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Money-Saving Tips for Finding Holiday Season Discounts and Promo Codes

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There is something incredibly satisfying about not paying full price. Take the eight pints of Ben & Jerry’s currently in my freezer—how could I not take advantage of “buy two, get two free”?

Finding deals and discounts can feel even more important for your holiday shopping when you want to stretch your budget and find everyone on your list that special gift. In addition to Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals (already underway for many retailers!), here are a few different ways that you can find coupons and promo codes to save money when you purchase that perfect gift. Even better, you can use these resources year-round—including for yourself!



A quick Google search brings up an overwhelming number of sites where you can find online shopping discounts. Here are a few popular ones. They also happen to be free!

  • Groupon: If you’re like me, maybe you forgot that old dinosaur named Groupon was still alive and kicking! You can search for deals in your area and by category.
  • RetailMeNot: works with companies as a kind of one-stop-shop for current deals at more than 20,000 stores online. When I’ve used this site in the past, I’ve found that I just have to try the codes to see if they work. Sometimes they’re no longer in effect, and other times they were supposed to expire but still go through.
  • Rakuten: “Get paid for shopping at all your favorite stores.” That’s Rakuten’s (rather compelling) pitch. They get a commission when they drive business to their over 2,500 partners, which they share with you as cash back.
  • Honey: When you add Honey to your browser (which you can also do with Rakuten and RetailMeNot), Honey combs the internet for coupon codes and automatically applies the best one to your cart at over 30,000 merchants. It can also notify you of price drops and compare sellers on Amazon.



You can take your savings to your smartphone, too. Ibotta and Shopkick are two apps where you can rack up cash back with online and in-store purchases. Once you’ve passed $20 in earnings in Ibotta, you can cash it in by sending it to your bank or PayPal account or by buying a digital gift card. In Shopkick, you can redeem your rewards points (“kicks”) to get free gift cards from major retailers such as Apple, Target, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

The best part with these cash back apps? You can double dip! Submit your purchases in both apps and earn rewards in both places. Pretty, pretty, pretty good.



One of our resident coupon users at VSECU recommended following three blogs

  • Freebie Shark is updated throughout the day to alert you to free samples, coupons and deals, and even sweepstakes that you can enter to win.
  • My Coupon Expert lists all the deals that will be in the Sunday paper’s inserts, as well as other ways you can save money—including glitches in Amazon where you can get a better deal than you’re supposed to.
  • Wear It for Less is a similar concept with more of a focus on, you guessed it, clothing. You can also find deals in the blog’s three Facebook groups, depending on what you’re looking for: Wear It for Less, Wear It for Less – Kids, and Wear It for Less – Men’s.


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If you want to go old school, get the Sunday paper and start clipping physical coupons! You don’t have to get a newspaper thrown onto your front stoop to get these deals, though. SmartSource and P&G also post their Sunday paper coupons online. All you have to do is sign up for an account. They don’t always have offers available, but when they do, hit print and save some cash.



Let’s be honest—who doesn’t love food as a gift? Whether you’re getting food for the holidays or everyday groceries, buying in bulk can save you money.

I imagine you’re familiar with Costco. One bulk food option I was not aware of is Macauley’s Food Service in Barre. While their family business caters to retail and food service customers, apparently you can call to open a cash account and get meats, deli items, and other foods in bulk. Just make sure you have a big enough freezer!

Vermont’s food co-ops also have bulk sections where you can get a better deal and stock up on staples. Check your nearest co-op to see if they offer a “bulk day” where you can get an additional discount on bulk items for extra savings.



Of course, there are always the old standby rewards programs to help you keep a few more coins in your pockets. If you’re a loyal customer of a particular business, you should consider joining their rewards program. For example, if you typically fly with a particular airline, take advantage of their rewards program to earn extra points and miles. These can help cover higher travel costs during the holiday season.


You don’t need to do all of these. Pick and choose the ones that feel doable or that offer the biggest savings based on your holiday (and every day) shopping habits. Mine just happens to be pints of Ben & Jerry’s.

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Nick Bohlen

About Nick Bohlen

Nick Bohlen is a communications strategist at VSECU, sharing ideas and information with staff, members, and Vermonters. When he’s not writing, he enjoys reading, traveling, and exploring Vermont’s great outdoors with his wife, daughter, and dog.
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