With the cost of almost everything soaring, many of us are looking to save money during holiday shopping this year.
Because inflation is so high, holiday shoppers are projected to spend 7.1% more than they did in 2021, according to a survey by MasterCard. Similarly, a Bank of America survey found that 18% of shoppers plan to spend more than they did last year -- but with inflation, they may not be getting quite the bang for their buck.
To help curb costs, 39% plan to buy fewer expensive gifts this year, while another 39% to buy fewer gifts altogether, per the Bank of America survey.
Here are five additional ways to make your money stretch further, according to Nerdwallet.
1. Shop early and often
Retailers are vying for your dollars, which means you can cash in on deep discounts and seasonal sales if the timing is right. The deals don't end on Black Friday, with retailers looking to get your business through the entire shopping season instead of just on a single day.
"If you see something and it looks like a good deal, it's time to pick it up," consumer coupon expert Jill Cataldo told Nerdwallet.
By shopping early and holding onto your receipt, you might also be able to get some money back in case the price drops if a store offers price-matching.
2. Compare prices relentlessly
You might become obsessed with price tracking over the next month, but it could really pay off when you spot a price drop. You also shouldn't make a purchase without comparing prices with competitors, which is easy to do online.
You can use shopping apps like ShopSavvy that run in the background while comparing prices. It will alert you the minute what you're looking for goes on sale.
"I watch prices, see which retailer is offering the best price and always look for coupons before I buy — anything is better than paying full price," Cataldo said.
3. Coupons, coupons, coupons
Speaking of coupons, if the item you want isn't on sale, you'll likely be able to find a coupon that could save you money or offer free shipping.
Shopping browser extensions Honey and RetailMeNot automatically check for coupon codes when you checkout online, and some of those codes can even be stacked to save you extra cash.
Coupon codes can also be used on top of cash-back offers for some retailers, putting extra money back in your pocket. Downloading apps like Rakuten, CouponCabin and Ibotta make it easy to earn cash back.
"It's just one extra step if you are going to buy online, and then you receive a check," said Cataldo.
4. Shop loyal, shop local
Become a loyal shopper of your favorite brands so you'll be alerted to sales first. You could receive special coupon codes that are good for 24-hours or exclusive price deals that you wouldn't otherwise know about. Even signing up for a retailer's newsletter could get you an automatic coupon code.
Getting to know your local stores and attending in-person events can also be advantageous to scoring the biggest deals, according to Deborah Weinswig, CEO and founder of Coresight Research.
"Store managers are being given the ability to negotiate and price match or price beat," Weinswig told Nerdwallet.
5. Set limits with friends and family
If you're worried about spending too much this season, odds are your family and friends are as well.
Talk to your family about scaling back on gift-giving this year. Maybe do a Secret Santa exchange and buy for one person instead of everyone. Or, an anonymous White Elephant gift exchange is also a fun way to spice up the holiday, with a set limit on the price everyone spends.