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Online shopping
Surasak_Ch / Shutterstock

Look, Amazon is great for retail therapy: You can get everything you want all in one place, and you’ll likely qualify for free shipping.

But Amazon doesn’t always have the lowest prices, and a lot of people end up overspending for the sake of convenience.

If you want to save yourself some money and the trouble of price checking, you can use a browser extension called Capital One Shopping to automatically scan for better deals and coupon codes whenever you shop online.

It also lets you set price-drop alerts for your wishlist, so any time one of your must-have items goes on sale somewhere, you’ll get an email letting you know.

Capital One Shopping is free to download, only takes a few seconds to install, and you don’t have to be a Capital One customer to use it.

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Earn cash back on your groceries

Grocery shopping in mask
Elizaveta Galitckaia / Shutterstock

Retail therapy isn’t limited to clothes and electronics. Some of us do our stress-shopping at the grocery store, then transition to stress-eating once we get it all home.

It’s especially tempting around election time, as shelves are still stocked with heavily discounted Halloween candy.

While we encourage you to indulge in moderation, if you’re planning to ease your election anxiety at the supermarket, you should at least make sure you’re earning cash back on your purchases.

A free app called Fetch will give you cash-back rewards just for snapping a photo of your receipt.

You can use Fetch at virtually any grocery store and also many convenience stores, liquor stores and big-box retailers.

And don’t worry if you buy your groceries online these days. You can connect Fetch to your email or Amazon account and earn points on your digital receipts as well.

Make use of free gift cards

Using gift card
begalphoto / Shutterstock

Whether you’re treating yourself or just doing your regular holiday shopping, it’s always nice when you can cut down on your expenses by using a gift card.

The website Swagbucks allows you to earn free gift cards just by doing the stuff you normally do on the internet: watching videos, answering surveys and even shopping.

That’s right, you can get gift cards for stores like Walmart and Amazon just by shopping at those very same stores.

Swagbucks is available on your desktop as a browser extension or on your phone as an app, and signing up only takes a few minutes.

There’s no minimum time commitment, so you can earn rewards at your own pace no matter where you are — at home, at work or even waiting in the checkout line.

How to get a free $20 to invest in your future

An app called Acorns automatically rounds up purchases made on your credit or debit card to the nearest dollar and places the excess "change" into a smart investment portfolio. Acorns offers a $20 welcome bonus, immediately from your first investment.

Get $20

Pay off your balance ASAP

Paying off credit card balance
eggeegg / Shutterstock

While a little retail therapy is OK, overindulging can send your credit card balance soaring. Once you’ve got all the self-care shopping out of your system, make sure to pay off as much of your credit card bill as you can.

Why? Besides the high interest rate on most credit cards, your credit utilization — the amount of credit you’re using at any given time — has a direct impact on your credit score.

A low credit score will make it harder for you to qualify for new credit cards in the future and also increase the amount of interest you’ll have to pay on a car loan or mortgage.

If you haven’t checked your credit score in a while (or ever), you can view it for free online using Credit Sesame.

It only takes a few minutes to check your score, and if it’s lower than average, Credit Sesame will send you personalized recommendations on how to pump it up.

Trade in your debt

Woman with multiple credit cards
P Stock / Shutterstock

If your election spending spree ends up aggravating an already high credit card balance, you may need to consolidate your debt with a personal loan.

A high balance on multiple credit cards means you’re likely racking up a mountain of interest. By paying off your high-interest cards with a single low-interest loan, you can become debt free a lot sooner. You’ll also only have one monthly payment to worry about.

The site Credible will let you compare quotes from multiple lenders, helping you find the best rate on a personal loan.

Shopping around for rates with Credible is totally free, and it could save you hundreds — maybe even thousands — in interest.


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About the Author

Shane Murphy

Shane Murphy


Shane is a reporter for MoneyWise. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Language & Literature from Western University and is a graduate of the Algonquin College Scriptwriting program.

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