the purchases they make at top retailers back in cash.

Ibotta remains a leading cash back mobile app for its unbeatable rebate offers on everyday items found at top merchants, such as Target and Rite-Aid, as well as local shops and even gas stations. By using the app to scan receipts and unlock rebates, you can save big on groceries — a major win during the holidays.

Beyond grocery savings, use the Ebates app to make the most of your purchases across more than 2,000 stores. Not only does Ebates offer cash back (typically between 2-10%, but sometimes as much as 40%), but it also offers coupons to double your savings. The app works in stores to help you save when you’re out and about, not just shopping online.

Use a Credit Card That Pays YOU

Having a credit card with cash back rewards is a smart financial tool to have during the holiday season — from gifts for everyone on your list to travel expenses as you visit family.

Cash back rewards and cash bonuses are often overlooked as savings strategies, but they can be just as effective as sales, deals, and coupons. By using cash back credit cards you can earn money or rewards on purchases made at popular retailers.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited Card boasts an unlimited 1.5% back offer on all purchases plus a signing bonus of $150 when you spend $500 in the first three months, which is pretty easy to accomplish during the holiday season between gifts, groceries, and travel expenses.

Another great all-purpose cash back card is the Discover it Cash Back Match Card fetches 1% cash back on every purchase, but through the end of the year you can earn 5% cash back at Amazon.com and Target (up to $1,500, and you’ll need to activate this offer on your card).

Discover also matches all the cash back you earned at the end of your first year, which could add up to hundreds or thousands of extra dollars in your pocket.

Not only are there general cash back credit cards, but some retailers — Amazon included — offer their own credit cards. With up to 5% back on store purchases, you can stack up some serious rewards as you shop for seasonal essentials from your favorite retailers.

The fee-free Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card, offered through Chase, provides shoppers 5% back on Amazon.com purchases for Prime members and 3% back for non-members.

You also earn 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores plus 1% back on all other purchases, making the card pretty competitive compared to other cash back credit cards. New applicants also get free $50 Amazon gift card immediately after approval.

Score Free Money with Coupons

Most stores offer online discounts that help shoppers save big at checkout when buying gifts for friends and family.

Using coupons and promo codes remains one of the simplest ways you can save money online, and many retailers offer deals to entice shoppers to spend more. Retailers that offer multiple incentives through coupons include department stores, like Kohl’s, JCPenney, and Macy’s.

Kohl’s remains a top choice for couponing because the store allows up to four coupon codes to be combined on a single order, plus you can earn additional incentives all year long with Kohl’s Cash promotions. Kohl’s Cash works like a gift card, so these dollar-off promotions won’t take away one of your coupon code slots.

However, another approach is to concentrate on stores that already have significant deals or sales, and strategically use coupons on top of those promotions to save even more money.

TJ Maxx, along with its sister stores Marshalls, HomeGoods, HomeSense, Winners, and Sierra Trading Post, slashes the price on name-brand clothing, accessories, and housewares, which make great gifts. Additionally, you can stack a TJ Maxx coupon on top of the deep discounts found at its 3,200 stores to multiply your savings — and keep more cash in your pocket.

We’ve also seen generous coupon policies at Walmart and Target, especially when it comes to stacking deals on sale and clearance goods as well as price matching local competitors (just don’t expect these stores to price match online offers such as those at Amazon.com).

Both stores offer competitive, money-saving apps to ensure you get the best price on last-minute gifts, quick grocery buys, and wrapping supplies.

With the Target app, now with Cartwheel offers included, you can browse weekly ads, sale merchandise, and any applicable coupons and discounts.

Walmart came out with its Savings Catcher app makes price comparison a breeze by browsing local ads for you to compare what you paid on your receipt with the advertisements of other retailers.

If Savings Catcher finds a lower price, you’ll get the difference on a Walmart gift card.

Earn by Saving With These Browser Extensions

Browser extensions are a quick solution for finding discounts, coupons, and promo codes for the time-sensitive holiday shopper. Many extensions send push notifications through popular browsers such as Chrome as you surf the internet or even automatically apply discounts to your online shopping cart at checkout.

While there’s a wealth of money-saving online shopping browser extensions out there that can be downloaded from your browser’s app store for free, the most notable extension is Honey. The extension has grabbed the spotlight and hooked users with its ability to automatically find and apply the most lucrative coupon code at checkout.

We also found Amazon’s official extension, Amazon Assistant, offers a lot of really great perks, including a price comparison feature, deal of the day updates, and the ability to save items from across the web into a universal wish list — an easy way to send signals to love ones about what to get you for the holidays.

