holiday shopping http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8272/all en-US 12 Smart Post-Holiday Moves http://www.wisebread.com/12-smart-post-holiday-moves <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-smart-post-holiday-moves" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_savings_cash_000046941008.jpg" alt="Woman making smart post-holiday money moves" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After a busy holiday season filled with giving and getting gifts, some of us feel the financial pinch in January. Keep your finances on track with these smart post-holiday money moves.</p> <h2>1. Make a Money Resolution</h2> <p>The post-holiday season is the perfect time to make sound financial resolutions. You've had your fun and indulgence, so now it's time to tighten your belt a little. Make a plan for the coming year &mdash; be it paying down your debt, saving a certain amount every month, or making a budget &mdash; and you'll be in a good place to start making smart financial decisions for the next 12 months. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-new-year-money-resolutions-anyone-can-keep">10 New Year Money Resolutions Anyone Can Keep</a>)</p> <h2>2. Check Your Credit Score</h2> <p>Every year, you're entitled to a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. Take advantage of this to see if your credit score has taken any hits over the past year, and make a plan to improve your credit score during 2016.</p> <h2>3. Transfer Your Balance</h2> <p>If you racked up some credit card debt during the holidays, consider <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt">transferring the balance to another card</a> with low introductory interest rate to avoid paying excess amounts of interest. Although the low interest rate will expire after the introductory period, some cards offer as much as 21 months of relief to pay off the balance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>4. Do Your Taxes Early</h2> <p>As soon as you get your tax documents from your employer, start doing your taxes. The earlier you file your taxes, the earlier your tax refund will come, which might be the key to paying down some of that holiday debt.</p> <h2>5. Cut Your Dining Budget</h2> <p>After a season of feasting, January is a good time to trim the fat &mdash; in your budget, that is! Try cutting down on dining out and instead cook healthy dinners at home. As a bonus, you could combine this with a resolution to eat healthier and end up in better shape both physically and financially.</p> <h2>6. Return Unwanted Stuff</h2> <p>If there are any gifts you bought that you didn't end up giving, return them ASAP before the return period expires. If you received gifts that you don't want or need, try to return those as well. Many large stores will let you return merchandise without a receipt (as long as it's in the original packaging with tags intact).</p> <h2>7. Set Aside Re-Gifts</h2> <p>Honestly, I don't always give my kids all of their presents. They always get so many, I feel that it's excessive and only contributes to the clutter in our home. So I set aside a few presents that I can give at upcoming birthday parties, where they can be enjoyed by someone else, while also saving me a little cash.</p> <h2>8. Avoid Shopping</h2> <p>Avoid the post-holiday sales like the plague. Don't even look at the ads to avoid temptation. You've spent enough during the holidays!</p> <h2>9. Stay Informed About Your Spending</h2> <p>Sometimes it's easy to rack up a large credit card balance because you don't know how much you've already spent. If you haven't already, tie your accounts into an app like Mint.com, which allows you to see, at a glance, how much you're spending.</p> <h2>10. Go on a Spending Freeze</h2> <p>The month or two after the holidays is the perfect time to go on a spending freeze &mdash; when you are the most determined to stick to your goals. For one month, don't spend money on anything that isn't a complete necessity. Go through your freezer and pantry to cook meals, buying just the fresh produce that you need. No shopping, no eating out, and no trips to Starbucks. At the end of the month, you'll have a healthy cushion of savings to either pay off debt, or to save for a rainy day. Re-evaluate your month of no spending, and consider doing it for another month.</p> <h2>11. Do Your Spring Cleaning</h2> <p>What better way to start fresh than by going through your house and getting rid of all the stuff you don't need? Go through your garage and basement (or other storage areas) and sell unwanted furniture, tools, and other miscellaneous items. Go through your closet and see if you can sell used clothing to an online consignment store like <a href="https://www.thredup.com/">Thredup</a>, or a local used clothing store. Donate what you can't sell and give yourself a little breathing room in your home.</p> <h2>12. Start a Free or Low-Cost Hobby</h2> <p>New Year, new habits. Replace a more expensive hobby with a free or low-cost one. For example, if you love trying out new restaurants, maybe pick up gourmet cooking instead. Take up running or another low-cost sport instead of paying for fitness classes (and recruit a friend to keep you accountable). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pick-up-one-of-these-frugal-hobbies-this-weekend?ref=seealso">Pick Up One of These Frugal Hobbies This Weekend</a>)</p> <p><em>What are you going to do after the holidays to keep your finances in good health?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-smart-post-holiday-moves">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moments-that-are-awkward-for-everyone">10 Money Moments That Are Awkward for Everyone</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-rules-for-planning-your-most-affordable-christmas-ever">5 Rules for Planning Your Most Affordable Christmas Ever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have">10 Money Goals All 30-Somethings Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-fixes-you-can-make-when-youre-stuck-inside-because-of-the-weather">7 Money Fixes You Can Make When You&#039;re Stuck Inside Because of the Weather</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-dumb-little-purchases-you-need-to-stop-making-today">13 Dumb Little Purchases You Need to Stop Making Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting bills budgeting Christmas gifts holiday shopping holiday spending Thu, 07 Jan 2016 12:01:02 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1632871 at http://www.wisebread.com 21 Experiences That Make Great Gifts http://www.wisebread.com/21-experiences-that-make-great-gifts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/21-experiences-that-make-great-gifts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_ice_skating_000021770346.jpg" alt="Couple finding experiences that make great gifts" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I don't know about you, but I have way too much stuff in my house. When I think about holiday gift giving, I get sort of frantic thinking about the new stuff that might come in. And when I'm planning gifts for others, I don't want to spread around that kind of burden. Consider giving experiences to your friends and family this year instead of tangible items. Here are some ideas to get you started. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-fun-ways-to-give-experiences-instead-of-stuff">12 Fun Ways to Give Experiences Instead of Stuff</a>)</p> <h2>1. Ice Skating</h2> <p>Bundle up and take the whole family ice skating. There's likely a rink right in your neighborhood with modest skate rental prices. Don't forget the camera either, as you won't want to miss your brother slipping and sliding around out there.</p> <h2>2. Art Classes</h2> <p>For those of you more into drawing, painting, photography, and other arts, check around your city for classes. Some meet just once for a few hours while others, through community colleges, for example, meet weekly.</p> <h2>3. Children's Museum Pass</h2> <p>Give those kids in your life a pass to the local children's museum or science center. Many passes are accepted at other area museums, zoos, etc. You'll make parents happy, too! While you're at it, consider gifting passes to other attractions in your area.</p> <h2>4. Concert Tickets</h2> <p>Is your friend just dying to see her favorite band? Find out if they're on tour in a city near you, and treat her to the night of her life. Rocking out for a whole night? This is one gift she won't soon forget. You can have just as much fun at the symphony.</p> <h2>5. Game Tickets</h2> <p>Round up the guys and surprise them with tickets to the big game. If the cost climbs too high, you could also throw an awesome party at your place and watch it together. Body paint is optional, but highly recommended.</p> <h2>6. Wine or Beer Tasting</h2> <p>For your beverage-loving friends, a wine or beer tasting afternoon is where it's at. You can stick with one of your favorites, or make it a tour of your area's finest. Be extra generous to everyone and appoint yourself the designated driver or arrange for other transportation.</p> <h2>7. Mini Trip</h2> <p>You don't need to be gone for a whole week to have an awesome vacation. Pick a destination that's only a couple hours from your hometown and plan out an amazing long weekend. Try ski lodges, family themed hotels (<a href="https://www.greatwolf.com">Great Wolf Lodge</a>, for example), or anywhere else that seems worth the trek.</p> <h2>8. Movie Tickets</h2> <p>Pile your family in the car and drive to your local movie theater to catch a new flick. Matinees are typically cheaper, especially for larger groups. And if you're short on cash, try dollar theaters or other discounted shows that feature slightly older movies on the big screen.</p> <h2>9. Park Passes</h2> <p>Is there an outdoorsy person in your family? Give the gift of total access to state or <a href="http://www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm">national parks</a>. That way, your special person can hike, fish, camp, or do all other sorts of cool nature things.</p> <h2>10. Restaurant Certificates</h2> <p>Wow your foodie friends with restaurants gift certificates. You can give them a night out at their favorite eatery or a unique experience someplace new. Check out sites like Restaurant.com for great deals in your area.</p> <h2>11. Dance Lessons</h2> <p>Whether it's a year of ballet for your four-year-old daughter or a couple's ballroom class, dance lessons are a fun gift to give. Bonus: You'll be giving your fitness goal-making friends an excuse to get moving and grooving in the new year.</p> <h2>12. Cooking Classes</h2> <p>Community centers, grocery stores, restaurants, farms, and cooking shops often offer cooking classes to the public. Comb their websites for a calendar of events or simply call and ask. I took a mozzarella cheese making class at a dairy farm once, and it's a skill I'm glad to have in my back pocket.</p> <h2>13. Tours</h2> <p>Take your mom on that Historic Homes tour she's been talking about all these years. Or round up your siblings and take a ghost tour. If you're more into city tours, check sites like <a href="https://www.toursbylocals.com/find_guide">ToursByLocals</a> to find area guides near you.</p> <h2>14. Something Crazy</h2> <p>Ask your dad what's on his bucket list. If the answer is something like skydiving, you have yet another great experience gift idea. The sky's the limit here, but it's the crazy things that people never tend to do on their own.</p> <h2>15. Music Lessons</h2> <p>Last year, I signed my husband up for an online course in guitar. He has now mastered bar chords and many of his favorite songs. Best of all? He plays his guitar every single day. Contact the music department at your town's high school or college to get information on local instructors.</p> <h2>16. Train Ride</h2> <p>Take your family on a train ride or a ferry cruise. Or maybe even a hot air balloon excursion. The fun is in the moments you spend together taking in the scenery. Of course, you can combine your travel with many of the other gift ideas on this list.</p> <h2>17. Spa Day</h2> <p>Let your mom relax with a long day at the spa. You can choose to join her or let her breathe in peace. Also, this is a great experience to gift yourself when all you want for Christmas is alone time.</p> <h2>18. Gym Membership</h2> <p>While we're on the topic of wellness, gift a gym membership to your favorite athlete (or wannabe). Definitely check with your recipient to find out about preferences for the gym's location and features. Otherwise, search around for promotional deals that can cut out a good chunk of registration fees and monthly charges.</p> <h2>19. Fitness Classes</h2> <p>Is a la carte fitness more your loved one's style? Give your aunt the gift of yoga or Pilates with a class pass. Maybe your brother wants to try a session at that new CrossFit gym. There are fitness classes for everyone on your list. Who knows? Maybe they'll want to sign up for more.</p> <h2>20. Babysitting</h2> <p>Let your sister and brother-in-law have a night on the town while you watch their kids. Offer your services for a few hours up to a night or two, depending on your comfort level. I guarantee (as someone who would love to receive this gift!) they'll be thanking you for years to come.</p> <h2>21. Giving Back</h2> <p>Volunteering is another wonderful way to celebrate the holidays. Gather your friends and family together and donate your time at a soup kitchen. Assemble bags of canned goods for a local food bank. Visit a nursing home and plan an activity for the bunch. Or read books to kids at your local library. Here are more holiday volunteer opportunities on <a href="https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/index.jsp?l=United+States&amp;k=holiday">VolunteerMatch.org</a>.</p> <p><em>What other experiences make great gifts? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-experiences-that-make-great-gifts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-gift-guide-gifts-that-save-money">25 Gifts That Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-rules-for-planning-your-most-affordable-christmas-ever">5 Rules for Planning Your Most Affordable Christmas Ever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-smart-post-holiday-moves">12 Smart Post-Holiday Moves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-valentines-day-picks-your-pocket">8 Ways Valentine&#039;s Day Picks Your Pocket</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-more-hobbies-you-can-start-for-free">10 More Hobbies You Can Start for Free</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Christmas gifts experiences fun activities gift guide holiday shopping Wed, 16 Dec 2015 16:00:14 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1619707 at http://www.wisebread.com December Deals That Are Better Than Black Friday http://www.wisebread.com/december-deals-that-are-better-than-black-friday <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/december-deals-that-are-better-than-black-friday" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holiday_shopping_000036887318.jpg" alt="Woman finding December deals that are better than Black Friday" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With Black Friday and Cyber Monday fading quickly in the rearview mirror, it has many shoppers wondering if their chance of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-card-shopping-bonuses">scoring a good deal before Christmas</a> is fading as well. What if I were to tell you that there are specific days in December where you can find better deals than the infamous Black Friday? Here are the dates you need to know to maximize your savings.</p> <h2>1. Christmas Toys &mdash; December 16th</h2> <p>Most <a href="http://amzn.to/1Nj7vIA">Christmas toys</a> don't start going on sale until the 16th of December. Retailers realize they have a captive audience during the Black Friday frenzy and tend to not offer many deals. Instead, they'll wait until mid-December to start lowering prices, including offering more online and in-store coupons. But this comes with an important caveat &mdash; if you're shopping for the mega-popular toys of the season (i.e., anything Star Wars related) you may have to snatch those up when you find them to avoid getting gouged as we get closer to Christmas.