5 Ways to Save on Your Christmas Shopping

This post 5 Ways to Save on Your Christmas Shopping appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Dear Rich Lifer,

With two of the biggest shopping days of the year behind us, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it might seem like there are no more deals to be had.

However, malls and retailers know this is just the beginning of the holiday shopping season.

According to Sensormatic Solutions, 8 out of the 10 busiest days for in-store foot traffic this year will take place in December:

  1. Black Friday, November 29
  2. December 21, the last Saturday before Christmas
  3. December 26, the day after Christmas
  4. December 14, two Saturdays before Christmas
  5. November 30, the Saturday after Black Friday
  6. December 22, the last Sunday before Christmas
  7. December 23, the Monday before Christmas
  8. December 28, the Saturday after Christmas
  9. December 27, the Friday after Christmas
  10. December 7, the first Saturday in December

Sensormatic based this list on stats collected from previous years showing peak in-store traffic periods.

Although mall and in-store foot traffic is declining overall in America, this is expected to be a big year for holiday spending.

The annual Deloitte holiday survey predicts spending will grow by 4.5% to 5%, and top $1.1trillion.

But with in-store shopping shifting to online, it’s more important than ever to know how to score the best deals wherever you shop.

To help you out, I compiled a short list of some of my favorite online and in-store shopping apps. I’ve mentioned a few of these before, in various issues, but with the Holidays rapidly approaching, I want you to have the best ones all in one place.

These are a mix of internet browser extensions (aka plug-ins or add-ons) and apps for your smartphone or tablet.

If you’ve never heard of browser extensions before, don’t worry. They’re easy to use. You simply go to the listed website, click “install” on the add-on, and it will automatically be added in your internet browser.

The next time you’re shopping online, the extension will pop up and work its magic. The best part is all these apps and extensions are free, and can save you a bundle.

Here are my top five shopping apps to save you money this holiday season:

Honey

Gone are the days of clipping coupons. The Honey browser extension literally automates couponing for you.

Once you add the Honey extension to your internet browser, whenever you check out at any online retailer, say Amazon.com or Walmart.com, Honey will scour the internet for digital coupons and automatically apply them to your order.

With the click of a button you can save yourself the hassle of searching coupon sites and having to type in confusing coupon codes. Honey also will send you alerts for price drops.

It can provide you with price histories on items in your digital shopping cart and tell you whether to buy now, or hold out for a better deal later.

Fakespot

The Wall Street Journal recently published a story exposing fake online reviews.

According to the story, more than one third of online reviews on major websites, including those on Amazon.com, Walmart, and Sephora, are fake, meaning they are generated by robots or people paid to write them.

If you’re worried about buying something with an overhyped review, Fakespot.com’s browser extension will help.

Fakespot flags both reviews and products it suspects are bogus and grades product reviews to help you avoid being duped by fake 4- and 5-star reviews.

The app also summarizes the most helpful reviews, which can save you a ton of time if you’ve waited until the last minute to get your Christmas shopping done.

PriceBlink

If you like to price shop online, then you’ll love PriceBlink. Instead of opening up multiple browser tabs with different retailers, you install PriceBlink and visit one major retail website.

For example, say you shop at Amazon.com, a yellow bar will pop up from PriceBlink, you click on “Compare Prices” and you’ll get a list of prices for that same item at other stores.

The browser extension checks prices at 11,000 stores. Because there’s no PriceBlink mobile app, if you want to quickly price shop in-store, you can use the app ShopSavvy. Or, use the Amazon and eBay apps.

When you tap the camera icon in any one of these apps then point your phone at an item’s barcode, the app will find competing prices.

Rakuten

Formerly known as eBates, Rakuten is an app and browser extension that allows you to earn cash back on your purchases.

How it works: once installed, you shop as you normally would online and you’ll earn cash back on qualifying purchases at more than 3,500 stores.

Once you’ve collected at least $5 in rewards, Rakuten will send you a check in the mail. You’ll receive a check quarterly with whatever cashback rewards you’ve earned.

If you choose to take your earnings as a gift card instead, you can earn more rewards faster. You can also link your credit card to the smartphone app and score cash back on certain in-store purchases, plus 5 percent cash back on meals at more than 10,000 participating restaurants.

RetailMeNot

Next time you head out shopping, add the RetailMeNot app to your phone. The app supports a wide selection of stores and food chains. The app supplies barcodes to be scanned at the register with your order.

Simply search for the retail store you’re shopping at and see if there are any coupons or sales. Similar to Rakuten, you can earn cash-back offers both in-store and online.