While it’s easy to focus on others when picking out holiday gifts, remember to give yourself the gift of more cash to spend.

Each of these money-earning hacks are guaranteed to make shopping more affordable during the most wonderful time of the year — and other seasons, too.

Merry shopping!

Photo credit to Mike Mozart.

The 24 Coolest Stocking Stuffers on Amazon (For Kids, Teens and Adults)

November 17, 2017 by Kyle
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Amazon can be really addicting. It’s amazing how many unique gift ideas they carry and it’s easy to waste hours checking them all out. So I knew I had my work cut-out for me when I set out to find the coolest stocking stuffers that Amazon sells for both kids, teens, and adults. I was finally able to narrow down my list to 24 ridiculously cool products. Enjoy…

The 24 Coolest Stocking Stuffers on Amazon (For Kids, Teens and Adults)

1. Money Soap – Real Money in Every Bar (From $1 to $50)

Money Soap

Every bar of soap has a real bill in it. Could be a $1, $5, $10, $20, or even a $50.

I would have loved one of these in my Christmas stocking as a kid…heck, I still would.

In case it matters…the bar of soap has a “pearberry” scent and will definitely clean you.

Price: $11.95

2. Anker SoundBuds Slim+ Wireless Headphones

Anker Earbuds

Both my daughter and myself own a pair of these Anker wireless earbuds.

They work fantastic, and the price is hard to beat.

Check out the reviews as well. The average is 4 out 5 with over 3,000 reviews.

Price: $25.99

3. The Noodley’s Flashing LED Light Gloves

The Noodley's Flashing LED Light Gloves

These Noodley gloves are very popular right now on Amazon and come in 3 cool colors and include sizing for kids and adults.

They come with pre-installed replaceable batteries along with an extra set.

They’ll keep your hands warm and light up with some really fun colors and patterns.

Price: $17.95

4. Super Cool LED Bike Wheel Lights

Super Cool LED Bike Wheel Lights

Sticking to the LED lights theme, these LED lights for your bike spokes come in 6 different fun colors.

I would have loved these as a kid.

They are super bright and you’ll be seen from a really long distance away making them a nice safety accessory.

Apparently they are only available on Amazon too.

Price: $13.90

5. Unicorn Snot Stress Putty

Unicorn Snot Stress Putty

Unicorn Snot Stress Relief Putty? I can’t make this stuff up.

From the Amazon description, “Take a moment to relax and enjoy some sloppy, snotty fun and get back on track.”

Would make for a fun chuckle on Christmas morning…for both kids and adults.

Price: $15.95

6. iON Camera SnapCam Wearable HD Camera

Wearable HD Camera

A wearable HD camera for under $30? Yeah, I was a little skeptical too.

But if you’re shopping for a kid or teenager, this camera would make for a fun gadget to pull out of their stocking.

Let them explore their creativity and make an action movie or two.

Price: $29.99

7. 2-Pack Seatbelt Cutter Window Breaker

Window Breaker

This safety tool is a must-have for any young driver.

Put it in your car door storage compartment so it’s always ready in case of an emergency.

It will not only easily break the car window, but also allow you to cut your seat-belt if it’s stuck.

Two for $10 is pretty good deal too.

Price: $9.95

8. AmazonBasics Ice Scraper

Ice Scraper

The 4.5 inch blade on this bad buy will remove the ice from your windshield in no time.

Throw it in a stocking and make someone really happy on the next frozen morning they encounter.

Not an exciting gift, but you’ll be hard pressed to find something more practical.

Price: $5.59

9. ExpertPower Portable Battery Pack

External Battery Pack

This portable battery pack from ExpertPower is pretty darn impressive.

A single charge will allow you to charge a smartphone up to 6 times. iPhone, iPad, Tablet, or Android…it doesn’t matter.

You can also charge two devices at the same time as it has two outputs.

Price: $17.99

10. AmazonBasics 4.0 Amp Dual USB Car Charger

USB Car Charger

Let’s stick with chargers shall we.

AmazonBasics makes really quality products at affordable prices. This car charger priced at less than $8 is no exception.

It even allows you to charge 2 devices simultaneously. Throw it in a stocking and make someone really happy.

Price: $7.49

11. Core Survival Paracord Survival Bracelet

Survival Bracelet

Any boy or girls who loves to hike or camp will absolutely love this survival bracelet.

It comes with a compass, emergency whistle, and a magnesium fire starter kit.

To make it look REALLY cool, it’s made from heavy duty rock climbing rope.

Price: $12.99

12. Stainless Steel Straws- Set of 4

Stainless Steel Straws

These stainless steel straws from RawNori are pretty darn cool.

