[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.
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.
Photo credit to Mike Mozart.