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Shopping this holiday season is more expensive: Here's how to save money on gifts

Due to inflation, consumers can expect to spend more on holiday shopping. Select shares tips on how to save.

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Images By Tang Ming Tung | Digitalvision | Getty Images

Due to predictions of a recession in the upcoming months and stubbornly high inflation, holiday shopping might look a little different this year. Consumers have started to shop earlier and the majority are expecting higher prices.

Shoppers' expectations about higher prices are justified: By analyzing prices across 100 million products in online stores between 2021 and 2022, a new report from PayPal's Honey found that consumers will face higher costs in common gift categories this year. Prices of electronics and toys are up 11%, and jewelry is up a whopping 31%.

Below, Select looks at what consumers can do this holiday season to find deals and save money on gifts for loved ones and family members, whether that's by using price match or signing up for a coupon service.

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Scouring deals

Even though prices on many gifts may be higher this year, retailers stuck with excess inventory from 2021 are launching sales in order to offload their surplus of items. This means that consumers looking to save money can do so by starting to shop early during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales and by keeping an eye on deals as the holidays get closer.

As for Black Friday, Select is highlighting some of the best deals you'll find at retailers, whether it's a general round-up or for your favorite merchants like Target or Best Buy.

Take advantage of price matching

This holiday season, some retailers are offering price matches for a limited time. With price matching, retailers offer to match prices on identical items found at other retailers. 

Between October 6 and December 24, Target will price match goods purchased online or in-store. In order to receive the price match, you'll need to provide proof of a lower price by showing the original ad or the retailer's website.

Walmart also has a price matching policy that's offered all-year around. This is applicable to items purchased online or in-store.

Use coupons and shopping portals

While receiving coupons in the mail may seem antiquated, consumers can still easily get access to promotions, discounts and coupons online. With services like Ibotta, Honey and Capital One Shopping, you simply have to download a browser extension in order to start saving money on your purchases.

Honey is known for automatically providing consumers with promo codes and discounts at retailers across the internet. You just have to download the browser extension and when you're about to checkout on a retailer's website, Honey will scan for and apply any applicable discount codes. It also has a feature known as 'droplist' which consumers can use to set up price alerts on items at select retailers.

Ibotta may be a good choice if you're interested in earning cash-back on everyday purchases, like groceries, too. Ibotta can be used to earn cash-back at select online and in-store retailers and can be linked to select loyalty programs. And once you earn $20 in cash back, you can redeem it as a direct deposit into your bank account, through PayPal or for gift cards.

Ibotta

On Ibotta's secure site
  • Cost

    Free

  • Cash back

    Yes

  • Coupon codes

    Yes

  • Price comparison

    Yes

  • Mobile app

    Yes

  • Works with in-store purchases

    Yes

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn $15 after you spend $50 shopping with Ibotta.

  • How to redeem your savings

    Redeem cash back once you reach $20 as a deposit into your bank account, PayPal account or for gift cards.

Terms apply.

Pros

  • New users can earn a $50 welcome bonus
  • Offers at over 300 participating retailers
  • You can activate savings, then shop and save on in-store purchases

Cons

  • You can only redeem cash back after you reach $20

Capital One Shopping is another shopping browser extension which offers features like coupon codes scanning, price comparison and rewards. It's available as both an app and a web browser extension, and you don't need to be a Capital One account holder to sign-up. Like Honey, Capital One will scan your shopping cart at an online retailer to determine if there any applicable coupon codes. It also has a price comparison feature, so you can see how the price of goods stacks up at different retailers. Plus, you may earn rewards through Capital One Shopping which you can redeem for gift cards at a variety of retailers.

Capital One Shopping

  • Cost

    Free

  • How to save

    Earn Capital One Shopping Rewards on eligible purchases, automatic coupons and price comparisons.

  • How to use it

    Download the Capital One Shopping app or install the browser extension.

  • How to receive your savings

    Capital One Shopping Rewards can be used to purchase gift cards.

Terms apply.

Use the right credit card

No matter where you're shopping this holiday season, you'll want to have a credit card that earns you travel rewards or cash back for your spending. To earn even more rewards, consider using a card that earns bonus rewards at your preferred retailer or sign up for a new card that has a sizeable welcome bonus.

The Citi Premier® Card currently has an 60,000-point welcome bonus which you'll earn after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. That welcome bonus is worth $600 in cash-back or gift cards and potentially much more if you transfer your points to one of Citi's travel partners. Plus, for a limited time, earn a total of 10 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024.

Citi Premier® Card

On Citi's secure site
  • Rewards

    3X points per $1 spent at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, and on hotels and air travel, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, for a limited time, earn a total of 10 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024.

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    21.24% - 29.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5% of each balance transfer, $5 minimum

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

  • See rates and fees. Terms apply.

 

If you're an avid shopper at Amazon and already have a Prime membership, you may consider getting the Prime Visa. Cardholders earn unlimited 5% back at Amazon.com, Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market and on Chase Travel purchases with an eligible Prime membership. Plus, the current welcome bonus is a $100 Amazon Gift Card (or more) instantly upon approval exclusively for Prime members.

Prime Visa

  • Rewards

    Earn unlimited 5% back at Amazon.com, Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market and on Chase Travel purchases with an eligible Prime membership, unlimited 2% back at gas stations, restaurants, and on local transit and commuting (including rideshare), 10% back or more on a rotating selection of products and categories at Amazon.com, unlimited 1% back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Get a $100 Amazon Gift Card (or more) instantly upon approval exclusively for Prime members

  • Annual fee

    $0 (but Prime membership is required)

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    19.49% - 27.49% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 4% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

Terms apply.

 

If you're an Amex cardholder, you may also be eligible for additional discounts on Amazon. By redeeming just one American Express® Membership Rewards point, you can get up to 40% off (up to $40) your Amazon purchase. In order to be eligible, you'll need to connect your Amex and Amazon accounts. Just check here if you're eligible for the offer.

All you have to do is go to the checkout page, and enter "0.01" when you're prompted to use your Membership Rewards points. You'll then receive your discount.

And if you've been holding onto points or cash back, it may be a good time to redeem your rewards, whether that's with a statement credit to reduce or erase your existing balance or with gift cards to give to others.

Catch up on Select's in-depth coverage of personal financetech and toolswellness and more, and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

Information about the Prime Visa has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the cards prior to publication. If you purchase something through Select links for the Prime Visa, we may earn a commission.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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