</p> <h2>2. Quality HDTVs &mdash; December 11&ndash;13th</h2> <p>Black Friday is known for huge doorbuster deals on really cheap HDTVs, most from brands you've never heard of with less than spectacular specs. But if you want to find a really good deal on a quality brand like Panasonic, Samsung, or Vizio, check out the deals on the weekend of December 11th&ndash;13th. Historically, this weekend sees big price markdowns and the release of above-average coupons from retailers like Best Buy, Walmart, and Sam's Club. If you're not buying a new HDTV as a Christmas gift, wait until the end of January when we typically see excellent deals leading up to the Super Bowl and after the Consumer Electronics Show, when new models are released.</p> <h2>3. Laptops &mdash; December 15th</h2> <p>If you missed out on one of the great laptop deals on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, don't fret &mdash; December 15th could actually be a better day to save. Over the past several years, that date has seen consistent markdowns and coupons from the likes of Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, and even Apple. Also, unlike Black Friday deals, which often see inferior laptops made specifically for the day, mid-December deals are on quality models with specs that won't leave you begging for an upgrade in a few short months.</p> <h2>4. Apparel and Shoes &mdash; December 18th</h2> <p>The single best day to shop for apparel and shoes in December is also known as Free Shipping Day, and this year it falls on December 18th. It's the day when over 1,000 online retailers come together to offer free shipping (no minimum) with guaranteed Christmas Eve delivery. The majority of these online retailers are clothing and shoe sellers like Gap, Lands' End, Old Navy, Zappos, and American Eagle Outfitters. In addition to free shipping, most of them also offer a percent or dollar off coupon code to entice last-minute shoppers. Be aware of return policies and know your size before ordering to avoid costly return charges.</p> <h2>5. Tools and Hardware &mdash; December 16th</h2> <p>If you're buying a new power tool for yourself, and can afford to wait, buy it during the two weeks leading up to Father's Day to maximize your savings. But if you're buying it as a holiday gift, start your shopping on December 16th and take advantage of a plethora of new markdowns and coupons from the likes of Home Depot, Lowe's, and Sears. In the past, I've seen a 55% increase in deals starting on December 16th that typically last through the 20th of the month.</p> <h2>6. Kitchen Gadgets and Appliances &mdash; December 18th</h2> <p>It pays to shop for small kitchen appliances and gadgets closer to Christmas. Think coffee brewers, blenders, panini makers, garlic presses, and other items along these lines. By shopping online on December 18th, not only will you be able to take advantage of free shipping, but many websites like Pfaltzgraff, Crate &amp; Barrel, Mikasa, Brookstone, JCPenney, and Chefs Corner Store offer discount codes in the 20%&ndash;40% off range.</p> <h2>7. PS4 and Xbox One Consoles/Games &mdash; December 14th</h2> <p>Starting on December 14th and going through the 17th of the month, you can usually find prices on PlayStation and Xbox items comparable to, or better than, the pricing you see on Black Friday. This includes older game titles in the 30%&ndash;40% off range and new titles 15%&ndash;20% off at retailers like Walmart, Gamestop, Target, and even Amazon. Also, if you look to buy a bundled system, which typically includes the console, game, and an extra controller, you can find deals in the 25% off range a week out from Christmas.</p> <p><em>What is your holiday shopping strategy and how do you find the best deals?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/december-deals-that-are-better-than-black-friday">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-pricey-things-you-shouldnt-buy-and-what-to-get-instead">14 Pricey Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy (And What to Get Instead)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-rules-for-planning-your-most-affordable-christmas-ever">5 Rules for Planning Your Most Affordable Christmas Ever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-places-to-get-coupons-online">The Best Places to Get Coupons Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-grocery-budgeting-a-game-the-price-is-right-style">Make Grocery Budgeting A Game, The Price Is Right Style</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping black friday christmas shopping december deals holiday shopping shopping Thu, 10 Dec 2015 18:08:02 +0000 Kyle James 1619180 at http://www.wisebread.com 25+ Easy Ways to Save Money But Still Get What You Want During Holiday Shopping http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-ways-to-save-money-but-still-get-what-you-want-during-holiday-shopping <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-easy-ways-to-save-money-but-still-get-what-you-want-during-holiday-shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000049983888.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you love it or you hate it, the gift giving season is here. If you buy gifts for the holiday season and you're not one of the lucky people who are already DONE &mdash; because you strategically purchased your gifts all year (by the way, congrats, kudos, and high five to you) &mdash; then it's time to gear up for the shopping season. But don't let what should be a fun and exciting time, become a stressful, exhausting, and masochistic exercise in worrying about budgets, costs, and spending. Below are 30 ideas and tips to help you save and put cash <em>back</em> in your pocket this holiday season.</p> <h2>Cash Back Sites Will Put Money Back in Your Pocket</h2> <p>Cash back sites are a must-do for holiday shopping. They provide cash back whether you shop online or in the store. These sites work by sharing the wealth. They earn a commission each time you click through to a store from their site and make a purchase. In return, they give you a portion, anywhere from 1-30%!</p> <h3>1. Check Traditional Cash Back Sites</h3> <p><a href="http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=vIhagUaAxdMIsu435wELZg%3D%3D&amp;eeid=28187">Ebates</a> is probably the most well-known cash back site with an awesome deal to encourage you to try them out. Get a $10 bonus (in the form of a gift card) when you join and make your first eligible purchase of at least $25. That's $10 <em>plus </em>whatever cash back you earn for making a purchase! Right now ebates is offering 8% back at Old Navy, 7% at Amazon, 4% back at Walmart, 6% back at Kohl's, Nordstrom, and JCPenney, and much more! To get this cash back, all you have to do is click on the store via the ebates sites. That's it! Then just shop as usual and watch your cash back grow in your ebates account.</p> <p>Ebates isn't the only game in town, however. With&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-cash-back-sites-to-earn-you-thousands-per-year">more than 30 cash back sites</a> out there and the holiday sales season upon us, spend a little time comparing rates and sign up bonuses for the best deal.</p> <h3>2. Use Retail Shopping Cash Back Apps</h3> <p>Did you know that some of these sites offer cash back for retail stores? Even better, you can shop brick and mortar stores, not just online. Best of all, the rate could be even better than those of the traditional cash back sites.</p> <p><a href="https://ibotta.com/r/jcsgjbv">Ibotta</a> is a shopping app that offers a lot of bang for the buck. Not only do they have the most cash back grocery offers (like $1 off Ben &amp; Jerry's ice cream), they also have great deals on various retail stores. For example, they're currently offering $10 back for spending $75 at stores like JCPenney and Talbots, and $15 back for spending $50 at Hanes.com! That's up to 30% back!</p> <p>Want more good news? Unlike traditional sites, you can use any coupon you want, AND you can pay with a gift card. You simply upload your receipts to Ibotta and once the purchase is verified, the cash shows up in your account.</p> <h3>3. Look For Credit Card Shopping Portals</h3> <p>When reviewing your cash back options, don't forget to look at your credit card. Many offer online shopping portals that act just like traditional cash back sites. Depending on your credit card, you may get points or cash back. Sometimes you can get a much better rate through the credit card shopping portal, so it really is worth comparing. Awarded points typically show up during the next billing cycle.</p> <h2>Score Free Gift Cards and Cash for a Holiday Budget Boost</h2> <p>Would scoring a few hundred dollars in cash and free gift cards help your holiday budget? Well there's still time, and getting started is easy.</p> <h3>4. Bing for Free Gift Cards</h3> <p>Millions of people do it, but there are so many more who haven't yet taken the plunge! You can legitimately get paid to search the Internet.&nbsp;<a href="http://bing-rewards.evyy.net/c/27771/89275/2168">Bing has a rewards program</a> that pays you to use their search engine on your computer and smartphone. Earn .25-.45 a day by doing something you probably do multiple times a day anyway. The daily earning amount might sound paltry but it adds up, especially if there is more than one person in your household and you cash out for the same thing. Just two people in the same home using&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-an-extra-200-a-year-just-by-doing-this-online">Bing can net you about $200 in free gift cards a year</a>.</p> <h3>5. Check Your Email</h3> <p><a href="http://trk.cotterweb.net/?a=13562&amp;c=1&amp;s1=">Inbox Dollars</a> is another program that pays you to search the Internet. Unlike Bing, however, Inbox Dollars is not a search engine, but a &quot;get paid to&quot; website where members can earn cash cards by performing multiple tasks such as completing surveys, trying out offers, watching videos, and yes, searching the Internet.</p> <p>One unique aspect of their program is that you can get paid to read emails that they send you. You can choose to get involved in all of the earning options there, but it's good to know that like Bing, if you do nothing other than use their search function, and do it with a partner (and add in the paid emails for good measure), you can add a few hundred dollars a year to your holiday budget. Sign up today to get a&nbsp;<a href="http://trk.cotterweb.net/?a=13562&amp;c=1&amp;s1=">$5.00 signup bonus</a>!</p> <h3>6. Add Some Swag to Your Holiday Budget</h3> <p><a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-10872178-1444864530000">Swagbucks</a> is probably the largest and most well-known of the &quot;get paid to&quot; programs. To date, they have awarded members with more than 100 million dollars in cash and gift cards. What do you have to do? Watch videos, complete surveys, offers, and play games, but the difference between Swagbucks and similar sites is the breadth of earning options available.</p> <p>To me, the best part of the site is the ability to earn by using your smartphone to watch videos. Swagbucks has a number of phone apps, and if you do nothing more than max out the videos available on the apps each month you'll have earned $25 in cash or gift cards. Put in a little more effort and it's fairly easy to earn $50 a month. Getting $600 a year for free definitely clears the way for you to keep your hard earned money in your pocket during the holidays. Sign up today for a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-10872178-1444864530000">$5 sign up bonus</a>!</p> <h3>7. Sign up for a New Account</h3> <p>You can often score some nice bonus cash for signing up for a new bank account or a new credit card. Some credit cards offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-bonus-cash-for-sign-up">as much as $500</a>. If you're looking for a card with a nice cash bonus and no annual fee, check out the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/unlimited-cash-back-the-quicksilver-cash-rewards-credit-card">Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card</a>.</p> <h2>Save and Earn With Gift Cards</h2> <p>Whether the person you're buying for likes to receive gift cards as a gift, or likes stuff from a store that sells their own brand of gift card, you can save or make some holiday cash by doing one or all of these.</p> <h3>8. Purchase Your Gift Cards from a Discount Site</h3> <p>There are a number of reputable websites like&nbsp;<a href="http://www.giftcards.com/discount-gift-cards">Giftcards.com</a> or&nbsp;<a href="https://www.raise.com/">Raise.com</a>. You could save anywhere from 1-25%.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-11949187-1442871035000">Gyft</a> is offering a $5 bonus on any gift card purchase of $15 or more. That's means a possible 33% savings right off the bat. Use your cards to buy gifts, stack with coupons and a sale, and that savings adds up!</p> <h3>9. Sell Your Gift Card for Cash</h3> <p>Have unwanted gift cards, or ones that you don't see yourself using any time soon? Sell them for extra cash and use it to fund your holiday budget. Depending on the brand, you could get up to 80% of your gift card's face value. Go to the aforementioned websites to see.</p> <h3>10. Buy a Gift With Your Gift Card</h3> <p>So you received a retail gift card as a present and you haven't used it yet. If there is someone on your holiday list who likes something from that store, use the gift card on them instead of buying something for yourself. You'll keep cash in your pocket and put a smile on someone's face. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-get-the-most-out-of-gift-cards?ref=seealso">4 Ways to Get the Most Out of Gift Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Increase or Stretch Your Holiday Budget With eBay</h2> <p>Use eBay to its fullest potential during the holiday to save or earn extra cash.</p> <h3>11. Sell Your Stuff on eBay</h3> <p>You may have read it a million times before, but it bears repeating. Make some money by selling stuff on eBay. With a little effort you could have an extra $100-$500 cash for your holiday spending in no time. Think you don't have anything to sell? I bet you do. You wouldn't believe the crazy&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-weird-things-to-sell-on-ebay-for-extra-cash">things that actually make money on eBay</a>.</p> <h3>12. Purchase or Sell a Coupon on eBay</h3> <p>Sounds crazy, but every little bit helps. Would you spend $5 to save $25, $50, or $100? I would, and have when the coupon or discount is from a store where they are hard to come by. Sometimes retailers send discounts and coupons to a select group of people. Savvy folks who know they won't use them, sell them on eBay for extra cash. Buy one to save some money, or sell your own coupons. It's a win-win.</p> <h3>13. Purchase a Discount Gift Card on eBay</h3> <p>Many times you can get a better deal by purchasing a gift card at a discount on eBay than from discount gift card websites. Always check both to be sure. When in the market for a larger denomination, I've scored 25% off of the face value by purchasing on eBay. Combine that with a crazy sale and a coupon and that's some mad holiday savings you've got going on.</p> <h3>14. Purchase Your Gift at a Discount eBay</h3> <p>Have you ever purchased anything for yourself on eBay to get a great price? Why not buy a gift for someone else that way? There are tons of NIB (new in box) items that have never been used or worn that people are selling because they're not using. Get the gift you want for less. Before you bid (or buy it now), don't forget to check the discount gift card sites to see if there are any discounted eBay gift cards for sale. Get your bargain at a discount, I always say.</p> <h2>Use Credit Card Rewards and Benefits</h2> <p>If you have credit and/or loyalty cards that earn points with purchase, now is the time to redeem them and shrink your out-of-pocket spending for the holidays.</p> <h3>15. Redeem Credit Card Points</h3> <p>If you're like my husband and I, you put as much as you can on your credit card and immediately pay it when it is due, which nets us a couple of hundred dollars a year in points. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-the-holidays?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards for the Holidays</a>)</p> <p>Many cards offer a cash option, like requesting a check or applying points to your bill. They also have gift card malls where you can redeem your points for your favorite retailer. If you're lucky, you'll catch the card you want at a discounted points price, which means you're saving money <em>and </em>stretching your points so they go further.