Personal finance and style experts that teamed up with American Express
Gifting made simple
“I recommend making a gift list (along with a budget) and sticking to it, so you don’t end up overspending,” said Emmy-winning host and style expert Lilliana Vazquez. She suggested that when buying presents online, look for gifts that can be bought for at least three people on your list so you can earn free shipping. “It also saves you the headache of coming up with many different presents during an already stressful time of year.”
Hot categories in the run-up to Christmas
“Categories like computers, electronics and toys are all expected to hit the deepest discounting levels in years, so look for major savings there for your family,” said Vazquez. Best Buy
Comparison shop online before you go to a store and request a retailer to price match, as most will have a price-match guarantee with competing retailers. “Look for special deals for subscribers and loyalty members at your favorite stores. Just by sharing your email, you can score early access to sales which can mean even steeper discounts,” explained Vazquez. Check the return policy before buying electronics, especially for gifts. Retailers may charge a restocking fee for returns.
Supporting small businesses is a big deal
Local retailers may provide a finishing touch that makes shopping easier, like wrapping gifts or bundling items. Some smaller businesses may provide samples or gifts with a purchase. “I love supporting small businesses around the holiday season and year-round. Some of my favorite small businesses and local boutiques have gone above and beyond this time of year,” said Vazquez. Shopping at small businesses like local bakeries and vintage home stores helps support sustainability with each purchase.
Shopping hybrid and getting rewards
Many consumers shop in stores and online, a hybrid approach to tackling their gift list. Vazquez, however, likes to do most of her shopping online; she stated, “I can comparison shop for all the gifts on my list with just a few clicks. I can also avoid the long lines in stores and spend that extra saved time with my loved ones instead.”
Vazquez discussed that whether consumers shop in-store or online, they should optimize their rewards from the credit or debit cards they use. “With my Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express, I can be rewarded for my spending with 3% cash back on US online retail purchases without needing to leave my couch! That’s what I call winning the holidays.”
Rewards across cards can save shoppers money. “An easy way to stretch your money a little is by putting some of these expenses on a card that will earn you rewards points,” said Humphrey Yang, personal finance expert and content creator.
“Using a budgeting app that gives you insight into your daily spending habits is a simple and effective way to track your spending,” says Yang, who uses the AMEX app to track spending across debit and credit card transactions. Which also discussed how to use buy now, pay later solutions can be a good option if you have a pricey gift that you know you can pay off over time.
Building your wealth
Consumers tend to focus on sticking to a budget during the holidays, but it’s also an excellent time to think about ways to make the most of your finances. Yang advises looking at your checking account, which should offer rewards on spending and no fees. “I like Amex Rewards Checking because it gives you rewards on your spending, and there are no account minimums.”
As consumers look to the new year, it’s a great time to get finances in order and create budgets that help build your wealth. “While cutting back on expenses should be the first step in optimizing your spending, there is only so much you can trim out of your budget. Try to increase your income by learning new skills that can translate into a side hustle.” What is discussed is the importance of understanding daily spending habits using apps, especially as year-end expenses start racking up.