Hanukkah and Christmas are both just about a week away, yet, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), 61% of shoppers won’t be finished with their gift-buying until the week leading up to Dec. 25. For those keeping track, that’s this week! If you still have shopping to do, take a deep breath—you’re in the majority! We’ve got you covered with five ways to save money through the finish line.
Hold out for free shipping. Free Shipping has become more and more common during busy shopping seasons, and we’re in the midst of the busiest season of the year! On this topic, RetailMeNot shopping and trends expert Sara Skirboll says, “Many brands offer it and consumers expect it.” Retailers with thresholds — the amount of money a shopper must spend per order to earn free shipping — lower them at this time of year.
But what good is free shipping if it doesn’t arrive in time for the celebrations? It’s important to take note of retailers’ deadlines for guaranteed shipping by December 25. This comprehensive chart lists major retailers’ cut-off dates to ensure delivery by Christmas Day (scroll down to the section titled “Order-by Dates for Christmas Delivery”). Even more helpful, it’s broken out to show the deadlines and conditions for standard versus expedited shipping, and also presents the fastest option, per retailer.
Ship Smart: Opting to order online and pick up in-store can save you the hassle and expense of spending extra money on expedited shipping, not to mention navigating store traffic and checkout lines.
Pay attention to register coupons. If you shop at CVS, you’re probably familiar with their famously long paper receipts; in fact, they’ve inspired many parodies, memes and general chatter. As cumbersome as they may be, they usually contain at least one coupon you can use. That’s an extreme example, but store receipts often contain valuable offers you can apply toward future purchases. At the very least, it’s worth a quick glance before you toss it out!
Look for coupons and promo codes. In addition to coupon savings,scan your mail, email, local newspapers and circulars for coupons and deals. There are also websites like Coupons.com and RetailMeNot that aggregate coupons and other promotions from stores everywhere, as well as online marketplaces like Groupon and LivingSocial that connect subscribers (for free) with local merchants offering discounted activities, travel, goods and services.
Save safely: There are plenty of resources offering coupon codes and promotions that do not require you to provide your email address or any other personal information. Most of the offers you’ll find are relatively modest, such as 10-15% off, free shipping, etc. If you see an offer that seems to good to be true — say 75% off — on a site that’s requesting personal information, and you’re not seeing that offer anywhere else, that’s a red flag. And if you receive a coupon via email, here’s an easy trick: if you hover your mouse over the link (but don’t click), the URL will appear right near the cursor. If the address is a jumble of numbers, letters or symbols, don’t click! There should be an “s” after “http” in the URL to indicate it’s a secure site. You can also click on the padlock icon to the left of the address bar to view the site information, which will tell you whether it’s secure.
Give the gift of service. There’s no rule stating that you must spend money on every gift you give.Some people actually preferreceivinggifts that would be considered acts of service. For example, babysitting, house cleaning, shoveling, raking, washing the car, running errands, or doing all the dishes after a big holiday meal. Also consider your own skillsets that you can turn into gifts. Do you dabble in photography? Gift your loved one a photo shoot. Are you a great cook? Treat them to their ultimate homecooked meal or even a cooking lesson. Think about things that would add value to that person’s life or make their day a little bit easier.
Shop local. Since you’re spending money anyway, why not invest it in your community? When you patronize a Bergen County business, you’re helping to sustain the local economy while supporting a local resident or family, not a faceless entity halfway across the county. You can also find excellent deals and competitive pricing, most likely with a better level of customer service than you might find at a big box retail store or online!
Happy savings and happy holidays from your friends at NVE Bank!
NVE Bank supports our customers and communities with products, services, programs and events designed to help them learn, thrive, and achieve their goals. To learn about our extensive range of personal and business products and services, visit our website. You can also call us at 1-866-NVE BANK (683-2265) or visit us at one of our 11 branches conveniently located throughout Bergen County.