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7 Ways to Stretch Your Holiday Dollars during Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Personal Finance

With the rush to grab shoppers with new sites and apps, it’s easier than ever to save money during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Girl holding shopping bags

But there is a downside. It’s often hard to think logically when faced with the overwhelming excitement of getting a bargain.

Remember, it’s not a bargain if you have to go into debt to buy it. Tweet this

To help you get through the shopping season, follow these tips to stretch your holiday dollars:

Be a Downloader

Getting prepared before you hit the stores is imperative. Download savings apps and bookmark websites that’ll help you determine what stores have the best deals.

Pricegrabber is an app that allows you to find product information, compare prices and get merchant ratings. Searched results can be sorted by price, rating or popularity.

Or, download Smoopa, a comparison app that lets you join forces with other shoppers to scout the best prices on your favorite products.

Don’t forget to download your favorite store apps or subscribe to their e-mail lists to stay informed of daily discounts and freebies.

Plus, RetailMeNot is the best place to find coupon codes both online and in stores.

Be a Master Planner

If you’re the ultimate deal-seeker, you likely debate whether you’ll save the most on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

But, if you go to the premier Cyber Monday or Black Friday sites, you can see the deals and comparison shop.

While you’re out on Black Friday, access the Cyber Monday site to see if you can get a better deal by waiting.

Be a Master Decorator

Wrap each gift as you get it. And don’t forget to mark who it’s for.

You may want to keep a master list of gifts, annotating the contents as you buy and wrap them. Awesome Notes is an app that organizes and combines your notes with your “to do” list.

That way you won’t duplicate gifts or overbuy for any one person.

Be Diligent about Documenting

Almost everyone has purchased wrapping paper during the holidays, only to discover a month later that they had tons of it from the end-of-season clearance sale last year.

Or, how many of you have found a great deal on gifts for teachers, and then realized you bought gifts earlier in the year but forgot where you put them?

This year, avoid forgetting or misplacing items. Write down your purchases and where you stashed them. Tape it to next year’s December calendar page or set a reminder on your phone for December 1. Do anything you can to help yourself remember!

Be Decisive with Deal “Brokers”

Groupon and Living Social are great when it comes to snagging group buying deals. But what do you do with deals you want to unload?

Some group buying sites, such as Groupon.com, will give refunds. However, not all are so generous.

After all, you don’t want to go broke saving money. Here are some options:

  • BestTravelDeals– If you want to sell a travel deal that you can’t take advantage of, go to this site. It’s designed to help you cash in on your unused travel deals.
  • SmartySaver – This is a daily deal aggregator site that offers a separate page for consumers who want to buy or sell their daily deals.
  • CoupRecoup – This is like Craigslist for Groupon. Although this is the biggest site on the Internet for deal resellers, it does not offer guarantees. So it’s a “what you see is what you get” type offer.

Be Green

With some forethought and strategy, your gifts could keep on giving throughout the entire year if you place an emphasis on keeping the season green.

For example, rechargeable gift cards are a great idea to save a tree or two as packaging is minimized.

They can also help a cash-strapped family buy the essentials.

Consider giving e-cards instead of traditional cards to save money, stamps, time and trees.

When selecting certain presents, try giving appliances that have an energy star rating or are eco-friendly.

That not only saves our natural resources and energy, but it also saves the recipient money in the long-run.

Along these same lines, help families and friends continue to save money by putting together a “green bag”. Fill the bag with CFL light bulbs and other eco-friendly items. And don’t forget to use a reusable tote bag!

Other gifts that keep it green are ones that reach out to the global community. Find local groups or organizations that are devoted to keeping your community sustainable.

One year, my brother-in-law made a donation to a non-profit organization in our name. That group was responsible for digging fresh water wells in third world countries.

At Operation Gratitude.com, you can find an organization that gives care packages to the troops throughout the year.

You can also recycle unused toiletries from hotel stays or buy eco-friendly versions of the items needed for these packages. Assembling the bags as a family could be your new holiday tradition!

Nothing beats learning how to be green.

Be Kind

Sometimes the gift of time is the greatest gift of all during the holidays. Tweet this

There are a number of ways you can brighten the holidays of those around you and share the festive season.

For instance, invite a neighbor, foreign exchange student or the family of a deployed military member over for holiday dinner.

These can be the hardest times of the year for people who are separated from loved ones. Opening your home can be one of the best gifts you give all season.

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