Budgeter and deal-finder Meriden Weems
Budgeting for the holiday season is rarely easy, but with the added stress of inflation this year, you might be wondering how to stretch your dollars to account for everyone on your shopping list.
The good news: by planning and getting creative, you can shop smart this holiday season, according to keen budgeter and deal-finder Meriden Weems. PayPal Honey is one of her favorite tools to spot sales, search for coupons, and rack up points towards cash back rewards.
“PayPal Honey has helped me change my relationship with money,” Meriden said. The technology enables her to set up deal alerts for retailers or for specific items she wants to monitor discounts and coupons. She’s saved on everything from flights and luggage to brake pads and a vacuum cleaner.
Combined with other savings and spending strategies that Meriden has devised over time, she feels on top of her finances. It wasn’t always that way, though. Only after racking up her credit card bills and dealing with overdrafts on her bank account did she realize she needed to handle her money better. She’s not alone – one survey showed credit card debt has gone up for 30% of Americans recently.
Here are some of the tips that Meriden uses to organize her finances and get ready for the holidays.
The “tried and true” ways that many people budget might not be right for you, and that’s OK. For example, budgeting in a spreadsheet on a computer didn’t work for Meriden. After trial and error, she figured out that writing things down in a budget book worked much better for her.
“I make a list of monthly expenses and then see how much I have left over to spend on dinners, going out, and more,” she said. “Then, I can see where I can cut back on, where I can get a discount on things, or determine if there are certain products I can save on.”
Meriden confessed that she hasn’t always been good about planning ahead of time when budgeting for the holidays, which often leads to panicky last-minute gift shopping. Taking seasonal deals or offers into account and planning for gifts has helped take a huge weight off her shoulder.
“A lot of companies have started to offer early sales,” she said. PayPal Honey’s Droplist, where you can make a list of items you want and automatically get notified if prices drop, has been a game-changer for finding deals. “PayPal Honey will always send you that email alerting you, ‘Good news! This price just dropped.'"
This year, Meriden is already in full-swing budgeting mode and is using PayPal Rewards points—formerly Honey Gold—to help shop for gifts. She looks for purchases where she can earn PayPal Rewards points, which she can then redeem in different ways, like cash back, allowing her gift budget to go a little further.
“In a way, finding ways to get cash back provides an additional discount,” Meriden said. For her, smartly using cash back rewards is one way to balance out her budget year-round, not just during the holidays.
While the holidays are often thought of as a time to give big, extravagant gifts, there are plenty of ways to give loved ones something meaningful. “Even if you don’t have the money to shop for a physical gift, there are many other ways to show you care,” said Meriden. “A gift can be supporting somebody by showing up for them, or even just writing a card.”
Another way to do this is by giving back – offering a donation to a charity or a cause dear to your friend or family member. PayPal allows you to find charities directly from the app. When using the PayPal Giving Fund, 100% of your gift goes directly to the charity of your choice.
Whether you’re reconsidering how you budget for the holidays and beyond, or just want the thrill of finding shopping deals, PayPal has your back.
“Downloading the PayPal app and installing the PayPal Honey browser extension are some of the easiest things I’ve done,” said Meriden. “One click, you’re done. All these savings are at your fingertips.”
Bill Splitting Doesn’t Need to Be Awkward
How To “Revenge Travel” and Keep Costs In Check
Sign up to receive the latest news to your email.