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How to Become a Holiday Smart Shopper: Unmissable Steps to Maximize your Budget

October 24, 2023

(BPT) - With the holiday season approaching, the days get shorter, the air feels crisper, and our focus shifts to joyful gift-giving and get-togethers. Whether it’s hosting a festive feast for friends and family, finding that perfect gift for a coworker, or decking the halls, the season features plenty of special memory-making moments.

But with economic uncertainty and steep costs of living impacting the average American, prioritizing these moments can be easier said than done. According to a September 2023 CNBC survey, more than half (55%) of households earning $50,000 or less said they’re feeling the impact of the economy on their personal finances. That number jumped to 61% for households earning between $50,000 and $100,000, according to the survey, but one thing is clear – Americans are looking for ways to make their money go further.

This holiday season, you don’t have to miss out on shopping for the moments that matter most. These tips will help you become the ultimate holiday smart shopper and stretch your budget further:

Make your list and check it twice.

With major retailers rolling out deals earlier each year, having a ready list and checking it twice means you’re able to jump on some of the best prices of the season.

Once you decide who you want to give a gift to this year, set a firm limit for how much you’d like to spend on holiday gifts, décor, and experiences. The earlier this is in place, the more time you give yourself to shop sales, compare prices, find coupons, and eliminate costly last-minute impulse buys or paying a dreaded rush-shipping fee in late December.

To make sure you’re getting the best bang for your holiday buck, start price watching the items on your list to determine the best time to buy. PayPal Honey’s Droplist feature allows you to add items you’re interested in to a watchlist and get automatically notified if their price drops, so you can buy at a lower price.

Regardless of when you check out, you can almost always find ways to save. PayPal Honey’s desktop and mobile browser extensions automatically search for and apply available coupon codes and cash back1 offers at checkout, helping you find some of the best deals on your holiday purchases.

Spread out your budget with flexible payments.

Managing your holiday shopping budget requires a well-executed plan, which not only includes who’s on your list, but also how you’re paying for everything. Flexible payment solutions like PayPal Pay Later offer a smart, simple, and secure way to spread payments out over time so you can make space and budget for the moments and memories that will endure well beyond the season.

When checking out with PayPal, shoppers can choose to break up the cost of the purchases – either dividing the cost into four interest-free payments with Pay in 42 or for larger purchases ($199 to $10,000), selecting Pay Monthly3 and breaking the total cost into monthly payments over a longer period of time.

Earn rewards, maximize cashback, and level up your shopping.

One of the best ways to become a savvy holiday shopper is by earning (and maximizing) your rewards and not leaving any cashback on the table. A great starting point? Simply opening the PayPal app.

With PayPal Rewards1, you can discover cashback and rewards in the PayPal app that can help you stretch your budget for all your holiday purchases. Even better, you can also stack credit card points on top of existing deals you find in the PayPal app. For example, if you shop with the PayPal Cashback Mastercard®, you’ll earn 3% cashback4 when checking out with PayPal in addition to any other rewards you earn while shopping in the PayPal app.

Reward stacking indicates you’ve leveled up, so welcome to holiday shopping expert status! But there’s one more tip that can help you save big this holiday season.

Find fellow gift-givers to go big!

Have a friend or family member eyeing an expensive gift? You don’t have to blow your budget to make their holiday wishes come true. For gifts that cost a little more, consider coming together with other gift givers to purchase. For example, you can divide the cost of higher priced electronics with your parents for your sibling’s gift or ask your friends to chip in on elegant new holiday tableware that can rotate with each year's Friendsgiving dinner host.

You can use PayPal or Venmo to go in on larger gifts with friends and loved ones. It’s easy and free to set up an account on PayPal or Venmo, and they both offer a simple, secure way to send or receive money.

Don’t let budgeting woes or long shopping lists dampen your cheer this holiday season. These tips will transform you into a holiday power shopper, enabling you to stretch your budget and find the perfect gifts. With careful planning and strategic decision-making, you can focus on what matters most: spending time with loved ones, sharing gifts, and creating one-of-a-kind holiday memories.

1. Eligible items only. Redeem points for cash and other rewards. Terms and exclusions apply.

2. Pay in 4 is subject to approval. Eligibility varies by state. CA: Loans made or arranged pursuant to a CA Financing Law License. GA: Installment Lender Licensee, NMLS #910457. RI: Small Loan Lender Licensee. NM residents: Find more disclosures related to Pay in 4. Learn more at paypal.com/payin4.

3. Pay Monthly is subject to credit approval. Fixed APR is 9.99-35.99% based on your credit. Rates as low as 4.99% from time to time. Terms may vary based on the purchase amount. Offer availability varies by state, merchant, and purchase amount. The lender for Pay Monthly is WebBank. PayPal, Inc. (NMLS #910457): CT Small Loan Licensee. RI Loan Broker Licensee. VT Loan Solicitation Licensee. Learn more at paypal.com/buynowpaylater.

4. Applications are subject to credit approval. The PayPal Cashback Mastercard is issued by Synchrony Bank pursuant to a license by Mastercard International Incorporated. Purchases are subject to credit approval, and the PayPal Cashback Mastercard must be used for payment. See Rewards Program Terms for details and restrictions.

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