5 Ways Your Computer Can Save You a Bundle on Holiday Shopping

by GalTime Nerd Chick Andrea Eldridge

Your computer can save you a bundle! Your computer can save you a bundle! Ways your computer can help save you money on your holiday shopping

December always has a way of sneaking up on me. Here I am finishing up the last of the Halloween candy, just barely recovering from Thanksgiving, when BAM! Christmas is suddenly just a few short weeks away! No more denying the inevitable, it's time to get moving on holiday shopping.

Since we're all looking for creative ways to save money on our holiday gift list, check out 5 ways your computer can help you save a bundle this holiday season!

Check out the resale market: You? Buying anything less than new? Open your mind to the possibilities! Look beyond your traditional retailers for gifting treasures. Craigslist, eBay, and even your local gently-used second hand stores have a wide variety of unusual and nostalgic gifts just waiting to be discovered. Note that these sellers also have items that have never actually been used. Now's your chance to snatch up previously owned and never (or gently) used items at deep discounts!

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Use discount gift cards: Just as there's a resale market for items people never ended up needing, there's a resale market for unused gift cards. Check out eCard Exchange or Cardpool for an extensive selection of discount gift cards that you can use for instant savings on your holiday shopping. Benefit from those looking to cash-out a gift card they'll never use with a 10 percent savings passed on to you. Both discount gift card sites purchase unwanted gifts cards from individual sellers and then guarantee the gift card value to you, the buyer. There's even free shipping! I like to purchase discount gift cards for places I know I'll be shopping for gifts, earning myself an instant discount that I can then combine with sales and coupons.

Become a coupon printer: Before you head out the door to cruise the mall, check out the in-store coupons available online through RetailMeNot and Coupon Cabin. You can earn fantastic savings with just a few clicks of your mouse and an available printer. Some retailers even have a smart phone app for quick and convenient savings in the palm of your hand. For those of you buying online, always check for coupon codes before completing your order.

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Compare, compare, compare: The Shopping Assistant browser extension (available for Chrome, Firefox, Opera or Safari) provides a toolbar that automatically shows products similar to what you're shopping for from other online retailers, offering valuable price comparison information. If you prefer to browse the shelves in person, compare prices with ShopSavvy 5 (available for iPhone, Android and Windows phone). Once the app is installed on your smart phone, use your phone's camera to take a picture of the barcode of the item you're considering for instant price comparison information that allows you to request a price match or drive next door to get the best deal.

Make your credit card work for you: Many credit card companies have discovered that the key to keeping customers happy is to help them save money on purchases they're already making. Most deals and special coupons can only be activated by logging into your account and navigating through the associated deals section. For example, Bank of America cards now offer "cash back deals" that give you cash back on purchases made at certain retailers, restaurants and more. The catch? You have to plan ahead, as you have to activate the offer in advance of making your purchase to get the reward. Citibank now offers Citi Price Rewind, which it calls "buy now, save later." Register your covered purchases and Citibank will track prices at online retailers for 30 days. If the price drops by at least $25, you get the price difference back - up to $250 per item.

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