Not only are they dishwasher safe but they come with a cleaning brush.

With over 500 reviews on Amazon, the average review is 4.5 out of 5 stars. Not too shabby.

Since a pack comes with 4 straws, you can split them up and add one to each stocking in your home.

Price: $6.98

13. Gel Pen Set by OfficeGoods

Gel Pen Set by OfficeGoods

These gel pens will make for a fun and useful stocking stuffer for kids and teenagers.

From Amazon, “These smooth gliding pens flow easily onto your paper to create an everlasting impression of vibrant glittery color.”

They also come with a 100% money back guarantee.

They are also sold in packs of 20, 48, and 60.

Price: $6.95

14. Echo Dot (2nd Generation)

Echo Dot

Okay, I admit this is a fairly expensive stocking stuffer.

But it would make for a great gift for teenagers or even your spouse.

The Echo Dot allows you to listen to music, request an Uber, voice control your home, along with hundreds of other cool tasks.

Price: $49.99

15. Useless Box Kit (The Original Useless Box Kit)

Useless Box

The Useless Box is indeed useless, but also really fun to assemble and would make for a cool stocking stuffer for a teenager or gadget enthusiast.

Fun to build, fun to show off, and fun to display.

Me explaining what it does would be boring, so check out this video instead.

Price: $44.99

16. Tactical Pen for Personal Protection

Tactical Pen

This tactical pen from BellFyd is amazingly simple yet has a bunch of cool features.

It comes with a built-in glass breaker, LED flashlight, bottle opener, flat-head screwdriver, and multi-tool.

It’s made with military grade Tungsten and has 63 reviews on Amazon and averages 5 out of 5 stars. Hard to beat that.

Perfect stocking stuffer for survivalist, campers, outdoors men, and scouts.

Price: $14.87

17. Atziloose Folding Credit Card Pocket Knife (2 Pack)

Pocket Knife

This credit card sized knife is handy and incredibly versatile.

With 3 simple folds, the card transforms into a razor sharp knife. Fold it back and store it in your wallet next to your credit cards.

From Amazon, “Great for every day use like box cutting or for adventures like hiking and camping.”

I’ll take two Santa, thanks.

Price: $11.99

18. Lightphoria 10,000 Lux Energy Lamp

Lightphoria Light

Okay, so you’re probably wondering why this light is $60. I was too.

It’s no ordinary light. It provides a natural soothing glow which mimics real sunlight.

According to reviewers, if you use it at your desk you’ll notice a big change in your mood within a couple days.

If you live where it gets dark early, or rains a lot, this will make for a highly useful stocking stuffer.

Price: $59.99

19. Household Laser Scissors

Laser Scissors

These laser guided scissors would make for a great stocking stuffer for those who like to sew, do crafts, and even gift wrap.

A straight line is almost guaranteed with these cool scissors.

Price: $10.98

20. Hidden Wall Safe

Hidden Wall Safe

Designed to look like a real electrical outlet, this wall safe pivots out to reveal the secret hiding place.

Great for hiding valuables as well as cash.

It even comes with a cutout saw and template for quick installation.

Price: $9.95

21. USB LED Clock Fan with Real Time Display

Clock Fan

A fan that also shows the time? Now that is really cool.

Just plug it into your laptop’s USB port and you’re good-to-go.

Great stocking stuffer for teens and college students who always need to be on their laptop.

Price: $13.48

22. Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Fire TV Stick

The ultimate gift for any stocking, the Fire TV Stick turns any TV into a smart TV.

Start streaming your favorite shows within seconds of plugging it in.

Check out my Full Review to learn exactly how it works.

Price: $39.99

23. Mr. Coffee Mug Warmer

Mug Warmer

Santa gave me this Mr. Coffee mug warmer last Christmas in my stocking and I use it everyday.

If you know someone who likes hot coffee, this is perfect.

Enough said.

Price: $7.99

24. Amazon Gift Card

Amazon Gift Card

This list would not be complete without the famous Amazon gift card.

The ultimate stocking stuffer for any fireplace mantle. Show someone you care by letting them pick out their own gift.

Price: Varies

Ask the Reader: What amazingly cool stocking stuffer from Amazon am I missing? Let’s build a fun resource by letting me know about the product in the comments section below.


By Kyle James

Photo credit to Andrew Malone. All product images credit to Amazon.com.

Disclaimer: While all thoughts are my own, I get a small kickback from Amazon if you go through the links on this page and make a purchase. Also, be aware that Amazon prices fluctuate frequently, so the prices I have posted may be a little different than current pricing.

