Make a list and a budget. Include incidentals, like cards, wrapping paper and eating out.
Check out websites that compare prices for items sold online, and at stores in your area.
Be aware that shopping apps can collect a lot of information, like your name, address, phone number, email, and Social Security number. Look for apps that tell you what they do with your data, and how they keep it secure.
Check out product warranties. Although not required by law, warranties come with most major purchases.
Don’t give out personal information for a chance to win the newest tech toy or a free gift card. Your information can be sold or used to commit identity theft.
Look for rebates. Some can be redeemed at checkout, but most require you to send documentation to the manufacturer to get your rebate.
When shopping online, keep copies of your order number, the refund and return policies, shipping costs and warranties.
If money’s tight, consider layaway. You typically make a deposit and pay over time; the retailer holds the merchandise until you’ve paid for the item in full.
Shipping to loved ones overseas? Check the U.S. Postal Service’s calendar for shipping deadlines.
‘Tis the season to be wary, especially of charities that don’t — or won’t — provide key information in writing. Search the name of the organization online. Use the words “complaints” or “scam.”