</p> <h3>16. Use Airline Miles and Hotel Points</h3> <p>Many airline and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breakdown-of-benefits-and-value-of-the-best-hotel-rewards-programs-and-credit-cards">hotel point programs</a> offer the ability to exchange points for gift cards. This often overlooked feature can decrease your out-of-pocket holiday expenses. Redeem your points for gift cards and use those to purchase a present or two. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards?ref=seealso">5 Best Airline Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h3>17. Check for Credits, Discounts, and Perks</h3> <p>In addition to receiving points for purchases, some credit cards have a &quot;special benefits&quot; section with offers that can save you money like a statement credit with purchase. For instance, I have received an offer of a $50 statement credit when purchasing at least $100 at a big, well-known retailer by a certain date. I have also seen smaller offers like a $5 statement credit with a gas purchase of $25 or more at specific stations. Every little bit helps! Combine your offers with a sale, add a coupon, and pay the balance off with points, and you'll be all kinds of jolly over the savings.</p> <h2>Research Store Offers</h2> <p>Don't forget about the extra savings you can get through special offers from stores, including bundles or free gift cards for purchases.</p> <h3>18. Take Advantage of Bundles and Bonuses</h3> <p>Increase your holiday gift savings and put some cash back in your pocket by looking for bonuses and bundles. To encourage you to buy higher end items like televisions, computers, and smart phones, retailers may offer a bonus on top of a sale. The bonus may be in the form of some kind of bundle, but could also take the shape of gift cards to that store.</p> <p>Target and other retailers are known for doing this, and it can be an awesome deal, especially on items that never go on sale. Take Apple products, for example. Apple is notorious for not having sales. During the holiday season, however, they usually offer a gift card when purchasing specific items.</p> <p>That's great, but before you hop on that deal, check out other stores first to see what they are offering with purchase. You may find that the gift card amount at other stores is greater (think $50-$150) than at Apple. So not only do you get a better discount, you can use that gift card bonus at a store that offers a wider range of goods and check off other items on your holiday gift giving list. Or you could sell the gift card for actual cash.</p> <h3>19. Check Out Jet</h3> <p>You may have seen commercials for new online retailer&nbsp;<a href="https://jet.com/shop">Jet</a>. Touted as an alternative to Amazon, many commenters say the prices are better. My thoughts? It's definitely worth a look. I found that Amazon's selection is simply much greater than Jet, but it was easy enough to find things that I would want to buy.</p> <p>How about the prices? It depends. Sometimes Jet's prices were better, sometimes not. However, Jet is being aggressive with promotions right now, like 20% off and $10 off. Since Amazon doesn't offer such discounts, you could find that Jet is the better deal this holiday season.</p> <h3>20. Love Target? Save Even More</h3> <p>Remember that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-store-credit-card-target-redcard">Target REDcard</a> credit and debit card holders receive an extra 5% off of their purchases. The discount works in stores and online, and after all other coupons and discounts have been factored in. Plus, REDcard holders receive free shipping on purchases from Target.com with no minimum purchase every day, and an extra 30 days for returns. Download their&nbsp;<a href="http://goto.target.com/c/27771/103560/2092">Cartwheel mobile</a> app and gain access to additional discounts that aren't advertised to the general public. Combining these discounts could either get you to the best price, or make the best price even sweeter.</p> <h3>21. Stack Your Discounts in Novel Ways</h3> <p>To get your best deal, put all of your cards on the table: sales, coupons, (discount) gift cards, credit card points, statement credits, loyalty card points, and cash back sites; and try different combinations. For example, buy a discount gift card with a points earning credit card. Get your best sales price, find a coupon to lower the price even more, and pay for the item with your discounted gift card. If it's something that has a cash back deal on a shopping app like Ibotta, and you've spent the minimum amount, upload your receipt, get a cash rebate and save even more! Use the points earned through your credit card purchase and redeem for cash or free gift cards! There are hundreds of different savings combinations. Find what works for you.</p> <h3>22. Don't Forget About Price Adjustments and Matches</h3> <p>After you've stacked all of the discounts you can to maximize your savings, don't miss out on the potential cash back that can come from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-pay-more-guide-to-price-matching-and-cheat-sheet">price adjustments and matches</a>. Big retailers like Target, Walmart, Kohl's, Best Buy, Amazon, and other large and smaller stores have price adjustment/match policies which provide a little extra insurance that you are getting the best price. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-get-a-sale-price-match-at-16-popular-stores?ref=seealso">Here's How to Get a Sale Price-Match at 16 Popular Stores</a>)</p> <p>But what if you forget to check, don't have time, or feel it's not worth the hassle? If you've purchased some of your gifts online, let&nbsp;<a href="https://paribus.co/">Paribus</a>, seek out a price adjustment for you. In a nutshell, Paribus will search for a better price on that gift that you purchased online and get the difference back for you. Some credit cards also offer similar services. For example, Cit cards like the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/citi-double-cash-rewards-card-pays-you-to-pay-off-your-debt">Citi Double Cash Rewards Card</a> from our partner Citi has an exclusive Price Rewind option that searches an online merchant database for a lower price for 60 days and gives you a refund for the price difference.</p> <h2>Try Novel Gift Options</h2> <p>There are ways to be part of the gift giving without dropping a ton of cash.</p> <h3>23. Regift</h3> <p>Often overlooked or thought of as tacky, or cheap, regifting gets a bad rap that it doesn't deserve. If you've received a gift card, or lovely store bought item that you'll never use and know someone who will genuinely appreciate it, give it to them! What's better, having something sit in a closet collecting dust and taking up space, or having someone get real enjoyment out of it? (<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/regifting-a-simple-how-to-guide">See also: The Rules for Regifting</a>)</p> <h3>24. Turn Gift Giving into Events and Games</h3> <p>Instead of buying something for everyone in the office or even in the family, pool the gift giving into fun activities like Secret Santa or White Elephant. This allows you to only spring for one person in the group, without it being awkward or strange. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-genius-gifts-for-office-secret-santa?ref=seealso">15 Genius Gifts for Office Secret Santa</a>)</p> <h3>25. Think Homemade</h3> <p>If you have a lot of people on your gift giving list like neighbors and co-workers, think homemade! Who doesn't love&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-unique-holiday-gifts-you-can-bake">fresh baked cookies or other treats</a>? How about a bottle of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-homemade-liqueurs-to-bottle-now-for-tasty-holiday-gifts">homemade liqueur</a>? After years of accumulating things, sometimes these become the most favorite gifts of all. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today">25 Gifts You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h3>26. Offer Time and Services</h3> <p>If you're truly looking for some gift ideas when you're broke but have lots of time, try offering services, like babysitting, petsitting, cooking, or anything else that a busy person would appreciate. We've got a list of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-genius-gifts-for-office-secret-santa">20 Great Ideas for Free Gifts</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spend-almost-nothing-on-gifts-this-year?ref=seealso">10 Gift Ideas That Cost Almost Nothing</a>)</p> <h3>27. Buy Nothing. Bah Humbug!</h3> <p>This is for all who eschew our consumerist ways and think we should just buy nothing. The best way to save is not to spend, after all. There, I've said it. And it's true. Did that change your mind? Not this year? Well, maybe in the future. Here's to a happy, safe, and <em>inexpensive </em>holiday season for all!</p> <p><em>What's your best money saving tip during the holidays? Let me know in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kim-owens">Kim Owens</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-ways-to-save-money-but-still-get-what-you-want-during-holiday-shopping">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-5-cash-back-on-holiday-purchases">How to Get 5% Cash Back on Holiday Purchases</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-groceries">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-rewards-programs">Credit Card Rewards Programs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-worst-holiday-credit-cards">The Worst Holiday Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-the-holidays">Best Credit Cards for the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Shopping cash back cash back rewards holiday shopping Mon, 07 Dec 2015 16:00:26 +0000 Kim Owens 1618547 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Make the Most of Holiday Shopping http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-make-the-most-of-holiday-shopping <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-make-the-most-of-holiday-shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_holiday_shopping_000073535215.jpg" alt="Friends making the most of holiday shopping" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found ways to make the most of holiday shopping, tips to build confidence as a public speaker, and common money mistakes that military members make.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.cheapism.com/blog/3973/holiday-shopping-tips">50 Ways to Make Most of Holiday Shopping</a> &mdash; Don't buy a gift unless you're absolutely sure the recipient will love it. [Cheapism]</p> <p><a href="http://www.lifehack.org/328675/8-tips-for-becoming-more-confident-public-speaker">8 Tips For Becoming A More Confident Public Speaker</a> &mdash; Act naturally! Pretend that you're in a slightly bigger dinner party and you're discussing something with the guests. [Lifehack]</p> <p><a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/marybethstorjohann/2015/11/24/7-common-money-mistakes-military-members-make/">7 Common Money Mistakes Military Members Make</a> &mdash; Don't be so ready to take on debt even if you can afford it. Many military members over-extend themselves and fail to save for emergencies or future goals. [Forbes]</p> <p><a href="http://blog.mint.com/saving/how-to-break-the-paycheck-to-paycheck-cycle-112315">How to Break the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle</a> &mdash; It isn't enough to live within your means. If you want to stop living paycheck to paycheck, find ways to live far below your means. [MintLife]</p> <p><a href="http://blog.studysoup.com/trends/top-25-colleges-where-women-earn-more-than-men/">Top 25 Colleges Where Women Earn More than Men</a> &mdash; Women generally earn less than 80% compared to their male counterparts, but the female graduates of these schools managed to earn more. [StudySoup]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moneyunder30.com/best-way-to-save-for-college">Is A 529 Plan Really The Best Way To Save For College?</a> &mdash; One drawback of a 529 plan is that colleges consider 529 money in financial aid packages, which may lower the amount of aid your child receives. [Money Under 30]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Real-Signs-You-Need-Vacation-38731256">7 Real-Life Signs You Need to Take a Vacation Now</a> &mdash; It's time to take a break if you practically sleep with your laptop. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Tax-VOX/2015/1120/Two-important-new-federal-retirement-savings-initiatives">Two important new federal retirement savings initiatives</a> &mdash; These two initiatives will make it easier to save than ever, especially for more than 55 million Americans who currently do not participate in a retirement saving plan. [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/3-ways-shine-introvert/">3 Ways to Shine as an Introvert</a> &mdash; Find that sweet spot where socializing is enjoyable for you. If you hate being in a crowd, opt for one-on-one conversations. [Pick The Brain]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thecentsiblelife.com/make-the-most-of-open-enrollment-to-save-on-healthcare">How To Make The Most of Open Enrollment + Save On Healthcare</a> &mdash; When considering your options for health insurance, it's important to know what your benefits are. [The Centsible Life]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-make-the-most-of-holiday-shopping">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheat-sheet-retail-markup-on-common-items">Cheat Sheet: Retail Markup on Common Items</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-ways-to-save-money-but-still-get-what-you-want-during-holiday-shopping">25+ Easy Ways to Save Money But Still Get What You Want During Holiday Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-gift-guide-gifts-that-save-money">25 Gifts That Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-rules-for-planning-your-most-affordable-christmas-ever">5 Rules for Planning Your Most Affordable Christmas Ever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-art-of-the-group-gift">The Art of the Group Gift</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping best money tips holiday shopping Mon, 30 Nov 2015 20:00:07 +0000 Amy Lu 1616744 at http://www.wisebread.com Surprising Ways to Save Even More on Black Friday http://www.wisebread.com/surprising-ways-to-save-even-more-on-black-friday <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/surprising-ways-to-save-even-more-on-black-friday" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holiday_shopping_000052190246.jpg" alt="Woman learning surprising ways to save even more on Black Friday" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you are one of the thousands of shoppers who have accepted and triumphed over the challenge of Black Friday's frenzied crowds, early hours, and long lines, you're likely familiar with the slew of benefits associated with shopping on this day of huge discounts and bargains. However, you might be missing out on even more savings and perks if you aren't using your credit cards when you shop. While shoppers might be hesitant to break out the plastic for holiday shopping, Black Friday is one of the best shopping days of the year to use a credit card. Here's why you should only use your credit card on Black Friday. (See also:<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about?ref=seealso">13 Awesome Credit Card Perks You Didn't Know About</a>)</p> <h2>Extended Warranty</h2> <p>Many credit cards include an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-advantage-of-free-extended-warranty-from-your-credit-card-issuer">extended warranty feature</a> that we often overlook. In most cases, the card will extend the warranty for at least an additional year. This can become a valuable feature especially when many Black Friday sales and discounts include electronics, gaming systems, and appliances. Usually, if you want to extend the manufacturer's warranty on a purchase, you have to pay extra but using a credit card that comes with extended warranty doesn't cost you anything. Check your card agreement to check if there are any limits to the purchases it covers.