The holidays are a time for giving, celebrating and for many of us- spending. If you’re one of the millions who will be shopping this season or traveling, and looking to save some money along the way, you’ve come to the right place! Renowned financial journalist Vera Gibbons joined me recently to discuss how we can save when making purchases over the holidays, how to get the best deals when traveling, and much more!
Candace Rose: The holidays are “the most wonderful time of the year”, but they also tend to be when we spend the most money. What advice do you have for holiday shoppers?
Vera Gibbons: “It is a wonderful time of the year. Right out of the gates I would say to make sure it stays wonderful, do your comparison shopping to keep your costs in line. There are apps that can help you with this-Fat Wallet, Google Shopper, Price Grabber, for example. You want to make sure that the deals that are out there are actually good deals because there are so many of them out there.”
Candace Rose: Many of us travel during the holiday season. How do we get the best deals if we haven’t booked anything yet?
Vera Gibbons: “Well, there are some great travel promotions going on now. “Winter Break. Free Night To Take” for example offered by Holiday Inn resort if you stay two consecutive nights at any of their resorts properties, whether Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina for example or anywhere in the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean you get a third night to use at a later date for free. This is an offer that is starting Black Friday and running through the end of February 28, 2013. These are the kind of promotions and deals that are out there and this is a good one.”
Candace Rose: Is there anything else we can do to save money this holiday season?
Vera Gibbons: “Yes. Well, gifts eat up a big portion of your budget, and we are going to spend about $750 on gifts and decor combined, so you want to make sure you’ve dwindled down your list to only your must have buys. And in addition to doing the comparison shopping, hit the web- look for coupon codes, look for discounts. That type of stuff is out there and RetailMeNot has some great coupon codes. I would definitely check there,
You might also want to take advantage of some of the programs that are offered by retailers such as the layaway programs, the price match guarantees, and then beyond that you want to budget all of your holiday costs. People sort of fixate on the gifts, but there are transportation costs- there’s gas there’s tolls, there’s babysitting. Your water bill may go up, your utility bill may go up because you’ve got guests coming in and out, so you have to plan accordingly. And have a budget and stick to it ideally.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Vera Gibbons: “The main thing is have a budget and just stick to it. I feel like a lot of shoppers go into the holiday season without a game plan altogether. You have to have a game plan. Just like you have to have a game plan on Black Friday when 225 million shoppers are out there, you have to have a game plan in general over the holidays. Without a game plan, you could end up with the holiday hangover.”