Planning for holiday shopping

It’s that time of year again when we start thinking about what to get out loved ones for the holiday season. But when is a good time to start shopping? Lifestyle and smart shopping expert Trae Bodge, took some time to settle the score with The Hype Magazine to discuss tips for beating the stress and avoiding debt this holiday season. In our short satellite presentation, Bodge tells us why it’s never too late to start your financial budget, and how to save on travel this season. Not forgetting a reward system and how it can offset gifts and other holiday costs or ways we can earn extra money leading up to the holiday season. Learn how to minimize stress this season and start planning now. One way is through Swagbucks, an online platform that utilizes a reward system to earn free gifts to your favorite stores.

Trae, you say the key is to start planning now and score cash and free gift cards by the time the holidays roll around.  How do you do it?

So, it may seem early to be thinking about holiday shopping but it’s really not. It’s a great time to start shopping slow, looking for great deals. It’s obviously less impactful on those holiday paychecks near November and December and while you’re shopping, be sure to shop smart and use tools like shopathome.com or Swagbucks.com so you can earn cashback and free gift cards that you can then apply to your holiday shopping.

Okay Trae, what kind of cash are we talking about here?

So, it depends on how much you personally spend, but here’s an example, Swagbucks just announced that they’ve given $200 million in cash and free gift cards to their consumers. So, there’s a lot of money out there for you as a consumer to earn and use, and it’s something that’s very easy to use as well. So, you go to Swagbucks.com, you sign up very quickly, click on a store where you’re interested in shopping and you can start earning points right away. They also have a browser extension which is my personal favorite way to save. You install it on Chrome and as you shop online, you’ll be automatically alerted to great deals that you can use simply by clicking on them so you don’t even have to think about it.

What other tips do you have for preparing for our holiday spending?

If you haven’t been able to save up a holiday fund throughout the year it’s not too late. You can do something that I call the little luxuries plan. You can look at your budget and see where you’re spending. You may be able to cut back on for a couple of months. For instance, if you’re getting your car professionally washed once a month or you’re going to the barista a couple times a day. Try skipping those things and maybe making coffee at home, washing your own car and every time you skip those things take that savings put it in a jar and before you know it, you could have saved hundreds of dollars that you can then use for your holiday shopping.

Between flights, cars, and places to stay, the cost can add up in a hurry. What can we do to save money in this area?

Well September and October are great times to think about booking your holiday travel], because it will be cheaper now than if you wait until December where for instance if you book a flight then, you’ll pay $100 more for that flight. So, it’s a really good time to start planning ahead and you can shop smart for travel too. Using a site like mypoints.com for instance allows you to accrue points that you can then use for Expedia or hotels.com thereby doubling your savings on your travel.

You say that there are other ways to earn extra money in this new gig economy we’re living in. What is that about?

The gig economy is really about easy ways to freelance. So, even if you have a traditional 9-to-5 and you may need to earn a little extra money for the holidays, you can do so by driving a lift or driving Uber. You can pick up extra holiday hours at your local store like a Walmart or Target. You can use TaskRabbit, which is an online service that allows you to find little freelance jobs and then Swagbucks that we mentioned before. It’s a great way to save money while you’re shopping but you can also earn money with it by doing fun things, like watching online videos, surfing the net and filling out surveys. It’s a great way to earn extra money and then use it for your holiday shopping.

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