NEW YORK (WLNY) — Consumer expert Andrea Woroch stopped by to show us how to avoid throwing away a lot of money on hidden holiday costs like babysitters, holiday cards, shipping, and decorating.
1. Gift wrap. This seems like a nominal cost that always gets overlooked but at $3 to $10 per roll, wrapping your gifts can get pricey not to mention a big waste. Consider alternative wrapping by using old newspapers, circulars and magazines or start a new tradition of saving this year’s wrapping paper to use next year.
2. Baby sitting services. Check Sitterycity.com and Care.com for rate calculators, and then consider signing up for BabysitterExchange, which operates like a babysitting co-op.
3. Holiday lights. You may blame cold weather for causing your energy bill to cost more but those holiday lights may be the culprits. Swap traditional lights for energy-efficient LED lights to keep electricity costs down.
4. Greeting cards. An estimated 2.6 billion holiday cards are sold each year. Average prices for cards run from $3 to $5 along with postage. Send eCards for free via sites like Punchbowl.
5. Baked goods. Heading to the bakery to grab a hostess gift or a present for your boss seems can cost you anywhere from 100 to 300% more than if you baked those items yourself. Carve out an hour or two this week to bake a large batch of your favorite cookies, wrap them in cellophane and tie with a pretty red ribbon to save money.
6. Bank gift card fees. Those bank & credit card company-issued gift cards charge purchase fees at average of $4.50 per card. Opt for a retailer gift card to avoid such fees and save by buying discount gift cards from sites like GiftCardGranny.com
7. Shipping. Compare rates across UPS, USPS & FedEx, review shipping deadlines & read the restriction rules, shop on Free Shipping Day, find free rush shipping codes from FreeShipping.org or sign up for free trials for Shop Your Way Max, ShopRunner & Amazon Prime to get free 2-day or opt for free in-store pick up at your ultimate destination.
BUT…HERE’S HOW TO GET FREE EXPEDITED SHIPPING
1. Get free expedited shipping. For instance, Sears & Kmart are offering a free 90-day trial for Shop Your Way Max that offers free 2-day shipping. You can also try Amazon Prime and ShopRunner for free for the first 30 days to get free two day or discounted overnight delivery. Sites like FreeShipping.org aggregate coupon codes for free 3-day, 2-day and overnight delivery from online retailers which you will need to enter at check out.