Holiday shoppers plan to spend $776 on gifts this holiday season, on average, according to a recent NerdWallet survey conducted by The Harris Poll.
But contrary to what you might think, a season full of spending can also be an opportunity for saving.
Here are three underutilized and overlooked strategies that can help you get more mileage out of that $776 — or spend less than you originally planned.
1. Lean on money-saving apps
When asked which methods they plan to use to save money when shopping for any reason this holiday season, just 36% of Americans said they’ll use money-saving apps, according to the NerdWallet survey. (These include things like coupon apps, price comparison apps and cash-back apps.)
Coupon apps such as ShopSavvy, Flipp and The Coupons App can help shoppers compare prices, clip coupons and even browse nearby deals based on their location. And cash-back apps can earn shoppers money back on qualifying purchases.
“Cash-back apps can help shoppers offset the cost of their holiday spending by putting a percentage of each purchase back into their accounts,” says NerdWallet personal finance expert Kimberly Palmer. “Saving even small amounts can add up to less stress when it’s time to pay your credit card bill.”
To free up some extra room in your budget, load up your phone with apps before you start checking gifts off your list.
2. Shop doorbuster deals
Even fewer Americans plan to take advantage of doorbusters, according to the NerdWallet survey. Just 33% say they plan to attend doorbuster sales — those that are available only at a particular time of a specific day, usually for a specific item or type of item.
But especially for big-ticket purchases such as TVs or gaming consoles, taking advantage of the limited-time, limited-quantity doorbusters offered by retailers on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday can be beneficial.
“If there’s an item you have your eye on, and you expect it to be marked down significantly on Black Friday, that can be a great opportunity to score a deal,” Palmer says. “Just make sure you research the item ahead of time so you know exactly what you want, because supplies can run out quickly, and you have to act fast.”
Many doorbuster deals are available both in store and online, so the cold and the crowds don’t have to deter your deal searching.
3. Regift, within reason
Although an overwhelming 70% of Americans admit to having regifted a holiday present at some point, most don’t do so for budget reasons: Only 31% of those who've regifted say they've done so to save money, according to the NerdWallet survey.
But regifting holiday gifts is perfectly fine, according to lifestyle and etiquette expert Elaine Swann. It can be frugal and thoughtful.
If you’re going to regift, ensure the item is in mint condition. Remove any trace of the original wrapping and put it in a new gift bag, Swann says. And make sure the person you’re giving the gift to doesn’t know the person you received the gift from.
One more tip for future regifting: For any presents you receive that miss the mark, Swann says to hide them away with a note to help you remember who gave you the gift in the first place.