Weekly Deals: Ways to Reduce Holiday Spending on Food, Gifts and Travel

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By LATINA EMERSON, Weekly Deals

The holidays are quickly approaching, and with the rising cost of living, many people are looking for ways to reduce their holiday spending on food, gifts and travel.

Here are some tips to cut costs and stretch your hard-earned dollars during the holiday season.

Food

Plan holiday menus – Make a shopping list in advance to ensure that you’re buying all of the necessary ingredients for your holiday meal. This will also help you to stay on track with your spending at the grocery store and effectively search for coupons and deals in weekly sales ads.

If you find good deals on canned goods and other nonperishable foods, buy them ahead of time and store them in the pantry. Turkey or other meats can remain frozen until it’s time to cook the holiday meal.

Use coupons – Coupons can help customers save money on food, beverages, cleaning supplies, household items and much more. Grocery stores, including Kroger and Publix, offer digital coupons on their websites.

To access Kroger’s digital coupons, customers should log into their Kroger.com account. All digital coupons are loaded onto the customer’s Kroger Shopper’s Card, which is scanned at checkout.

To find digital coupons at Publix, shoppers should visit Publix.com to create a Club Publix account. Then, they can clip a variety of coupons to add to their account. To receive the savings, shoppers will enter their 10-digit phone number at checkout.

Publix also accepts competitor’s coupons. For more information about Publix’s coupon policy, visit https://www.publix.com/faq/savings/coupon-policy.

In addition, Publix offers BOGOs, or buy-one-get-one-free offers, featuring at least 30 deals each week, according to the store’s website.

Purchase store brands – To lower your grocery bill, consider buying store brands for the items on your list. Many grocery stores and retailers offer a wide assortment of store brand merchandise. When compared to brand name items, store brands are often cheaper and have a similar taste.

Shop at discount stores – ALDI, a discount grocery store, has a mission to help customers save money. More than 90 percent of store items are ALDI-exclusive products.

Gifts

Compare prices – Especially for big ticket items, such as TVs, computers, bicycles and gaming systems, compare prices at different retailers to find the best deals.

Save on shipping costs – When shopping online, shipping can become expensive. To save money, find out if there’s a minimum amount you need to spend to receive free shipping. Consider combining your order with a friend or family member’s order to reach this minimum amount and get free shipping.

If you make regular Amazon purchases, consider getting an Amazon Prime membership. Members receive free shipping.

Ask for a price match – Retailers such as Target will match prices on certain items. Starting Oct. 22, if Target customers purchase an item in store or online and the price goes lower at Target on or before Dec. 24, they can request a price match. Proof of purchase is required. For more information, click HERE.

Look for sales and promo codes – Review the sales ads and websites of your favorite retailers to find deals and promo codes. Customers can also receive news on the latest deals and promo codes if they sign up for the retailer’s email list.

Shop at discount stores – Shoppers can find deals on clothes, shoes, handbags, home décor and more at off-price department stores such as Marshalls and T.J. Maxx.

Join rewards and loyalty programs – Many retail stores, including JC Penney and Kohl’s, have rewards programs. JC Penney shoppers who sign up for JC Penney Rewards will receive exclusive benefits, such as $10 rewards for points earned, birthday gifts and special offers such as coupon books.

Kohl’s customers can receive exclusive benefits, such as rewards on purchases and birthday gifts, if they sign up for a Kohls.com account. The retailer also offers Kohl’s cash. Customers earn $10 Kohl’s cash for every $50 spent. Kohl’s cash must be redeemed by the date on the coupon.

Use coupons – Major retailers (Target), drug stores (Rite Aid and Walgreens) and discount stores (Dollar General and Family Dollar) offer digital coupons on their websites that could help shoppers save on holiday items.

Travel

Establish a budget – To avoid overspending, set a budget for your trip. Determine how much you can afford to spend each day on food, gas, admission fees and more. Bring your own snacks and lunch to reduce food costs.

Use membership programs to save on hotels, rental cars and more – Vacationers can save on travel costs through membership programs, such as AAA and AARP. AAA members can save at participating hotels, rental car companies, restaurants, popular attractions, concert venues, sports arenas and more.

For hotel rentals, AAA members can save up to 10 percent when booking at Best Western, Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott and MGM Resorts.

For car rentals, AAA members can save up to 20 percent on Hertz rentals, up to 15 percent on Dollar Car Rental charges and up to 10 percent on Thrifty Rental costs. Also at Hertz, AAA members 20-24 years old can get the young renter fee waived, and all members can add an additional driver for free and save 10 percent on prepaid fuel.

Participate in airline and hotel rewards loyalty programs – To save on flight and hotel costs, frequent travelers should enroll in airline and hotel rewards loyalty programs. These programs allow travelers to earn miles and points. After earning enough miles or points, travelers can book flights with airline miles and hotel stays with points from hotel rewards programs.

Be flexible with travel dates – Consumers will find better travel deals if they don’t fly during popular days and times. Typically, it’s cheaper to fly on the day of a holiday or the evening before instead of several days before the holiday.

Purchase travel insurance – Travel insurance comes in handy if something goes wrong before or during your trip. Buy travel insurance prior to your trip to manage the costs of accidents, medical emergencies and cancellations.

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