31 Ways to Save This Holiday Season

You don't have to wait until Black Friday to get a great deal. Get started now with our insider's tips on scoring huge discounts.

Tamata E. Holmes Nov, 11, 2014

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You don't have to wait until Black Friday to get a great deal. Get started now with our insider's tips on scoring huge discounts.

Download Gift Plan for the iPhone or Christmas Gift List Planner for Androids to make a list, check it twice and stay on budget. 

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Create a separate email address for e-newsletters and coupons from your favorite retailers. Check it daily, many offers require you to act fast.

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If you're already following your favorite retailers on Facebook and Twitter, make sure you add Instagram to the list. Retailers often use social media to post last-minute discounts. 

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Connect with bloggers and even the social media managers of the retailers you love to find out about sales, special offers and upcoming coupons during the holidays. 

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Ask which day markdowns are done. Shop that day to take advantage of the steal before the items fly off the shelves. 

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Shop in the early morning and late at night because that's when employees tend to mark down the prices. Shopping at night will allow you to get the marked-down price for the following day one day early. Plus, you avoid the crowds. 

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Never shop without first looking for a coupon or promo code at sites like retailmenot.com and coupons.com

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Speak to an employee about where they house the clearance section for outdated products. When newer models or models with new packaging are released, the older ones are deeply discounted. 

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Many retailers will allow you to use store coupons, rebates, manufacturer coupons and more. For example, Target has a cartwheel mobile app and Target coupons, plus you can use manufacturer coupons as well. Stacking is a great way to pay little or nothing for your items. Some websites also let you stack or use multiple promo codes online.

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Always take advantage of the gift card deals at restaurants around the holidays. Many will let you buy a gift card and throw in an additional one for free. For example, you might buy a $50 gift card, then receive an additional $10 gift card for free. 

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When you enter a store immediately go to the clearance section because you can stock up on items for half the price, getting more gifts for your dollar. If you can wait a couple weeks after a store puts new items on the floor, you can snag a sale. 

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Online retailers will typically push their most expensive merchandise on the home page, so you may have to search the site's menu or navigation to find the most heavily discounted items. 

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Many retailers offer discounts and coupons if you complete a survey about your recent store experience. Apply those savings to another gift. 

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Find out if your favorite store has extra cash back promotions when you buy certain items. Some stores also give you store cash that you can use toward your next purchase. Finally, the website ebates.com gives you cash back when you make purchases through their website. 

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Use price comparison apps such as Amazon's Price Check app and RedLaser. Before making a purchase in a store, simply scan the bar code to make sure you can't find a better deal elsewhere. 

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Many big box stores have price matching policies, meaning they'll match the lowest price you can find at other stores or perhaps online. 

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Winter won't last forever. Spring and summer clothing and summer toys make great discounted gifts during the holiday shopping season. 

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During the holiday, many stores offer some of their best coupons like $10 off of a $10 or more purchase, which can yield a free gift. It doesn't get better that that. 

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Check out shoprunner.com and get free two-day shipping on your next order.

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While shopping, see if the store offers free gift-wrapping, which will save you time and money. 

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Normally, we would forgo this advice, but it'll be worth it. December 18 is Free Shipping Day, when more than 1,000 retailers will be offering free shipping on purchases that will be delivered by Christmas Eve. Find out if your favorite retailer is taking part at freeshippingday.com. 

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Call your credit card issuer to see if they have any holiday shopping promotions when you use your card. For example, from October through December, Discover is offering 5% cash back on up to $1,500 worth of purchases made online, which can save you up to $75. Some card issuers also give you extra cash back or rewards when you visit you favorite retailers through their online portal. If you do use your credit card to make purchases, make sure to pay the bill in its entirety when it's due. 

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Groupon and Living Social offer deals during the holidays such as a $20 credit shop for only $10. This could make a great gift. 

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Rack up on gift bags, wrapping paper and holiday decorations. If you're lucky, you may even find a stocking stuffer or two. 

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Got clients or co-workers to shop for? How about a gift that gives back? Head over to globalgiving.org to pick up a few tax-deductible gift cards so your recipients can receive funds to spend on a charitable cause of their choice, while you make a dent in your tax bill. 

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Head to giftcardgranny.com where you can get a percentage off on the gift cards others don't want. In addition, if you have unused gift cards from Christmases past, you can sell them here for quick cash. 

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Citi Price Rewind lets Citi Card users search for lower prices when you buy and register an item online with your Citi credit card. If Citi finds your item at least $25 lower than what you paid within 30 days of purchase, you get the price difference returned to you up to $250 per item and up to $1,000 annually. 

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Dowload mobile apps such as Coupon Sherpa and Best Coupons & Deals, which let you sort through the latest offerings and lets retailers scan the coupon barcode directly from your phone. 

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If you forget to redeem a store coupon before its expiration date, contact the store to see if they will accept their stores expired coupons. Some stores like Bed Bath & Beyond regularly apply "expired" discounts. 

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Look closely to see if your coupons include or exclude clearance items. Most of the times, there are no exclusions to clearance, allowing you to save even more. 

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Easter, Christmas and birthdays are the same date every year. Take advantage of after-Christmas sales to stock up on gifts for next year, as well as get discounted ornaments and decorations for as much as 90% off.