How to Get a Free Trial Extension to Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu

November 14, 2017 by Kyle
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Maybe you started a free trial and forgot to use it. Or maybe life got crazy and you didn’t use it enough to know if it was worth keeping. In any case, the good news is that you’re NOT out-of-luck when it comes to free trials with Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu. Here’s how you can score a free trial extension with all three popular online services.

How to Ask For a Free Trial Extension with Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu

Amazon Prime

Amazon Trial Extension

Very few Amazon shoppers are aware that you can essentially score a free 2-month trial to Amazon Prime.

Once your free 30-day Prime trial is close to expiring, like on day 29, simply go to your account and cancel your subscription.

By doing so, it will automatically trigger an alert that offers you another 30 days of Amazon Prime for free.

Be sure to accept the trial extension offer and enjoy 30 extra days of Prime at NO charge.

A great time to consider this “60-day free trial” is early November as you’ll score free 2-day shipping all the way through Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas.

(Note: This can only be done ONE time.)

See Also: 6 Slick Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Netflix

Netflix Trial Extension

Once your 30-day Netflix free trial is almost over, hit them up via Live Chat and ask for an extension.

I did this recently and just explained that I wasn’t able to test drive my Netflix trial like I was hoping.

They immediately offered me another free 30 days. Sweet! Took like 5 minutes of my time.

The screenshot above details me live chat session.

See Also: 4 Netflix Hacks You Need To Start Using…Like Right NOW

Hulu Plus

Hulu Trial Extension

Hulu Plus will also offer you another free trial if you play your cards right.

I made it happen via a live chat operator (see screenshot above).

The chat operator made my account eligible for another free trial which was great because it allowed me to start the trial when it worked best for my family.

Hulu allowed me to select either the 30-day or 7-day trial.

The 7-day trial is for the live TV package, while the 30-day trial is for the limited commercial or no commercials plan.

Ask the Reader: What other online services have you been able to snag a free trial extension with? Let me know in the comments and I’ll check them out.


By Kyle James

‘Tis the Season to Save: 7 Ways to Save on Your Holiday Shopping

November 13, 2017 by Kyle
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[Hey guys! Today I’m proud to bring on Jen Smith from ThePennyHoarder.com to give us some great ways to save on gifts this Christmas. Thanks Jen!]

Everyone wants to get the most bang for their buck during holiday shopping. We make a list, check it twice, and venture into the abyss of early bird sales and Christmas music.

Somewhere along the way, our best laid plans — and budgets — get lost in prepackaged gifts, deals “too good” to pass up and festive coffee drinks not worth the 30-minute line it took to get them.

We’ve all been there. Keep in mind there are better ways to finish your holiday shopping under budget than clipping coupons and comparing prices in crowded stores.

Save your hard-earned money and spend more time with the people you love this season. Here are seven gift ideas and ways to trim your budget when holiday shopping.

7 Highly Clever Ways to Save on Your Holiday Shopping

1. Bake or Gift Ingredients in a Jar

As someone with a massive sweet tooth, edible gifts are a win for me.

Homemade cookies are a holiday staple, but there are a ton of other seasonal sweets that will wow your friends. Pumpkin Pie Balls are delicious and fun to make. And the ingredients to Fireball Apple Fritters would look great in a Mason jar with a mini bottle of Fireball attached.

Baked goods are also a thoughtful treat for friends with food allergies. People with a gluten intolerance can feel left out at the dessert table during holiday parties — a goodie made just for them is a welcomed gift.

2. Beauty Counter Makeover

Most mall beauty counters do a free makeover with purchase. For instance, MAC does a free session with a $30 purchase and Clinique offers one with the purchase of any three products.

If you’re already buying makeup from one of these places, see if your brand of choice will give you a gift certificate for the makeover. Your makeup-loving friend will like learning new brush techniques and not having to worry if she fully blended in her foundation.

3. Regift an Item

To some, “regift” is a dirty six-letter word. But if done well, regifting can save you time, money and space in your closet.

I don’t limit regifting to items you received specifically as gifts — it can apply to anything in your house you don’t use that’s a little too nice to just haul off to the thrift store.

What’s something in mint or near-mint condition that someone in your life would like or benefit from having? If there’s no one who comes to mind, then it’s OK to toss it in the thrift store pile.

Not everything in your house is worth regifting, so be selective. And never regift in the same circle of friends.

4. Framed Printables

As far as free stuff on the internet goes, wall art printables are my favorite. The high-quality prints that artists and bloggers give away is amazing.

If you’re short on time and cash, this is the perfect gift for you to make a loved one. You can spray paint an old frame, and print your favorite picture or quote. Put it together, wrap it up and you’re done.