</p> <p><a title="The Amex EveryDay&reg; Credit Card from American Express" alt="The Amex EveryDay&reg; Credit Card from American Express" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=2&amp;uv=xcard&amp;fot=1292"><img border="0" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" alt="" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/220217/601821.png" /></a>The <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=2&amp;uv=xname&amp;fot=1292">Amex EveryDay&reg; Credit Card from American Express</a> includes extended warranty on purchases as well as double points for purchases at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases) plus a 20% boost in points if you make 20 or more purchases in a billing period. Terms and limitations apply. There is no annual fee. <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=2&amp;uv=xend&amp;fot=1292"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Amex EveryDay&reg; Credit Card from American Express today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Price Protection</h2> <p>Some cards include price protection services for ensuring that you&rsquo;re getting the lowest price possible. Finding the flat screen you waited hours in line for available a week later for an additional $100 off can be maddening. Citi's Price Rewind feature takes care of price matching for you. When you make a purchase with a Citi card, Price Rewind searches online merchants for a lower price on that purchase for 60 days. If the product is available cheaper, you receive a refund of the price difference, up to $300 back per item and a total of up to $1,200 per year.</p> <p><a title="Citi&reg; Double Cash Card" alt="Citi&reg; Double Cash Card" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=47&amp;uv=xcard"><img width="154" border="0" height="98" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/CitiDoubleCash.jpg" /></a>The <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=47&amp;uv=xname">Citi&reg; Double Cash Card</a> from our partner Citi includes their exclusive Price Rewind feature <em>and</em> offers 1% unlimited cash back on every purchase you make. Then when you pay back your purchase (in full or over time), you'll get an additional 1% cash back. There are no caps or category restrictions, and no annual fee. Perfect for Black Friday shopping! <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=47&amp;uv=xend"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Citi&reg; Double Cash Card today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Theft and Damage Protection</h2> <p>Let's face it, a good deal can stir up any shopper, and things can get hectic on Black Friday. The last thing you want to worry about is stolen or damaged purchases. Many credit cards provide protection against theft or damage &mdash; and often loss, as well &mdash; and will reimburse you the cost of the purchase.</p> <p><a title="Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express" alt="Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=6&amp;uv=xcard&amp;fot=1292"><img width="154" border="0" height="98" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/165588/603474.png" /></a>American Express cards, for example, include purchase protection which covers your purchases for up to 90 days against theft or damage. This coverage is limited to $1,000 per occurrence, up to $50,000 per calendar year. Plus, with the <a target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=6&amp;uv=xname&amp;fot=1292">Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express</a>, you'll earn $150 cash back in the form of statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. <a target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=6&amp;uv=xend&amp;fot=1292"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Return Protection</h2> <p>Because of the very nature of Black Friday, store return policies are often limited. While you might be able to take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime deal on cashmere sweaters, it does you no good if you find out your mother-in-law is allergic to cashmere and you can't return them. Another reason to use your credit card for Black Friday shopping is because many include return protection. If the store won't accept your return, you can turn to your card's return protection feature and get a refund that way.</p> <p><a title="Discover it&reg; - New! Double Cash Back your first year" alt="Discover it&reg; - New! Double Cash Back your first year" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=62&amp;uv=xcard&amp;fot=1292"><img width="154" border="0" height="98" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/211101/601525.png" /></a>The <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=62&amp;uv=xname&amp;fot=1292">Discover it&reg; - Double Cash Back your first year Card</a> offers return protection up to $500 on eligible items within 90 days of purchase. This is more than enough time to find out whether anyone in your family wants those sweaters, and if not, prevent you from being stuck with them. You also get 5% cash back on rotating categories each quarter, and <strong>double</strong> all your cash back your first year as a new cardmember. <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=62&amp;uv=xend&amp;fot=1292"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Discover it&reg; - New! Double Cash Back your first year Card today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Valuable Rewards Programs</h2> <p>You can't really mention the benefits of using credit cards without pointing out the valuable rewards that many offer. If you have a cash back card with rotating rewards, the bonus categories often include popular stores for holiday shopping. What's better than getting an amazing deal on Black Friday, and then getting <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5% cash back</a> on top of that? When you map out your Black Friday plan, you can figure out which cards to use to earn the most cash back.</p> <p><a title="Capital One&reg; QuickSilver&reg; Cash Rewards Credit Card" alt="Capital One&reg; QuickSilver&reg; Cash Rewards Credit Card" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=27&amp;uv=xcard"><img width="154" border="0" height="98" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/219963/598864.png" /></a>Cash back cards also award gas and restaurants, which could come in handy when you're driving from store to store, or need to take a break for a bite to eat. If you would rather just get your shopping done without worrying about the types of purchases you're making, the <a target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=27&amp;uv=xname">Capital One&reg; QuickSilver&reg; Cash Rewards Credit Card</a> awards a flat rate of 1.5% cash back on all purchases, which can add up depending on how many deals you come across on Black Friday. <a target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=27&amp;uv=xend"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Capital One&reg; QuickSilver&reg; Cash Rewards Credit Card today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Cash Sign-Up Bonuses</h2> <p>While it's common for credit cards to offer cash sign-up bonuses, there aren't many shopping days better than Black Friday for taking advantage of those bonuses. Black Friday shoppers aim to complete a large part, if not all, of their holiday shopping, which means it's easier to meet the spending requirements that come with sign-up bonuses. Plus, the sign-up bonus you receive in return, can be counted as an additional discount on your purchases, further maximizing the discounts you already scored shopping on Black Friday.</p> <p><a title="BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; Card" alt="BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; Card" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=17&amp;uv=xcard"><img width="154" border="0" height="98" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/BoA_Cash_Rewards-154.jpg" /></a>The <a target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=17&amp;uv=xname">BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; Card</a> offers $100 cash back if you spend $500 with the card within your first 90 days of account opening. It also awards 2% cash back on grocery store purchases and 3% on gas (up to $1500 in combined grocery and gas purchases each quarter). Get a 10% bonus when you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America checking or savings account. <a target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=17&amp;uv=xend"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; Card today!</strong></a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christina-majaski">Christina Majaski</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/surprising-ways-to-save-even-more-on-black-friday">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/december-deals-that-are-better-than-black-friday">December Deals That Are Better Than Black Friday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-ways-to-save-money-but-still-get-what-you-want-during-holiday-shopping">25+ Easy Ways to Save Money But Still Get What You Want During Holiday Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-5-cash-back-on-holiday-purchases">How to Get 5% Cash Back on Holiday Purchases</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/even-more-black-friday-savings-tips-from-shopping-experts">Even More Black Friday Savings Tips From Shopping Experts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-people-go-crazy-on-black-friday">Why People Go Crazy on Black Friday</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Shopping black friday budget holiday shopping saving money Wed, 18 Nov 2015 10:15:52 +0000 Christina Majaski 1613660 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's What You Spent on This Holiday Season http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-you-spent-on-this-holiday-season <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-what-you-spent-on-this-holiday-season" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-christmas-shopping-Dollarphotoclub_70911498.jpg" alt="woman christmas shopping" title="woman christmas shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Perhaps just as interesting as how much you spent on holiday shopping is <em>how</em> you spent it. Far fewer people shopped in stores than ever before during the five-day holiday shopping bonanza that spans Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. For the first time, online traffic from mobile devices&nbsp;<a href="http://www-01.ibm.com/software/marketing-solutions/benchmark-reports/black-friday-report-2014.pdf">outpaced traditional desktop computers</a>&nbsp;on Thanksgiving Day. (When it comes to mobile sales, tablets are king, driving 36% more sales than smartphones.)</p> <p>From bizarre gift categories to eBay's most popular zip code, read on for a surprising snapshot of what you bought and where you spent it, based on the latest Black Friday and Cyber Monday stats.</p> <h2>1. $243 on Home Goods</h2> <p>From accent pillows to cutlery, home goods were high on holiday shopping lists nationwide. Year-over-year online sales for home goods spiked 7% on Black Friday and 12% on Cyber Monday. All told, the average order total on these two days came in at $243.</p> <h2>2. $180,000 on Boxes of Poop (No, Really)</h2> <p>More than 30,000 people unwittingly purchased a box of poop on Black Friday. Or, more precisely, a box of pasteurized bull feces from a cattle ranch in Texas. Huh?</p> <p><a href="http://cardsagainsthumanity.com/">Cards Against Humanity</a>, the company that makes the eponymous fill-in-the-blank adult card game, added a new item to its website on Black Friday: &quot;Bullshit&quot; priced at $6. And hoards of people bought it, not realizing that its billing on the website was actually quite literal.</p> <p>Cards Against Humanity made&nbsp;<a href="http://time.com/3634443/cards-against-humanity-poop-black-friday/">20 cents on each $6 box</a> of excrement, according to Time magazine. But the company won't actually profit on this strange and stinky stunt. The $36,000 will be donated to <a href="http://www.heifer.org/">Heifer International</a>, a charity that gifts livestock to impoverished people with the goal of fending off hunger while also providing a source of financial stability.</p> <h2>3. $145 on Department Store Goods</h2> <p>Kohl's, the Wisconsin-based department store with nearly 1,200 locations in 49 states, cashed in on Black Friday big time, <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/ianmorris/2014/12/01/apple-samsung-ea-and-microsoft-were-black-friday-and-cyber-monday-winners/">earning the most mentions</a> of any other retailer on Twitter and Facebook. That's the good news for traditional brick and mortar department stores. The bad news is that the runners up were Apple, Samsung, Amazon, and Microsoft, indicating a huge national preference for online shopping and the gadgets that make it all possible. Perhaps that's why the average online order value for department store goods on Black Friday and Cyber Monday came in at a cool $145. That's a year-over-year decrease of 3% on Black Friday and 10% on Cyber Monday.</p> <h2>4. $108 on Apparel</h2> <p>Nearly 80% of Americans planned on <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/179756/cautious-christmas-shoppers-eye-clothing-toys.aspx">making clothing purchases</a> in the weeks leading up to Christmas, according to a recent Gallup poll. Nonetheless, the year-over-year average order value for apparel dropped 7% on Black Friday and 2% on Cyber Monday, lowering the average order amount to $108.</p> <h2>5. 2.5 Million eBay Purchases</h2> <p>Sales at online retailer eBay climbed an astounding 19% on Cyber Monday. All told, there were <a href="http://blog.ebay.com/breaking-down-black-friday-cyber-monday-on-ebay/">more than 2.5 million transactions</a> on the online auction site on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the company reports. Interestingly, Prairie Grove, Arkansas, with a population of just 2,540, bought more items on eBay on Cyber Monday than any other zip code in the U.S. Trailing behind Prairie Grove were Miami, Florida, Alpharetta, Georgia, and Santa Clara, California.</p> <h2>6. $65 on Health and Beauty</h2> <p>The average online order value for a health and beauty purchases on Black Friday and Cyber Monday peaked at $65, marking a 10% increase over last year's numbers for Black Friday and a 4% spike for Cyber Monday.</p> <p>If your credit card's still smoking from all those swipes, be consoled: Holiday gift-giving is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cep.ucsb.edu/papers/DeltonKrasnowCosmidesTooby2011_withSI.pdf">remarkably rewarding</a>, often providing us with a warm and fuzzy feeling that not even a high credit card balance can ward off.</p> <p><em>How much did you spend this holiday season?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-you-spent-on-this-holiday-season">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-gift-guide-gifts-that-save-money">25 Gifts That Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/december-deals-that-are-better-than-black-friday">December Deals That Are Better Than Black Friday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-art-of-the-group-gift">The Art of the Group Gift</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/even-more-black-friday-savings-tips-from-shopping-experts">Even More Black Friday Savings Tips From Shopping Experts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-people-go-crazy-on-black-friday">Why People Go Crazy on Black Friday</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping black friday gifts holiday shopping Tue, 30 Dec 2014 18:00:12 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1274862 at http://www.wisebread.com Read This to Maximize Your Rewards and Cash Back This Holiday Season http://www.wisebread.com/read-this-to-maximize-your-rewards-and-cash-back-this-holiday-season <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/read-this-to-maximize-your-rewards-and-cash-back-this-holiday-season" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-christmas-credit-card-453313301-small_0.jpg" alt="christmas credit card" title="christmas credit card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Tis the season for shopping, and for most of us that means swiping some plastic. Did you know that choosing the right credit card for your purchases is more important than ever during the holiday season? This is when you spend more than you usually do, which means that you can rack up more rewards than you normally would. Does your go-to credit card offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">bonus points for grocery shopping</a>? At department stores? For gas? It's time to find out!