Tools to Curb Holiday Spending

Getting a jump on holiday plans? Here are three resources to get you through the season

There are plenty of ways to shop smart and save money this holiday season

Despite the unseasonably warm weather in the northeast, the Winter holiday season is quickly approaching. With Halloween costume shopping, Thanksgiving feasts, and Christmas presents, your wallet may already be feeling the burn. Along with browsing for gifts and holiday party wear, you may want to peruse these online tools and resources to help you manage your money and spot the best bargains.

Groupon: This site gives all new meaning to the term “collective buying power.” Users receive daily updates on entertainment deals, restaurant specials, spa treatments, or some of their favorite retailers. Here’s the lowdown: Groupon guarantees businesses who promote on its site a minimum amount of customers (for a fraction of each sale). But deals are only activated once that minimum amount of customers reserve the purchase online. However, this geotargeting is how Groupon offers hyper-local exclusive deals.  According to TechCrunch, the site has saved consumers more than $300 million and claims it has generated millions in revenue for the businesses it features.

CreditSesame: The only thing worse than putting on holiday pounds is putting on holiday debt. CreditSesame.com allows users to track their spending, manage debt, create savings goals, and receive tips and updates on interest rate changes and how to save on loans. The site also provides tips on how to better manage your money. Sign up is free (and invitation-only) but the site is still in the beta stage. Like Mint.com, you fill in your loans and the interest rates. The program takes into account the total cost of a suggested loan. For example, if an adjustable rate loan is recommended, the system will add in potential rate spikes and look for more feasible options.

GasBuddy: Don’t get caught up with holiday gas prices. GasBuddy, available online, in the Android market, and on iTunes, alerts you to the lowest gas prices in your zip code – awesome. Instead of getting gouged by skyrocketing prices, find out who has the best deals. This app or the Website can be used in zip codes nationwide. Happy driving.

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