It doesn’t matter if it’s Black Friday or the last Saturday before Christmas, with these five apps and extensions installed, you can score the best deal no matter what time of year.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

Nilus Mattive

The post 5 Ways to Save on Your Christmas Shopping appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Put Away Your Scissors, the Future is NOW

This post Put Away Your Scissors, the Future is NOW appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Dear Rich Lifer,

Sales, in-store financing, and even frequent customer discount programs are nothing new. Since the first proprietor hung the first shingle on the first store, there have been sellers looking for ways to entice people to purchase more from them.

What is new, is the host of savings and cash-back apps available on your laptop or smartphone.

With just a few clicks or taps, you can get the lowest prices, save money, and even build up a stash of cash back on all your purchases.

I’ve compiled a list of the best apps for you. Some are smartphone apps and others are plug-ins for your internet browser. They’re all user friendly, and they all promise one thing: more money in your pocket.

Ibotta
Ibotta is an app for your phone that allows users to redeem coupons, earn cash back, and participate in rewards programs. It even lets you stack offers to get the biggest savings.

You can also earn cash rewards for every user you refer. This app is free, and its very user friendly. All you have to do after you make a purchase is to scan your receipt and let Ibotta do the work.

Dosh
Dosh is also a smartphone app, and it may be even easier to use than Ibotta. With this app, once you’re set up, you earn cash back at participating retailers. Best of all, you don’t even have to lift a finger – the cash back is automatic!

This works both online and in person, and you can earn cash back on travel, too. Like many of the others on this list, Dosh has a referral program, so if you like it, be sure to share it with family and friends.

Honey
Honey is an extension you install on your favorite browser (like Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari). With this extension, you’ll be able to use automatic coupons (Honey finds them for you) and search Amazon price histories so you’ll be sure you’re getting the best possible price.

This app works on thousands of different shopping sites, so you can get discounts everywhere from Nike to Nordstrom.

Groupon
Groupon is one of the older companies on this list. This site and companion app are aimed at getting you specific deals from businesses in your area. From restaurant deals to coupons for skydiving, you never know what bargain will pop up next.

If you keep your eyes peeled, you can get some pretty cool things at insanely low prices with Groupon.

ShopKick
ShopKick is a free smartphone app that lets you earn points (called Kicks) that you can exchange for gift cards. Compared to some of the others on this list, ShopKick is the granddaddy of money saving apps as it was founded in 2009.

Since their inception, ShopKick members have earned a combined $85 million in free gift cards! All you have to do to start racking up gift cards is to download the app store and follow the registration instructions. From there, you’ll get instructions on how to start earning your Kicks.

Coupons.com
Remember clipping coupons from the Sunday paper? The Coupons.com app makes that practice a thing of the past.

When you download it, you can access hundreds of coupons for your favorite products and grocery stores, and even your favorite big box stores like Target and Walmart, too! If you like to save on groceries, you can put the paper away and use this app instead.

Swagbucks
Swagbucks is a little different than the other apps on this list. Instead of giving you cash back for shopping at certain stores, you get rewards (aka Swagbucks) for other online activities like watching videos, answering surveys, and even playing games.

You can then exchange those Swagbucks for gift cards. Swagbucks is available for both computer and smartphone use, it can be a fun way to earn a little extra money in your spare time.

Paribus
You know that terrible feeling you get when you buy something… and then it goes on sale the next week? Paribus aims to make sure you never get that feeling again.

This free smartphone app monitors your online receipts for stores like Target, Walmart, and Costco, and then if your item goes on sale, Paribus gets you a refund for that difference back to your original payment method. It’s so simple – you don’t even have to do a thing and money appears back in your account just like that.

Rakuten
Formerly known as Ebates, Rakuten is a browser extension for your computer (like Honey). When you install Rakuten, you can get cashback from your purchases at hundreds of online stores. They also compile coupon codes, too, so you can get even deeper discounts with just a few clicks.

Rakuten has one of the best referral programs around, and they also frequently offer double cash back days, especially around big shopping days (like Black Friday and Cyber Monday). Rakuten recently rolled out a smartphone app, too, so you can earn money back in store and online now.

There you have it! Nine fantastic apps and extensions to help you save, and even earn money with minimal effort.

As with anything on the internet, look into the apps that sound the best to you, and make sure they’re right for your situation.

Do a little research, download the ones that sound good to you, and start cashing in! There is no reason not to give it a shot. You may be surprised to find out how much you could be saving.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

Nilus Mattive

The post Put Away Your Scissors, the Future is NOW appeared first on Daily Reckoning.