</p> <p>Here's a step to step guide on organizing your credit cards so you are armed with the one that will help carry the budget burden. (See our picks for the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-the-holidays">best credit cards for the holidays</a>)</p> <h2>1. Review Your Credit Card Terms</h2> <p>Do you even know which credit card offers cash back and which one only offers points for travel redemption? Take out your credit cards, and go into your card's rewards terms. Write down what each card offers. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-5-cash-back-on-holiday-purchases?ref=seealso">How to Get 5% Cash Back on Holiday Purchases</a>)</p> <h2>2. Compare Against Your Gift List</h2> <p>Now that you know which cards offer what rewards, look at your gift list to see if your cards offer rewards for the purchases you are planning to make. Consider other purchases you might need to make, too, like travel arrangements or extra grocery shopping for all the people staying at your place for a week.</p> <h2>3. Choose Cards Based on Bonus Rewards</h2> <p>Use the credit card that offers bonus rewards on purchases. For example, use the 3% cash back on groceries credit card when you buy groceries. Use the card that gives you double points on travel purchases when you reserve your flight to your in-laws'. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso">5 Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>4. Use Their Shopping Portals</h2> <p>Look at your list again. Are there any stores that you can buy your gifts at that are partnered with your credit card's shopping portal? Many card issuers have their own shopping portals where they give bonus rewards if you shop through there. The shopping experience is the same &mdash; you just have to go to their portal first, then click through to the store you want. Some cards offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-discover-it-card-attractive-cash-back-awards-for-shoppers">up to 20% cash back</a> if you shop via their portal (and use their card).</p> <h2>5. Look for Bonuses</h2> <p>After you've figured out which cards offer bonus rewards for the purchases you need, it's time to decide which card to use for the rest of the purchases. Most cards offer 1% cash back or 1 point for other purchases, and you might think that means it doesn't matter which card you use for them, but you'd be wrong. Some cards offer bonus rewards <em>on your rewards</em>. So if you racked up 5000 points in a year, a card might offer an extra 10% on top of that, so you'd get an additional 500 points. You'd want to use that card for all your other purchases.</p> <h2>6. Get Protection for Your Purchases</h2> <p>One final thing to consider when choosing the credit card for your holiday purchases are the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about">additional benefits a credit card may offer</a>. These benefits often include <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-advantage-of-free-extended-warranty-from-your-credit-card-issuer">extended warranty</a>, price protection, purchase protection, and return protection. When it comes to holiday shopping, these perks may be worth more than any extra rewards or cash back. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-your-credit-card-will-save-you-money-while-holiday-shopping?ref=seealso">11 Ways Your Credit Card Will Save You Money While Holiday Shopping</a>)</p> <p><em>Do you try to maximize your rewards during holiday shopping? Please share your tips and tricks in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lynn-truong">Lynn Truong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/read-this-to-maximize-your-rewards-and-cash-back-this-holiday-season">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-rewards-credit-cards-really-work">How Cash Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-many-credit-cards-should-you-carry">How Many Credit Cards Should You Carry?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-all-of-the-benefits-of-your-credit-cards-and-none-of-the-costs">How to Get All of the Benefits of Your Credit Cards — and None of the Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-why-i-prefer-credit-cards-over-cash">10 Reasons Why I Prefer Credit Cards Over Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-tips-for-smart-and-safe-credit-card-use-during-the-holidays">25 Tips for Smart (and Safe) Credit Card Use During the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards credit cards holiday shopping maximum rewards rewards cards Fri, 21 Nov 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Lynn Truong 1257853 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Things You Should Do Now to Get Your Finances in Order for the Holidays http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-do-now-to-get-your-finances-in-order-for-the-holidays <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-you-should-do-now-to-get-your-finances-in-order-for-the-holidays" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-paying-bills-90865837-small.jpg" alt="couple paying bills" title="couple paying bills" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In a way, Black Friday has become a sort of ceremonial ribbon cutting for the holiday spending season in America. In reality, the groundwork to spend all that money during November and December can and should be laid during the months leading up to Thanksgiving. To put it succinctly, we should be financially prepared to handle the holidays well in advance of their arrival &mdash; because holiday shopping has a way of taking us by surprise and catching us off guard. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-holiday-debt-starting-now?ref=seealso">How to Avoid Holiday Debt &mdash; Starting Now</a>)</p> <p>We spend more money than we need to (often on things that nobody really wants) simply because we don't have a plan in place for managing our finances during a hectic time of the year. Understandably, we get busy and distracted, sidetracked with all of the travel, work, and family activities.</p> <p>The good news is that you don't need to leave it all to chance, or to the last minute. Get started now with these steps.</p> <h2>1. First and Foremost: Save for Holiday Shopping</h2> <p>Ideally, this is something you started doing last January, putting away $10 to $15 every week or so for holiday spending. If you're just now starting, simply up the amount. Try $25 to $30 once a week until mid-December. By then you'll have roughly $450, which is significant for many households and certainly for individuals buying for other family members. To help you plan your savings strategy even better, try something like Dave Ramsey's <a href="http://www.daveramsey.com/blog/custom-christmas-budget">Christmas budgeting tool</a>.</p> <h2>2. Know That Thoughtfulness Is Cheaper</h2> <p>Our tendency to buy gifts at the last minute ends up costing us far more money. Holiday marketing pushes us towards the more expensive items and, unfortunately, they're usually easier to buy. Dad gets new power tools; Mom gets a tablet of some kind; and kids get a new cell phone, computer, or gaming system. Those things are expensive, and despite the fact they're usually enjoyed, you don't always need to spend top dollar on that kind of stuff.</p> <p>Particularly if you're buying for someone in your family, think about keeping it personal. If you take the time to think about what would mean more to someone, you can often avoid the more expensive, conventional gifts.</p> <h2>3. Pay Off as Much Debt as Possible</h2> <p>It can be difficult to manage holiday spending under ideal financial situations, much less when debt is crowding out your cash flow. Make it a priority to pay down your debts now before the holiday season hits.</p> <h2>4. Tighten Your Budget &mdash; Now</h2> <p>The less you spend now, the easier it will be to handle the holiday spending rush when it eventually comes. Consider how much you want to participate in that rush. For example, if you really want to take advantage of Black Friday and do some heavy Christmas shopping in December, avoid store hopping in the months and weeks leading up to those events. Keep your budget tight and make sure you have enough extra cash flow for the budgeting we mentioned in step one.</p> <h2>5. Plan Who You Want to Buy For</h2> <p>Creating a Christmas roster does two things for you. First, it eliminates the risk of impulse buying for people that you weren't initially planning on getting anything for. Second, it gives you a grid by which to divide up the Christmas budget you created in step one. Perhaps you want to spend $75 on each of your children, $50 on your spouse, and so on.</p> <h2>6. Start Buying Gifts Now</h2> <p>If you do some Christmas shopping now and in the months leading up to December, you'll not only avoid some of the inflated holiday prices, but you'll also have less people to shop for during the weeks when the stores are annoyingly busy and overcrowded.</p> <h2>7. Set Aside Some Money for Travel</h2> <p>Putting cash away for travel doesn't mean that it has to cover the entirety of your holiday trip cost. What it should do is offset the cost of fuel, food, and whatever other travel expenses might come up. Try to set aside $30 for every day you plan to be away. It'll be a welcome break for your checking account in the middle of the holiday season.</p> <h2>8. Commit to Not Using a Credit Card</h2> <p>If you've gone through (or committed to going through) step three, don't get back into the habit of using your credit card for the holiday season. It's far too tempting to say, &quot;I'll just use it for Christmas shopping.&quot; Use a debit card or cash. If you must use a credit card, treat it as a debit card and pay the balance down quickly. Who wants to start the new year with that monkey on their back?</p> <h2>9. Track Your Expenses</h2> <p>Use a program like <a href="http://mint.com">Mint</a> to track your spending and see where your money is going now, to help you budget and save, and during the holiday season to help you stay on budget.</p> <h2>10. Buy Decorations Now (If You Need Them)</h2> <p>The secret here is that you can get Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations almost year round. It's just that most people don't start to look for them until the holidays are imminent. That usually means you'll pay more when the season is close. If you can plan ahead and restock your decorations in June or July (the very end of December/start of January is even better), you'll save some money and time in the long run.</p> <h2>The Holidays Are Coming</h2> <p>A little forethought and planning now can help you avoid most of the annual holiday stress &mdash; and financial strain. It's simply a matter of being intentional about your finances with an eye to the future.</p> <p><em>How are you getting your finances in order leading up to the holiday season? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-do-now-to-get-your-finances-in-order-for-the-holidays">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-art-of-the-group-gift">The Art of the Group Gift</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheat-sheet-retail-markup-on-common-items">Cheat Sheet: Retail Markup on Common Items</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-gifts-for-5-or-less">25 Great Gifts for $5 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-holiday-gifts-hostesses-love">6 Holiday Gifts Hostesses Love</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-financial-habits-just-bad">Are Your Financial Habits Just Bad?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping debt holiday shopping Holidays Tue, 12 Aug 2014 11:01:05 +0000 Mikey Rox 1181398 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Get 5% Cash Back on Holiday Purchases http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-5-cash-back-on-holiday-purchases <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-5-cash-back-on-holiday-purchases" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-with-piggy-bank-christmas-iStock_000021719650Small_0.jpg" alt="woman with piggy bank" title="woman with piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How much did you spend during the holiday season last year? How much will you spend this year? Think for a moment.</p> <p>Perhaps you'll spend $500-$1000 on gifts?</p> <p>And what about food and clothes?</p> <p>Whether you're kicking off the season by hosting Thanksgiving or just bringing appetizers to holiday dinner parties, you may spend an extra $300 on food. A new outfit for New Years Eve along with tickets to a show or two during the holiday season will run about $200. And travel? If you have to travel anywhere, you're looking at $50 for a tank of gas (at least) and upwards of $2,000 if you're buying plane tickets for your whole family.</p> <p>The reality is that the holidays cost a lot of money.</p> <p>Thankfully there are 5% cash back credit cards that will ease the strain on your wallet this season. (Or at least give you a boost in your cash reserves in January when you're able to redeem the rewards.) If you spend $3,500 during the holidays on a 5% back card, you'd be entitled to $175 in cash back rewards. Even if you just spend $500, with a 5% rewards card you'll get $25 back.</p> <p>So before you head out to purchase gifts (and dinner party supplies, and a new outfit, and plane tickets), consider picking up one of these top 5% cash back rewards cards for the holiday season.</p> <h2>Target REDcard</h2> <p><a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=20&amp;pid=77&amp;pp=1&amp;uv=xcard"><img width="154" height="112" alt="" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" a="" src="http://adn.impactradius.com/display-ad/2092-173676" /></a>When I think of Christmas shopping, I immediately think of Target. This is because as a kid I would save up my money and my parents would let me visit Target by myself and buy presents for everyone. (For several years my present of choice was a one dollar box of mint holiday cookies.) Target has gifts for everyone on your list &mdash; from clothes to electronics. Get 5% off all your Target purchases with the <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=20&amp;pid=77&amp;pp=1&amp;uv=xname">Target REDcard</a>; plus with groceries in many stores you'll also save 5% on food for the holidays. Cardholders can also get free shipping on their Target.com purchases along with an additional 30 days to return an item.</p> <p><a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=20&amp;pid=77&amp;pp=1&amp;uv=xend"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Target REDcard today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express</h2> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" alt="Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express" title="Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=20&amp;pid=6&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xcard&amp;fot=1049"><img border="0" alt="" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/165588/603474.png" /></a>If you're hosting Thanksgiving, a New Year's Dinner, or a party anytime in between, you'll likely be paying a pretty penny for food. Thankfully, the <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=20&amp;pid=6&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xname&amp;fot=1049">Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express</a> offers 6% back (yes, that's 6%, not 5%) at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases. For those traveling by car during the holidays, this card also offers 3% back at U.S. gas stations. Shopping at select U.S. department stores also gets you 3% back. Cash back comes in the form of Reward Dollars, which can be used towards statement credit.</p> <p>Sign up for this card now to receive their sign up bonus of one year of $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases on your new card within the first three months. You'll also get some relief with their 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (after that, your APR will be a variable 13.24%-22.24% based on your credit). There is a $75 annual fee for this card. Terms and limitations apply.