Pinterest has an enormous selection of free printables to choose from.

5. Thrift Store Gifts

Don’t think just because you’re at a thrift store that you’re compromising quality. Secondhand finds can be some of the coolest gifts. But you also run the risk of wasting time trudging through junk and leaving empty-handed.

Here are a few quick tips to save time and money:

  • Shop at thrift stores in affluent areas. You’ll get nice stuff, and the stores won’t be as picked over.
  • Shop near the beginning of the week to snag the best donations from the weekend.
  • Most thrift stores offer extra savings on certain days of the week — like the first Saturday of the month.

The takeaway? Look up the thrift store ahead of time, even ask an employee which day is the best to shop and you’ll end up saving even more.

6. Drop Shipping Costs

Amazon has the lowest prices on most things on and off the internet. One of the best ways to save money on Amazon is Amazon Prime. But spending $99 on a service you’ll only use for a few months kind of negates the savings.

If you haven’t tried Prime, you’ll notice you can try it free for 30 days. What most people don’t know is you can actually get two months for free.

After you sign up for your free 30-day trial, head to your account details to cancel Prime before the trial ends. Amazon will ask if you want to try Prime for another 30 days for free. All you have to do is click “yes” and remember to cancel again before those 30 days are up.

Cheers to free two-day shipping all season long!

7. Christmas Cards

Don’t underestimate the value of a good Christmas card.

A simple card with a heartfelt letter is the most meaningful gift on this list. Include fun memories from the year, inside jokes or a group picture — it’s an inexpensive gift that creates a stronger relationship with the people you love. Isn’t that what the holidays are all about?

Jen Smith is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder, one of the largest personal finance websites with more than 15 million monthly readers. In 2017, the Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder the 25th fastest-growing private company and the No. 1 fastest-growing private media company in the United States.

Photo credit to Ryan.

The 11 Taco Bell Menu Prices That’ll Save You the Most Money

November 8, 2017 by Kyle
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Taco Bell has a really large menu these days, with a bunch of new items getting added every year. So when you pull up to the drive-thru window it can be difficult to quickly figure out which Taco Bell menu prices provide the most value for your money. So I figured it was time to breakdown the Taco Bell menu so you know what items will fill up your stomach for the least amount […] Continue Reading…

When is Walmart’s In-Store Pickup Discount Worth It (and When to Pass)

November 2, 2017 by Kyle
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Walmart has figured out that it costs more to mail items to your doorstep than it does to freight ship them to their physical stores. Because of this, they recently started offering a Pickup Discount for those willing to shop online and stop by and grab their purchases themselves.

The Walmart pickup discount averages between 5% and 15% and there are times when it’s REALLY smart to take advantage and times where it’s smart to […] Continue Reading…

Use Alexa for Holiday Shopping and Score $15 in Amazon Credits

October 31, 2017 by Kyle
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(Updated 11/14/17) Finally, your Alexa enabled device from Amazon will make you some money. $15 to be exact. While it’s not a ton of cash, you might as well take advantage as it literally takes a couple minutes to collect your free money. This is actually a 2-pronged Amazon shopping hack and all of the details are below. Enjoy your free cash and spend it wisely my friends.

First, Get a $10 Amazon Credit with […] Continue Reading…

6 Slick Ways to Get Free Internet Access (No Seriously, Completely Free)

October 30, 2017 by Kyle
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Would you believe me if I told you that some companies will happily give you free Internet access? Yes, it’s absolutely true. I’m talking about up to 500MB of free data every month. After all, there’s little worse than paying an arm and a leg for Internet only to use a small portion of your allotted data. If you’re a light user or looking for free Internet when on-the-go, this article’s for you.

Here are 6 […] Continue Reading…

7 Smart Ways Shoppers Avoid Black Friday and Still Score a Great Deal

October 26, 2017 by Kyle
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The days of standing in line for hours in the freezing cold with the unwashed, turkey stuffed masses, are officially over. Unless of course you claim to be the King of Black Friday, in which case, you better get your tent and space heater out of the attic now. But for the rest of us sane & savvy shoppers, below are some highly clever tips and hacks that you can use this year to score […] Continue Reading…

Amazon Baby Registry: 7 Tricks to Save Money and Win at Life

October 23, 2017 by Kyle
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I sure wish the Amazon Baby Registry was around back when my wife and I were popping kids out like Pez candy. Not only would it have saved us money when getting ready to have a baby, but also some precious time. Here’s how the baby registry works at Amazon along with 7 tricks to get the absolute most out of it.

Here are the 7 “No-Brainer” reasons expecting parents should absolutely consider using the Amazon […] Continue Reading…