NEW YORK (WABC) -- You might groan seeing Christmas decorations in stores this early, but right now is actually a good time to start thinking about your holiday spending.
FIND FLIGHTS & BOOK FAST
If you're flying out to visit family during the holidays, start looking now and be prepared to book quick.
"It's usually book 6-8 weeks in advance. When it comes to the holidays those rules go out the window," said consumer expert Andrea Woroch. "You need to book it earlier and the longer you wait in October the more expensive they're going to become."
She suggests track flights to your destination using apps like Hopper. It will alert you when the price drops. She also suggests comparing prices to see if one way tickets are the same or cheaper and give you more flexibility.
Flights aren't the only thing you can track. Many apps allow you to follow gift costs.
USE PRICE TRACKING APPS & ALERTS
First up - Paribus. This free app actually scans your emails - just the subject and sender fields - to find out what you've bought and if the retailer drops the price just after you bought it. Paribus goes to work to get you an automatic refund for the price difference.
In addition to tracking prices, "Honey" automatically applies coupon codes from tens of thousands of shopping sites when you checkout online. Users can also collect Honey Gold, which can be redeemed for gift cards on Amazon and other major retailers.
The app Camel Camel Camel is an Amazon search engine. This free app also shows how the price of an item has gone up and down over time and will even alert you when a price drops below a certain amount - so you can scoop it up at a sale price.
Red Laser is another cool app which turns your smartphone into a scanner - just scan the bar codes and it will tell if the item is cheaper nearby.
And don't forget good old fashioned circulars. If you show up with a flyer from one store, you can get retailers to price beat the competition.
If you want to have more money to spend, the formula is simple: you need to earn more!
GET A SIDE HUSTLE
"You can dog sit or pet sit in your own home. You can make up to $1000 a month on sites like Rover.com," says Andrea. Rover.com allows pet lovers to make their own schedule. You can earn money on your lunch break.
Next, how about on your commute. Consider ride sharing if you drive a vehicle. "If you're driving home, running errands, flip on and make cash on those drives." says Andrea.
If you don't feel secure hauling strangers around, how about working from home. See what skills you can put to work on sites like Upwork, a global freelancing site, or Flexjobs, a site for part time, full time remote and flexible positions.
SPREAD OUT PURCHASES
Next, Andrea says you can save by shopping early. Holiday stuff is already out! She says some prices on items won't vary much over the next few months so spread out your purchases and take advantage of Columbus Day sales this weekend.
"There are sales already being released, this alleviates the stress of putting all your shopping on your last two paychecks and buying everything at once," warns Andrea.
And if you want to buy more stuff, look for stuff to sell.
Facebook Marketplace can help you make some dough for unwanted items in your friend community. And Andrea says selling, not trading in your old tech on eBay, will earn you the most extra cash.
"EBay just did a survey and the average person has two or more devices lying around the house, that's $700!", she says.
OPEN A BETTER SAVINGS ACCOUNT
If you have funds that are being left in a traditional bank account, you're leaving money on the table. Some online accounts offer rates of 2%, so you actually make something back on your savings. Make sure you research carefully.
CREDIT CARDS REWARDS
If you're good with managing credit, look for rewards cards which offer hefty sign up bonuses. Also, don't forget to cash in and redeem rewards you've earned since you usually have to do this online. But if you're bad with managing a credit card, don't take on new credit. Remember, introductory rates are enticing but will wallop you later!
SET GIFT EXPECTATIONS
Work it out now with family coworkers and friends. Maybe you and your siblings and cousins only buy for the kids. For work and friend groups, consider a Secret Santa or grab bags. They're so much fun and you'll save a ton of money.
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7 money moves to make right now to help avoid holiday debt later
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