</p> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=20&amp;pid=6&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xend&amp;fot=1049"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Discover it - Double Cash Back your first year</h2> <p><a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=20&amp;pid=62&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xcard&amp;fot=1049"><img width="154" height="98" alt="credit card" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/220649/607019.png" /></a>Would you rather avoid the holiday lines on Black Friday, Christmas Eve, and every other day in between by shopping online? If you prefer shopping online, then use (or apply for) the <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=20&amp;pid=62&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xname&amp;fot=1049">Discover it&reg; - Double Cash Back your first year Card</a> for your holiday season shopping. Get 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter up to the quarterly maximum when you sign up; you get 1% cash back on all other purchases. As an exclusive offer for new cardmembers, Discover doubles all the cash back you've earned at the end of your 1st year &mdash; automatically. You get your recent FICO Credit Scores for free in an easy-to-ready chart on monthly statements and online, and the Freeze It<sup>SM</sup> on/off switch lets you prevent new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers on misplaced cards in seconds via their website or mobile app.</p> <p>The card currently offers 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers (then a variable APR of 11.24%-23.24%).</p> <p><a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=20&amp;pid=62&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xend&amp;fot=1049"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Discover it&reg; - Double Cash Back your first year Card today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Chase Freedom</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chase-freedom-a-more-rewarding-way-to-shop">Chase Freedom&reg;</a> card gives 5% total cash back on quarterly bonus categories as well (1% on all other purchases). From now until December 31, get 5% back at Amazon.com, Zappos.com, Audible.com, and Diapers.com. Note that the 5% back is limited to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter (so $75 cash back), and you must enroll your card to activate the bonus each quarter. Chase also has an online shopping portal that gives you extra cash back. There is no annual fee.</p> <p>Sign up now to get $150 bonus cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Earn another $25 after you add an authorized user and make a purchase within 3 months. Plus get 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.<strong><br /> </strong></p> <p>No matter what your plans are for the holidays this year, there's a card that can help you earn 5% back.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-5-cash-back-on-holiday-purchases">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-groceries">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-ways-to-save-money-but-still-get-what-you-want-during-holiday-shopping">25+ Easy Ways to Save Money But Still Get What You Want During Holiday Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-the-holidays">Best Credit Cards for the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-airline-companion-tickets-and-3-bad-ones">The 5 Best Credit Cards With Airline Companion Tickets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-office-supply-purchases">Best Credit Cards for Office Supply Purchases</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Shopping best credit cards cash back holiday shopping Fri, 08 Nov 2013 11:05:37 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 955799 at http://www.wisebread.com Shoppers to Spend Less This Holiday Season http://www.wisebread.com/shoppers-to-spend-less-this-holiday-season <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/shoppers-to-spend-less-this-holiday-season" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gift-box-iStock_000022323419Small.jpg" alt="gift box" title="gift box" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of my favorite holiday songs is &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.&rdquo; But I&rsquo;ll admit that during some points of the season, I feel like changing the words to &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the Most <em>Stressful</em> Time of the Year.&rdquo;</p> <p>And it&rsquo;s not just because you have to attend company parties, find time to decorate the house, or compliment your Aunt Sara&rsquo;s cranberry nut dessert (even though you can&rsquo;t stand it). No, there&rsquo;s something else that can really make your blood pressure rise.</p> <p>You know what I&rsquo;m talking about &mdash; it&rsquo;s the heart palpitations that accompany spending so much money in a short period of time. Way too many people end up with a debt hangover in January. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dealing-with-post-holiday-credit-card-debt">Dealing With&nbsp;Post-Holiday Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <p>But it looks like this is the year that many have decided to throw up their hands and say,&nbsp;<em>Enough already! We can spend less and still enjoy the holidays.</em> According to a <a href="http://investors.fairisaac.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=67528&amp;p=RssLanding&amp;cat=news&amp;id=1764236">survey by myFICO</a>, almost one third of consumers are decreasing their holiday budgets and keeping low balances on their credit cards.</p> <p>The myFICO survey highlights some credit-card strategies that consumers are trying this holiday season. Maybe you&rsquo;ll see an idea that will help you put the brakes on credit-card spending this season.</p> <h2>Sticking With Their Current Credit Cards</h2> <p>Only 20% of shoppers plan to open a new credit card account. Now, this doesn&rsquo;t necessarily mean that consumers have enough credit. I suspect this has to do with not wanting the temptation to spend more.</p> <p>And this makes sense. If you&rsquo;re on a diet and you don&rsquo;t want to eat a giant plate of lasagna, then don&rsquo;t go to an Italian restaurant where you&rsquo;ll be tempted to order it.</p> <p>Same with credit cards. Don&rsquo;t tempt yourself with a new card if you know you&rsquo;ll be tempted to spend more. Really, unless you need a specific type of card, like a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">rewards card that offers miles</a>, there&rsquo;s no reason to open a new account.</p> <p>But I also think that people are sticking with the credit cards they have because it&rsquo;s easy. You know the interest rate, your credit limit, and how the rewards program works. If you put a brand-new card into your rotation right now, it&rsquo;s just more stuff to keep track of. And when you have more stuff to keep track of, it&rsquo;s stressful. And during the holidays, who needs more stress?</p> <h2>Spending Less on Credit Cards</h2> <p>I already mentioned that almost a third of consumers say they&rsquo;re spending less this year. But would you believe that a whopping 65% plan to spend less than $500 on their credit cards? That&rsquo;s pretty significant, because the American Research Group predicted that the average consumer will spend $854 during the 2012 season.</p> <p>I haven&rsquo;t done any scientific research on this, but I spend a lot of my time talking with consumers. I think one reason so many folks are cutting back is because we&rsquo;re all becoming more skeptical about what the economy has in store. The Great Recession spooked everyone, whether you got your credit trashed or not during that time.</p> <p>There&rsquo;s nothing wrong with some healthy skepticism. We no longer believe that the economy will bounce back strong until we see it. This is just self-preservation, and it&rsquo;s really pretty healthy. When the economy does bounce back, those who aren&rsquo;t in debt can take advantage of opportunities. So really, it&rsquo;s fantastic to see people <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-my-hoarder-family-saved-christmas">making tough decisions about spending less</a>.</p> <h2>Watching the Score</h2> <p>In the survey, 14% said they&rsquo;re worried about the impact of holiday spending on their FICO score. I think this is another effect of the recession. Three years ago, not that many people spent time thinking about their FICO score.</p> <p>The survey also says that consumers plan to use only 25% of their limit. This is a good strategy because the lower your credit card balances, the better your FICO score. In fact, if you want to maximize this part of your FICO score, don&rsquo;t use more than 10% of your credit card limit. Yes, I know that&rsquo;s hard to pull off during the holidays!</p> <p>But honestly, I don&rsquo;t think anyone needs to actually &ldquo;worry&rdquo; about their scores. Be concerned, but don&rsquo;t obsess over it, because scores are a moving target. They change frequently based on what&rsquo;s being reported and when it&rsquo;s being reported. As long as you pay the full balance when the bill comes, the impact on your score will be temporary.</p> <p>However, if you&rsquo;re planning to refinance your mortgage or get a personal loan very soon, then yes, it&rsquo;s a good idea to keep those balances very low.</p> <h2>Are You Spending Less This Year?</h2> <p>I&rsquo;m a little ahead of the curve on this issue. I cut back on the amount of holiday spending a few years ago. Not because I&rsquo;m a financial genius, but because I have a daughter in college and my son is starting college in two years. My goodness, education is expensive!</p> <p>So we&rsquo;ve already made a tough decision about holiday spending cuts. I do <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-use-your-credit-card-for-holiday-purchases">use my rewards credit cards for all of my holiday purchases</a>. I like to get cash back or miles on my purchases. It&rsquo;s a small way to save a little on the purchase price.</p> <p><em>OK, so how about you? Have you decided to make any changes when it comes to spending or credit cards this year?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beverly-harzog">Beverly Harzog</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shoppers-to-spend-less-this-holiday-season">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-rules-for-planning-your-most-affordable-christmas-ever">5 Rules for Planning Your Most Affordable Christmas Ever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-worst-holiday-credit-cards">The Worst Holiday Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheat-sheet-retail-markup-on-common-items">Cheat Sheet: Retail Markup on Common Items</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-art-of-the-group-gift">The Art of the Group Gift</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-frugal-christmas-decorating-hacks">14 Frugal Christmas Decorating Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Christmas credit card spending holiday shopping Mon, 17 Dec 2012 11:36:31 +0000 Beverly Harzog 959887 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Gifts That Save Money http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-gift-guide-gifts-that-save-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/wise-bread-gift-guide-gifts-that-save-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy-bank-106498981.jpg" alt="holiday piggy bank" title="holiday piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It shouldn't be a surprise that here at Wise Bread, we like gifts that <em>do</em> things &mdash; gifts that are useful. Gifts that fill a need. Gifts that might be indulgent, but not wholly unnecessary. And we especially love gifts that can do even more &mdash; that can help people save money. With that in mind, here's our guide to 25 great gifts that keep more cash in your giftee's wallet. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-great-gifts-that-keep-on-giving?ref=seealso">31 Great Gifts That Keep on&nbsp;Giving</a>)</p> <h2>1. Coffee Maker</h2> <p>The &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-why-keeping-your-latte-factor-will-help-you-save-money">latte factor</a>&quot; &mdash; the idea that small regular expenses can make a big difference over time &mdash; is one of the most frequently-discussed ideas in personal finance, so it makes sense to start here. I love my little <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000YYQCOU/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000YYQCOU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">Bodum French press</a> (it makes exactly the amount of coffee I want in the morning), but there are so many other options &mdash; <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005HO1I4G/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005HO1I4G&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">bigger French presses</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004GWSWCQ/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004GWSWCQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">Keurig one-cup coffee makers</a>, classic <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005LW60OC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005LW60OC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">drip coffee makers</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0036YFTO4/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0036YFTO4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">Chemex coffee makers</a> &mdash; heck, even <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-espresso-makers">espresso machines</a> can save you money over time, depending on how many espresso-based drinks you normally buy at the coffee shop. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-coffeemakers?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Coffeemakers</a>)</p> <h2>2. A Netflix, Hulu+, or AmazonPrime Subscription</h2> <p>These three services all offer streaming movies and TV shows &mdash; or, in the case of Netflix, the option of movies on&nbsp;DVD as well. Depending on the media habits of the person you're giving the gift to, these services can save anywhere from a few dollars a month to over $100 a month, if they decide to cut cable and go out to the movies less. <a href="https://signup.netflix.com">Netflix </a>and <a href="http://www.hulu.com/plus?src=top-nav&amp;driverid1=top-nav-plus&amp;driverpage=homepage&amp;drivertype=nav-element">Hulu+</a> plans start at $7.99 a month, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/prime/?ie=UTF8&amp;*Version*=1&amp;*entries*=0&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">Amazon Prime </a>is $79 a year (and includes other perks like free two-day shipping for Amazon orders).</p> <p>If you do know someone who is getting rid of cable, another great idea is a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007KEZMX4/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B007KEZMX4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">Roku box</a> &mdash; this little device makes it easy to stream all of the services listed above onto a TV. I have one, and I love it.</p> <h2>3. Knitting or Crocheting Supplies</h2> <p><img style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holsavegifts-yarn-5272822-small-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I love hobbies that help you make something &mdash; you can save money by making items for yourself or items for others, or even sell the items you make in a side business. This highly-rated <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1591743842/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1591743842&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">how to knit kit</a> includes everything needed to get started with the hobby, and here's a similar <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1570548706/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1570548706&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">kit for crocheting</a>. If you think your giftee will benefit more from a hands-on approach, consider a gift certificate for supplies and classes at a local shop.</p> <h2>4. Specialty Cooking Supplies</h2> <p>We all know that cooking at home saves money, but sometimes you want a certain cuisine that you feel like you &quot;can't&quot; cook.&nbsp;Help bridge the gap by getting specialized equipment, such as a wok (I love my <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007KQZ34/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0007KQZ34&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">Calaphon wok</a> &mdash; it's a pricier investment, but great quality), <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005IYR3QW/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005IYR3QW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">sushi-making kit</a>, or <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009U5OSO/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0009U5OSO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">pasta maker</a>.