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How Stacking Can Stretch Your Christmas Budget
by Paige Estigarribia
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This year, as the holidays start closing in, I'm determined to try out a new strategy. I want to try my hand at stacking for the holidays. If I can stack the discounts and coupons during my holiday shopping, I may be able to maximize my savings.
And what goes into stacking? Good question. On a broad scale, stacking means layering discounts on top of each other to get a lower price. Success with stacking depends on several things, including restrictions on the discounts, where you're shopping, and how you're shopping. But if you stay on the lookout for good deals, chances are that you can benefit from stacking!
Shopping online is a great place to look for stacking deals. To start stacking online, first search out companies through a shopping portal like Ebates. Ebates has relationships with tons of companies, and if you are shopping different items or products through Ebates, companies will credit you a percentage back if you end up purchasing through the Ebates link. It's a sweet deal!
So, for example, if you're searching for that perfect toy for the special five-year-old in your life, and you want to stack your deals, you'd first go to Ebates and sign up if you aren't a member (you can even sign up here if you like!). Then start shopping! Great places like Walmart.com and other stores are waiting, and once you click on a store, Ebates displays the percentage you can get back. Once you purchase, that information automatically goes to Ebates. Ebates sends out checks for money back periodically, so say on the lookout.
Ok, so you've found the perfect toy at the perfect online store that you found through Ebates. Now it's time to find an online coupon code. Sometimes a simple search will do the trick. Sometimes coupon codes are in the "Special Offers" section on the site. Another great place to find good online coupon codes is on different websites, like CouponPal.com . Once you find that company-specific deal, be sure to enter the coupon-code at check out to get an additional discount.
Stacking at the Store
You can also stack at brick-and-mortar stores easily! I got some great tips from our very own Lisa, who edits the TDS Savvy Savings blog, and she said savings websites like Ibotta, Checkout 51, and even the Wal-Mart specific Savings Catcher offer great ways to get money back when you shop using those tools. The best ways to stack is to stay armed with a good supply of manufacturer's coupons as well from places like Coupons.com or RedPlum. You can then pair up these coupons with store deals. For example, if one retailer is running a Black Friday special on all sports equipment, and you have an additional manufacturer's coupon for $10 off a specific basketball, you can combine the special with your manufacturer's discount to save big.
Two things to think about if you want to start stacking are time and restrictions, both of which can affect your deals. It takes time to find the deals, so be vigilant and be patient. Be prepared to spend a little time searching out different manufacturer's offers, and always look at the deals on different online company websites. Always pay attention to the fine print on coupons and discount offers, as this is where they will often put their restrictions. Sometimes, certain coupons and restrictions can't be combined, and if that's the case, then stacking is out.
And so goes a quick low-down on how I'm planning my stacking strategy. Give it a shot yourself to see what kinds of deals you can score this holiday season!
Paige Estigarribia is a writer for The Dollar Stretcher who enjoys writing about food, frugal living, and money-saving tips. Visit Paige on Google+.
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