With a little planning, you can find ways to stretch your gift-giving budget this holiday season. Try these ideas to make saving money the present you give yourself.
• Go online before you shop. Many retailers post online special promotions and coupons that you can apply to purchases. Check what’s available before you make a purchase online or head out to the store. Sites like RetailMeNot make finding discounts easy by listing coupon codes for dozens of popular retail sites.
• Redeem your rewards points. The bonus points that you accumulate through credit cards, airline travel and hotel stays can add up to a present or two. Cash in your available points to “purchase” a gift for someone on your list.
• Seek out group discounts. Sites such as Groupon.com, Living Social and others offer deals and deeply discounted coupons that help you stretch your dollar. Always read the fine print on these offers, taking note of expiration dates and other restrictions to make sure they fit into your gift-giving plans.
• Save on shipping. Don’t pay for shipping if you don’t have to. Plenty of online retailers will forgo shipping charges during the holiday season. They may also ship free to your local store and let you pick up your item there.
• Buy together. Wine is often sold at a discount when you buy a case. Go in with a friend or two and you’ll all knock a few dollars off the per-bottle price. Or split the cost — and the quantity — of a great entrée for your holiday meal at a warehouse club.
• Spread out the season. If you can’t afford new hardcover books for every reader on your list, save a few dollars by giving someone a subscription to a publication that he or she will enjoy throughout the year.
• Take advantage of two-for-one offers. Buying perfume for a friend? If you get a free gift with your purchase, earmark it for the preteen on your list.
• Cut the price of gift cards. Shopping clubs and online sites such as Plastic Jungle and Card Pool offer gift cards for less than the full retail price. Give the cards as presents — or use them yourself to make your money go farther.
• Call on your smartphone. Rely on shoppers’ apps to help you make good purchase decisions. There are numerous apps that help you compare prices, identify sales and review products — potentially saving you money before you buy.
These tips from State Farm® can help you with budgeting at any time of year. You can also sign up for a free account at State Farm Nation Rewards to find exclusive special offers just for you.Information provided by Ben Buenzow, State Farm Insurance, 3273 100th St., Urbandale, 270-8870.