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The Sandy Spring Way

Money Saving Tips for Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers

December 17th, 2012 | By Sandy Spring Bank

Did you miss out on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday deals? The holidays are already upon us, and some of us still have a lot of gift buying left on the to-do list. But don’t stress – last-minute shopping doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are five tips to get through the rest of the holiday season without breaking the bank.

#1) Free Shipping Day: Free Shipping Day this year is December 17th, 2012. On free shipping day, over 1,300 online merchants will offer free shipping with guaranteed delivery by December 24th. If you still have some online shopping to do, check out freeshippingday.com for a list of participating merchants.

#2) Outlets: Shopping at outlets instead of at a mall can reduce holiday shopping costs by 29% and you can save up to 85% on separate items, according to a 2011 study by Cheapism.com. Not only will you save money, but you also have access to many designer brands at outlets.

#3) Pay with Debit Card: Use debit cards to avoid costly credit card interest rates. When you use your debit card, the money comes right out of the account so you do not have to pay any interest.

#4) Coupons: Check for coupons in magazines you receive in the mail or type “promo code” or “coupon” after typing the name of an item in a search engine to find special deals. Also, don’t overlook emails you receive from your favorite retailers with information on promotions, and always ask stores you frequent if you are eligible for coupons (some stores will keep your coupons in the system).

#5) Compare Prices: Conduct research when shopping online or before heading to the stores. Check online for the best deals on price comparison websites such as PriceGrabber or shopLocal. Or use apps to find the best price on gifts, such as BuyVia for tech gifts (available on iOS devices), Red Laser, ShopSavvy and Milo. Some apps such as BuyVia, Decide, ShopSavvy, PriceGrabber and Smoopa have a barcode scanner so you can check for better deals on what you want to buy.

The holidays can be a lot of fun but they can also get pricey. Don’t get knocked out by debt when you’re shopping at the last minute. You’ll welcome the New Year with a lot less stress if you keep down costs this holiday season.