6 On Your Side Answers: Saving money on Christmas shopping

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The average person is expected to spend more than $700 on holiday shopping this season.

However, buying gifts for family and friends doesn’t have to leave you with a spending hangover.

Here are some tips and tools that can help you save money on any gift:

There’s an app for that

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get an alert when an item you want drops in price so you can jump on the deal? Well, now you can with Google Shopping.

Google Shopping recently introduced a new tool that will do just that. Let’s say you are looking for a pair of winter gloves.

  • Go to Google and type in “winter gloves.” Then, when the search results come up, click on the “Shopping” tab.
  • If you find a specific pair of gloves — click the item. The option to “Track Price” will appear.
  • Simply turn it on to be notified on your phone when the price drops.

Also, if you shop on Amazon, check out CamelCamelCamel.com, which is an Amazon-specific price tracker that emails you when an item on your Watch List drops to the price you want to pay.

Do your research

Before you jump on a great sale, consider that the item may not be the bargain it seems. Even if it’s marked at 50% off, the regular price may be inflated.

Before shelling out your hard-earned cash, research prices online to see how much an item is selling for at other retailers. Some stores have been known to increase their “retail” prices to make you think you’re getting a bargain.

Credit card rewards

Rewards credit cards are popular and can save you money. A rewards credit won’t save you a lot but every little bit adds up.

  • Let’s say you spend $1,000 on gifts. If you use a rewards credit card that earns 2% cash back, you will get a free $20 without having to do anything.
  • If you already have cash-back points accumulated, you may be able to use them to buy gifts.

Know the store’s return policy

Before buying a gift, check the store’s return policy.

Many retailers change their return policies for the holiday season, so make sure the gift recipient will get the gift in time to return or exchange it if they don’t like it.

Return windows of 30 or 90 days are typical. A few retailers give you a more generous 180-day window.

Watch for shipping costs when shopping online

Holiday shopping in your pajamas is convenient but can come with a downside — the cost of shipping.

However, around the holidays, many online retailers lower the minimum purchase threshold required to get free shipping.

A few retailers drop their minimum purchase thresholds altogether, offering free shipping on all purchases this time of year.

Some brick-and-mortar stores often offer the option to buy an item online and then pick it up at a store to avoid shipping costs.

MORE | For more tips and other consumer questions, click here.

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