Virtual door crashers, discounts, and deals, oh my!
It’s that time of year again when stores advertise heavily reduced products and merchandise far and wide. Email inboxes are full of promotions and previews for limited-time offers, which means the countdown is on for one of the most anticipated shopping events of the year—Boxing Day!
For many, this year will look a lot different, though. All non-essential businesses will close their doors in Ontario and Quebec for province-wide lockdowns to reduce COVID-19 numbers. Although these measures are necessary to keep retail workers and customers safe, many businesses will feel the strain from the restrictions.
However, all is not lost. Shoppers can still support local businesses by visiting their online shops or taking advantage of deals early. Many retailers are also choosing to extend sales this year.
Shoppers will have to finish their last-minute holiday shopping or purchase those big-ticket items for themselves from home. But getting the best bargains online can be tricky amid the sea of flyers and targeted advertising.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help you save money this Boxing Day.
Set a budget
It is crucial to go into Boxing Day with a game plan. Yes, you’d love a new Smart TV or those sneakers you’ve been eyeing all-year-long, but one of the best ways to save money is to limit your shopping to only the things you need. Picking up everything you find just because it’s on sale can lead to regret.
Make a list of the items you hope to buy and consider the things you can live without for now. The price tags may be tempting, but with this mentality, you can prevent overspending on appliances you may never use or clothes you’ll probably only wear once.
Creating a budget before shopping can help curb those impulse buys. If you know the set amount you are willing to spend, you can prioritize your purchases. Keep track of how much you spend on each item as you go along to ensure you stay on target.
Avoid buyer’s remorse
Take the time to research your favourite brands, compare prices, and find the best deals. By taking the opportunity to shop around ahead of time, you will be more confident in the purchases you make.
Also, keep in mind when sales start and end. Often, retailers will have special week-long sales rather than deals that last for only a few days. Keep an eye on each promotion’s duration and if an item is out of stock, see if you can get a rain check.
If you’ve been keeping an eye out for a specific item, using an app like Shoptagr will allow you to bookmark and organize items from different retailers. Plus, it notifies you when they go on sale. Another great app is Flipp, which enables you to view flyers from all your favourite vendors, grocery stores, and more. These apps can save you money throughout the entire year.
Compare prices and check return policies
Usually, the best deals are found in-store. Many retailers use these tactics as an easy way to get shoppers to come in and browse the isles. However, the pandemic has shifted the focus to online shopping this year, so the deals will likely be just as good at home.
Online shopping gives customers the ability to compare prices quickly and conveniently, of course. Easily check prices and reviews on items before you commit to buying. Just beware of shipping times and fees. Parcels volumes have skyrocketed this year, so there may be delays.
Checking the return policies can also save you time, energy and money. You may have to return some items bought online back through the post. Check the store’s FAQ section to review the return policies and ensure you won’t be on the hook for shipping costs back to the store.
If you can’t find these details, it should raise a red flag about the vendor. Always shop through trustworthy sites and be careful of how you share your personal and financial information over the internet. Don’t use obvious passwords, and if it seems too good to be true, it just might be. Online shopping should only be done on a device you own, using a network you trust.
Use coupons and cash back
This tip is a simple way to save money. Many retailers have loyalty reward programs and may offer extra points during the peak holiday season. Take this time to redeem points you’ve been collecting all year—especially those grocery rewards points. You won’t have to spend money out of your pocket, and you can reduce your holiday spending.
There are also several ways to get cash back while shopping! Take advantage of any coupons you may find online. Check out websites like RetailMeNot.ca for coupons and savings vouchers—though finding a valid code may take a while, sometimes it’s worth it! Rakuten is also a popular website that provides cash back on purchases from various companies when you make a free account and shop online.
Cash back credit cards also reward you for your spending. If you’re looking for something with no annual fee, the SimplyCash™ Card from American Express is an excellent choice. Earn 2.5% cash back on purchase for the first three months, up to $150 cash back. After, get 1.25% cash back on your everyday purchases, with no limit to how much you can earn. Get cash back on groceries, merchandise and all your other everyday purchases where American Express is accepted.
Offer expiry date: N/A subject to change without notice
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To earn more cash back, consider the SimplyCash™ Preferred Card from American Express. Earn 10% cash back in your first four months of membership, up to $400 cash back. After the welcome rate ends, get 2% cash back on all your everyday purchases, with no limit to how much you can earn. This card has a $99 annual fee.
Offer expiry date: N/A subject to change without notice
Before you start your Boxing Day shopping, remember to plan, budget, compare prices, and earn cash back!
Rates, product information, and rewards estimates are subject to change at any time and do not constitute financial advice. This post was not sponsored. The views and opinions expressed in this review are purely those of RATESDOTCA. Information in this article is accurate as of the date of this posting, December 23, 2020.
This post has been updated.