</p> <h2>5. Specialty Cooking Ingredients</h2> <p>Similar to specialty cooking supplies, some special ingredients can be all a home cook needs to change a normal meal into that sort of special dinner that easily replaces a night on the town. Some of my favorite items include <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000ZE9NM2/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000ZE9NM2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">finishing salts</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007D7OUE0/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B007D7OUE0&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">truffle oil</a>, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007P4X380/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B007P4X380&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">saffron</a>. Or if you want to support your community, look for locally produced items like honey and jams. Locally-produced honey with a piece of honeycomb in it is one of my favorite gifts.</p> <h2>6. Classes</h2> <p>You'll see a theme on this list &mdash; one of the best ways to save money is to learn skills so you can do things for yourself. Whether it's cooking, car care, woodworking, or something else, gift certificates for classes are a great way give the gift of money-saving skills (along with an opportunity for fun and meeting new people).</p> <h2>7. Herb Plants</h2> <p>If you're looking for a gift that keeps on giving, how about one that literally keeps growing? Fresh herbs can be expensive at the grocerystore, but they're oh-so-cheap when you grow them at home. Plus, they help perk up your stoop or kitchen sill. Buy fresh herbs at your local florist or garden center, or buy a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0001WYN6O/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0001WYN6O&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">seedling starter kit</a>.</p> <h2>8. Fitness Supplies</h2> <p>Fitness supplies &mdash; whether a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004W8LG1S/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004W8LG1S&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">bike</a>, <a href="http://ttp://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002WM9HM6/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002WM9HM6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">soccer ball</a>, or <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0032HONJW/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0032HONJW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">free weights</a> for a home gym &mdash; can save money in multiple ways. First of all, they can help save on gym fees. Secondly, improving physical health has all sorts of money-saving benefits, like making you less likely to need medical care. And if you give someone a bike, depending on where they live, they can also save money by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-guide-to-becoming-a-part-time-bicycle-commuter">biking to work</a>.</p> <h2>9. Tools</h2> <p><img style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holsavegifts-home-repair-4354677-small-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Having <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/screwdrivers-to-saws-stocking-your-first-toolbox">basic tools</a> around means having the ability to fix things instead of calling in expensive service-people. Of course, there are certain things &mdash; like electrical work &mdash; that should never be attempted by non-professionals (you might want to include that note in the card if you have any accident-prone friends). Know someone who's starting from scratch? Give them <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000HDHGWU/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000HDHGWU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">a basic kit</a>, or put one together by shopping at estate sales, which can be great places to find quality old tools.</p> <h2>10. A Car Wash and Oil Change</h2> <p>Proactive car care helps extend the life of a car, which means that gift certificates for a car wash and oil change can help save money on repairs down the road.</p> <h2>11. Reusable Bags</h2> <p>Yes, they're good for the environment. But many grocery stores will also knock a few cents off your order if you bring your own bags. Check out these <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00384ABOA/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00384ABOA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">cute reusable bags</a> that fold up super-small. Or take the reusable bag thing even further with these <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00701ROB0/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00701ROB0&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">resuable sandwich and snack bags</a>.</p> <h2>12. Rechargeable Batteries</h2> <p>For all the gadgets that come with their own rechargeable batteries these days, there are many that still don't (I'm looking at you, Wii remote). If you know someone who burns through batteries, a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003VLAEPQ/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B003VLAEPQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">rechargable battery set</a> can save some serious scratch. They even make <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003D7LHK4/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B003D7LHK4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">rechargeable batteries that can be powered by a USB port</a>.</p> <h2>13. Beverage Carbonator</h2> <p>Got a friend who drinks sparkling water or even soda obsessively? A <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001KYT6CS/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001KYT6CS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">SodaStream</a> could be the perfect way to give in to their craving and help 'em save.</p> <h2>14. Computer Backup Service</h2> <p><img style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holsavegifts-laptop-kid-4831631-small-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>It's far from the sexiest of gifts, but getting a subscription to a service like <a href="http://mozy.com/">Mozy</a> or <a href="http://www.sosonlinebackup.com/">SOS</a> now means not having to pay for expensive file-retrieval later, should the worst happen to a hard drive.</p> <h2>15. A Sewing Machine</h2> <p>Like with the knitting supplies, a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000JQM1DE/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000JQM1DE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">sewing machine</a> can save money in so many ways, allowing the giftee to make clothes and items for the home, gifts, and things to sell.</p> <h2>16. Woodworking Supplies</h2> <p>Woodworking supplies are another great hobby tool that, like a sewing machine and knitting supplies, can help save money in a variety of ways.</p> <h2>17. Wine</h2> <p>Giving wine can save money? Yup, if your giftee drinks it instead of going out, that's definitely a money saver (and hey, maybe he'll even invite you to a wine-and-cheese gathering).</p> <h2>18. Programmable Thermostat</h2> <p>Giving the user the ability to automatically lower and raise the heat depending on the time of day, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009GDHYPQ/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B009GDHYPQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">programmable thermostats</a> are a great way to reduce heating costs in the winter.</p> <h2>19. Long Underwear</h2> <p>This gift was a favorite of mine when&nbsp;I still lived in colder climates. Wearing <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;h=3f6437a32a1c23cb9d5046d7127c706f354ae776&amp;keywords=long%20underwear&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;qid=1354930771&amp;rh=n%3A1036592%2Ck%3Along%20underwear&amp;scn=1036592&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">long underwear</a> allows the giftee to keep the heat a little bit lower when at home, and it makes going outside in winter so much more pleasant.</p> <h2>20. Coupons for Services You Can Offer</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-own-coupons-20-great-free-gift-ideas">Coupons for services</a> you can offer are one my favorite things to give. You save yourself money, because you're generally giving your time, not stuff. And you save the giftee money, not having to pay someone else for something like babysitting, yard work, or cooking.</p> <h2>21. Books&nbsp;That Teach Skills &mdash; Especially&nbsp;Personal Finance Skills</h2> <p><img style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holsavegifts-books-751435-small-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Remember where I said that there's a theme here, and that theme is learning skills? Any book that can teach a skill is a great holiday gift. But the ones that might have the biggest money-saving impact are books that can teach financial skills, like&quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0761147489/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0761147489&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">I WIll&nbsp;Teach You to Be Rich</a>,&quot; &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/159555078X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=159555078X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">The Total Money&nbsp;Makeover</a>,&quot; or our book, &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004NSVERS/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004NSVERS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small&nbsp;Budget</a>.&quot;</p> <h2>22. CFL Light Bulbs</h2> <p>Like computer backup service, this isn't the sexiest of gifts. But according to Energy Star, a single <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001AZOV9K/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001AZOV9K&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">compact fluorescent bulb</a> can also save &quot;about $6 a year in electricity costs and can save more than $40 over its lifetime.&quot; Too boring? Give an <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000C6ECF/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0000C6ECF&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">awesome lamp</a> too.</p> <h2>23. A Travel-Friendly Reusable Coffee Mug</h2> <p>If you know someone who makes coffee at home, a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0043M5LRS/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0043M5LRS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">resuable mug</a> will help them carry their caffeine in style. And for those who refuse to stop buying their brew at coffee shops, most coffee shops will at least take a few cents off if you bring your own mug.</p> <h2>24. Personal Pampering Items</h2> <p>Know someone who loves spa treatments? Get them the goods to replicate their favorite pampering at home, such as a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000I6KRIG/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000I6KRIG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">pedicure kit</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003GC4GH2/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B003GC4GH2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">bath salts</a>&nbsp;(no, not the scary kind), or a general <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004EDWMBO/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004EDWMBO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">awesome pampering kit</a>.</p> <h2>25. Lawn Games or Other Outdoor Fun Items</h2> <p>Not only are games like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005MN1Q9E/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005MN1Q9E&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">croquet</a> and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00015QTMM/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00015QTMM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">badminton</a> fun ways to spend time outside in the summer (that can save some serious money if the other plan was to pay for the entire family to go play mini golf), but just before the holidays, you might be able to find some of these out-of-season items on serious clearance.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite money-saving gifts? Share in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-gift-guide-gifts-that-save-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-exercise-videos">The 5 Best Exercise Videos</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ultimate-gift-guide-thoughtful-ideas-for-every-list-and-every-budget">Ultimate Gift Guide: Thoughtful Ideas for Every List and Every Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-gifts-for-5-or-less">25 Great Gifts for $5 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holiday-gifts-for-your-co-workers">20 Gift Ideas for Your Co-Workers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Shopping gift guide gifts holiday shopping product reviews useful gifts Mon, 10 Dec 2012 11:24:31 +0000 Meg Favreau 959635 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Steps to Stress-Free Holiday Gift Giving http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-stress-free-holiday-gift-giving <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-steps-to-stress-free-holiday-gift-giving" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gifts-78718164.jpg" alt="gifts" title="gifts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What do you get when you mix a media-saturated society with easy credit and the biggest holiday of the year? Pure chaos. We talk a good game in this country about simplifying the holidays, returning to a less material-focused celebration, and reducing our holiday-induced stress and consumption habits. But around October of each year the same thing happens &mdash; advertisers ramp up their messaging, expectations slowly grow, the familiar frenzy builds, and before it&rsquo;s all over we&rsquo;re left with empty wallets, full closets, and a nervous twitch that lasts til June. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-that-save-money?ref=seealso">25 Gifts That Save Money</a>)</p> <p>There must be a better way. Maybe this year it&rsquo;s time to draw a line in the sand and embrace a simpler idea of holiday gift-giving. Instead of racing to buy bigger, better, and more, we could reset our expectations, recalibrate our standards, and enjoy what we have more completely. If you&rsquo;re ready to re-script your holiday, here are five steps to saner gift-giving. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spend-almost-nothing-on-gifts-this-year?ref=seealso">10 Gift Ideas That Cost Almost Nothing</a>)</p> <h2>1. Set Limits</h2> <p>Without real or self-imposed limits, it&rsquo;s much easier to fall victim to the pull of advertising and marketing. The lights, the music, the sales, the legions of shoppers spending like a Kardashian &mdash; it&rsquo;s enough to loosen the wallets of even the most frugal among us. Set reasonable quantity and price limits per person, and stick to them.</p> <h2>2. Promote the Idea of Primary and Secondary Gifts</h2> <p>Some kids have an amazing knack for choosing the priciest toys and gadgetry without understanding the six-figure salaries and second mortgages such annual levels of gift-giving would require. Set expectations with kids about price and allow for one primary gift and a few secondary (i.e., lower cost) gifts or stocking-stuffers.</p> <h2>3. Choose a Charity</h2> <p>Few things in life can take the wind out of our consumerist sails like seeing true need. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/giving-to-charity-is-great-but-how-do-you-pick-one">Choose a charity</a> and donate your time and money (or both) throughout the year. It will help make every gift seem precious and inoculate you against the worst of the holiday shopping madness. