So, it looks like we're still gonna celebrate the holiday season this year right? Covid-19 hasn't taken that from us, right? Thankfully, no. BUT, the pandemic this year has been harder on East Texans financially. Shopping smarter for the holidays is just...well, the "smart" thing to do.

A recent study revealed that over half of Americans are already beginning the long trek that is the holiday shopping journey. Many usually look forward to big savings days like Black Friday to buy some of their larger items. However, that's looking a bit different this year. But, there are some ways you can start getting the most for your hard earned dollars right now.

Shopping Apps. While we don't want to overcrowd our devices with apps that we don't use regularly, it may not be a bad idea to download a few to help you for the season. A couple of options: BuyVia, Shopular, and ShopSavvy will allow you to scan QR codes or bar codes and will then help you find discounts, coupons, or just compare prices.

Store Policies. Speaking of comparing prices or getting the best deal possible, it may be helpful to check out a store's policies. Some of them offer a price-match policy.

Loyalty Programs. Sometimes I hesitate to sign up for some of these, but the truth is, when it comes to a heavy shopping season, they can be helpful. You can receive specials alerts about promotions or earn rewards. You can always "unjoin" later if you'd like.

Ah, Social Media. However plugged in to social media you may or may not be, nowadays retailers use it to promote special deals and exclusive sales you don't want to miss. Go find your favorite stores' pages and see what deals you can get. Even if you've never shopped online before, this may be a good year to delve into it.

Check with East Texas businesses you love and see what online options they offer.

Ready to delve deeper into holiday shopping savvy-ness? Check out this helpful list from Moneycrashers.com. 

Oh and, if you are venturing out--be sure and keep that mask handy. ;)