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-great-gifts-that-keep-on-giving?ref=seealso">31 Gifts That Keep On Giving</a>)</p> <h2>4. Finish Early</h2> <p>To avoid the most stressful holiday logistics, finish shopping early. Pledge to enter a mall in December only if George Clooney is manning a kissing booth or you&rsquo;ve won a sweepstakes and have to pick up your prize in person. Spend your mall-free time organizing, wrapping, or doing something completely off-the-wall (like taking a nap).</p> <h2>5. Do Things Instead of Buying Things</h2> <p>In our hectic lives, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-money-really-can-buy-happiness">time is the most valuable gift we can give</a> and one that, delivered without expectations, can make the biggest impact. Break out the board games, play charades, build a snowman, or take a weekend trip with the whole family. Time together (with the advertisers muted and mall nowhere in sight) can calm frazzled nerves and help busy families reconnect. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-own-coupons-20-great-free-gift-ideas?ref=seealso">20 Great, Free Gift Ideas</a>)</p> <p>Holidays don&rsquo;t have to be the most stressful time of year &mdash; and we don&rsquo;t have to let December be open season on our wallets and our savings accounts. This year, maybe it&rsquo;s time to choose <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-beat-holiday-shopping-stress">simplicity over stress</a>, moderation over excess, and cash over credit. This holiday season there&rsquo;s still time to scale back and take a big step away from the mall&hellip;I mean, unless George Clooney is doing that kissing booth thing.</p> <p><em>Have you scaled back your holiday shopping this year? What strategies do you use to keep holiday gift-giving in-check?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-stress-free-holiday-gift-giving">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-gift-guide-gifts-that-save-money">25 Gifts That Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/early-holiday-shopping-why-i-finish-by-thanksgiving">Early Holiday Shopping: Why I Finish by Thanksgiving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-ready-for-christmas-7-things-you-should-do-today">Get Ready for Christmas: 7 Things You Should Do Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-that-cost-more-in-2016">9 Things That Cost More in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Shopping experience gifts holiday sanity holiday shopping Wed, 28 Nov 2012 11:36:43 +0000 Kentin Waits 957727 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Reasons to Use Your Credit Card for Holiday Purchases http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-use-your-credit-card-for-holiday-purchases <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-reasons-to-use-your-credit-card-for-holiday-purchases" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl_santa_christmas_gifts_iStock_000021835388Small.jpg" alt="Santa girl with Christmas gifts and credit card" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="178" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Credit cards tend to get a bad rap. Many people focus on the interest charged, but forget about the perks and the protections that come with credit card use. When used with savvy and intelligence, a credit card can be a valuable financial tool.</p> <p>As the holiday shopping season ramps up, consider using your credit card to make seasonal purchases. You have the opportunity to earn rewards, and you often receive a number of protections that may not be available with debit cards &mdash; and that certainly aren&rsquo;t available when you pay with cash. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-the-holidays">5 Best Credit Cards for Holiday Purchases</a>)</p> <h2>1. Extended Warranty</h2> <p>Many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-advantage-of-free-extended-warranty-from-your-credit-card-issuer">credit cards offer extended warranties</a> among their perks. The extended warranty applies on top of the manufacturer&rsquo;s warranty. If the item breaks after the standard warranty, but before the credit card&rsquo;s warranty expires, you can still have the item repaired or replaced.</p> <p>Consider electronics, which are popular holiday purchases. Many electronics come with a one-year warranty. Many credit cards will provide an extended warranty that covers an additional six months to one year. Instead of paying for the extended warranty at check out, you get the coverage free when you pay with credit card.</p> <p>Make sure, though, that you understand how to use the warranty. You usually need the receipt (so save it), along with other information. There may also be a time limit for making a claim.</p> <h2>2. Price Protection</h2> <p>Some credit cards, especially the premier cards that charge annual fees, include price protection. If you find a lower price on an item you have already purchased, you can be refunded the difference.</p> <p>This can be very useful when shopping holiday sales and buying gifts for others. However, price protection usually comes with a time restriction. Normally, the lower price has to appear within 30, 60, or 90 days. Check the policy so that you have an idea of the time limit.</p> <p>You will need proof of the lower price. Save your receipts, and be sure that you document the lower-priced item. A sales ad promoting the lower price is one of your best options, or a screenshot or printout of an online price on the item.</p> <h2>3. Returns</h2> <p>Some credit cards will reimburse you if you want to make a return but the store won&rsquo;t allow it. So, for example, if you purchase something, then decide later that you don&rsquo;t want it, your credit card might refund you the purchase price.</p> <p>Before you can use this perk, however, you have to try to return it to the store. If you can&rsquo;t return it, you might receive a refund for the item if you show a copy of your receipt. Often, as long as you apply for the refund within the time limit (usually 30 or 60 days), it doesn&rsquo;t matter why you wanted the return.</p> <p>Most credit cards limit the dollar amounts you can be refunded. There is usually a per-item limit of up to between $200 and $500, and often an annual limit of between $1,000 and $3,000. Check your credit card terms for policy details.</p> <h2>4. Dispute Charges on Damaged Online Purchases</h2> <p>I do a lot of my holiday shopping online. Using a credit card provides peace of mind, since I know that if an item is damaged in transit, or if it never arrives, I can dispute the charge. If you are doing a lot of your shopping online, consider using a credit card to pay.</p> <p>The <a href="http://ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre16.shtm">Fair Credit Billing Act</a> provides this protection to consumers when a purchase arrives damaged &mdash; or just isn&rsquo;t delivered. You can dispute the charge fairly easily, and prevent the retailer from being paid.</p> <p>Realize that the item has to cost at least $50. The law requires that the seller be within 100 miles of your home address, so this can apply to items purchased at local retailers and have delivered to your home (as in the case of a large appliance or piece of furniture). Many credit cards will still let you easily dispute charges even on items shipped from other parts of the country.</p> <p>However, you do have to try to resolve issues with the seller before turning to your credit card issuer for resolution.</p> <h2>5. Fraudulent Purchases Don&rsquo;t Come Out of Your Funds</h2> <p>If <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-do-immediately-after-losing-your-wallet">someone steals your card information</a> and makes fraudulent purchases, you are often better off if you have paid with a credit card rather than a debit card.</p> <p>Some debit cards also feature $0 fraud liability, but often with restrictions, such as requiring you to point out out fraudulent charges within two days, rather than the 60 you have with credit card purchases. Additionally, a PIN entered at the time of purchase may negate your claim to receive the same level of protection. If someone has stolen your card and knows your PIN, you could liable for some of those fraudulent purchases.</p> <p>And even if your debit card provides all of the protections of a credit card, the fact remains that the money disappears from your account almost instantly. You don&rsquo;t get the money back until after the issuer is satisfied that the case truly involves fraud. During that time, you won&rsquo;t have access to those funds.</p> <p>When your credit card is stolen and used fraudulently, the money used isn&rsquo;t actually yours &mdash; it&rsquo;s the bank&rsquo;s money. <i>Your</i> money is still sitting in your checking account, safe and sound. You can dispute the charges and have them removed from your credit statement without ever putting your money at risk.</p> <h2>Smart Credit Card Use</h2> <p>Use your credit card for holiday shopping, but make sure that what you spend fits into your budget. You want to earn the rewards and gain the protections, but you don&rsquo;t want to pay interest. Pay off the balance immediately, and you will receive the benefits without having to pay the costs.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/miranda-marquit">Miranda Marquit</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-use-your-credit-card-for-holiday-purchases">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-ways-to-save-money-but-still-get-what-you-want-during-holiday-shopping">25+ Easy Ways to Save Money But Still Get What You Want During Holiday Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-tips-for-smart-and-safe-credit-card-use-during-the-holidays">25 Tips for Smart (and Safe) Credit Card Use During the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-5-cash-back-on-holiday-purchases">How to Get 5% Cash Back on Holiday Purchases</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/read-this-to-maximize-your-rewards-and-cash-back-this-holiday-season">Read This to Maximize Your Rewards and Cash Back This Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-worst-holiday-credit-cards">The Worst Holiday Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards holiday shopping Wed, 28 Nov 2012 11:00:43 +0000 Miranda Marquit 955537 at http://www.wisebread.com Cheap and Easy Holiday Shopping at the Dollar Store http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-and-easy-holiday-shopping-at-the-dollar-store <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cheap-and-easy-holiday-shopping-at-the-dollar-store" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2133450223_c3104fd885_z.jpg" alt="dollar store" title="dollar store" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What makes the dollar store great is the ease in which you can locate and buy inexpensive stuff. There are no unusual merchandising layouts or complicated pricing schemes, and checkout lines generally move quickly. These stores also often have charming and cheap gifts and accessories for the holidays. Stop by to see what you can find for the following uses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-holiday-debt-starting-now">How to Avoid Holiday Debt Starting Now</a>)</p> <h2>Entertaining</h2> <p>If you are hosting a dinner or party, combine simple items and transform them into elegant displays.</p> <p>For the dining room table, mix seasonal items with everyday ones. For example, <a href="http://blog.styleestate.com/christmas-decorating/2011/12/7/stylish-elegant-christmas-centerpiece-ideas.html">create a stylish centerpiece</a> by placing ornaments in a large glass container, or <a href="http://balancedlivinginc.blogspot.com/2010/12/feng-shui-your-holidays-holiday-dinner.html">install individual ornaments on a collection of candlesticks</a> or inverted wineglasses. You can grab all of these (ornaments, candlesticks, glasses) at the dollar store or mix and match holiday items with glassware from your kitchen cabinets.</p> <p>Dress up place settings by using small frames to hold name cards and adding seasonal figurines or holiday candles at the top of each plate. For more casual gatherings, get colorful paper plates, cups, table coverings, and streamers. These stores usually carry an assortment of frames of varied sizes plus party gear and candles.</p> <h2>Gift Giving</h2> <p>Stocking stuffers and small gifts for members of your extended family, coworkers, Secret Santa buddies, etc. that are appealing &mdash; if you are going for holiday-themed gifts &mdash; include Nativity scenes and those aforementioned ornaments and wintery figurines (I noticed adorable blue snowmen this year).</p> <p>You can uncover some clever items like LED flashlights and reading lights. There are also <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-do-with-reusable-water-bottles">water bottles</a> including aluminum versions in bright red and deep green. Take a quick walk through the aisles to find small, useful gifts.</p> <p>For children, I bypass most of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/in-search-of-safety-a-moms-8-step-guide-to-toy-selection-and-everyday-use">toys</a> to select picture books and stickers that are typically big hits with preschoolers and younger elementary school kids. They may also like the coloring books, crossword puzzle and Sudoku books, and jigsaw puzzles. The children's and book sections contain some great buys if you take a few moments to check out the selections.</p> <h2>Gift Packaging</h2> <p>You can buy supplies to package presents inexpensively, even though the gift wrap itself often seems unsubstantial.</p> <p>To save time without spending too much money, my top choice is a gift bag. The large, oversized ones are suitable for bulky items (like big Lego building sets). Tall, slender bags look perfect for a bottle of wine. Plus, these are typically strong enough to be reused for many holidays.</p> <p>To create personalized, decorative, and functional wrapping, start with mailing paper found in the shipping supplies area. Use craft supplies like stickers, markers, and construction paper to decorate or <a href="http://www.hgtv.com/handmade/25-creative-gift-wrap-ideas/pictures/index.html?i=1">assemble found items around the house or yard</a> for a sleek, custom look. For a few more clever ideas, check out these <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/bestow-4-simple-wrapping-ideas-77362">gift wrap suggestions from Apartment Therapy</a>.</p> <p>The boxes are a good buy compared to alternatives at most discount stores, even though you may need to reinforce corners with tape. You can also find tissue paper for protecting gifts and sprucing up the presentation along with bows and ribbons for finishing touches.</p> <h2>Holiday Decor</h2> <p>Finally, gather a few items to create simple yet sophisticated accessories suitable for the holidays.</p> <p>Glass bowls filled with ornaments can be placed not only on the dining room table for entertaining but also on side tables for your own pleasure. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vmiramontes/3167209745/">Large ornaments can be hung from the chandelier</a> or <a href="http://www.aprettylifeinthesuburbs.com/2010/11/operation-christmas-front-step.html">nestled in baskets with greenery on the porch</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>Embellish vases and candlesticks with decorative stones (aka accent gems), tea light candles, and/or floral items. Display holiday photos, wrapping paper, or cards in frames that can be tucked away after the holidays and brought out each year.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite holiday finds at the dollar store? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-and-easy-holiday-shopping-at-the-dollar-store">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheat-sheet-retail-markup-on-common-items">Cheat Sheet: Retail Markup on Common Items</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-gift-guide-gifts-that-save-money">25 Gifts That Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-rules-for-planning-your-most-affordable-christmas-ever">5 Rules for Planning Your Most Affordable Christmas Ever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-art-of-the-group-gift">The Art of the Group Gift</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-ways-to-save-money-but-still-get-what-you-want-during-holiday-shopping">25+ Easy Ways to Save Money But Still Get What You Want During Holiday Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping cheap decorating ideas holiday shopping inexpensive gifts Wed, 21 Nov 2012 11:36:33 +0000 Julie Rains 955417 at http://www.wisebread.com