The holiday season can be a real budget buster if you let it. That’s why you need a gift-giving plan and a plan to figure out how to afford the holidays.
Of course, all that planning doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to shop smarter for the holidays. That’s where I can help.
How to Shop Smarter for the Holidays
Shop year round.
Savvy shoppers know that the key to saving on gifts is to shop year around. You’ll be able to pick up quality items as you find them on sale. And by spreading out your shopping, it will be easier to pay for it and less stressful. Shop all year, and you’ll be able to relax when everyone else is running around the mall.
Shop the sales.
Never pay full price! Pay attention to the sales throughout the year. You can pick up great items on holiday decor at the holiday clearance sales. Then just store them away until the next holiday season. Kids’ toys typically go on sale in late summer as retailers scramble to clear shelves for the hot new toys for Christmas. Keep an eye out on sales around other holidays (like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day) to stock up on gifts for the Christmas season.
Use coupons and coupon codes.
Pair those sales with coupons for even more savings. Many department stores offer coupons to customers on their mailing lists. Printable coupons can help you trim the costs of your holiday meals. And online coupon codes can score big discounts and free shipping.
Use cash back sites.
If you’re shopping online, be sure to use a cash back shopping site like Ebates. Every time you shop through Ebates, you’ll earn up to 40% cash back on your purchases. When you’re stretching your shopping budget, every little bit of savings helps. Use smartphone apps like Ibotta, Jingit and Checkout 51 to earn cash back on your holiday grocery shopping.
Buy secondhand when you can.
Not every gift you buy has to be brand new. Sometimes it makes sense to give used gifts. You could re-gift something you no longer need. You could also shop at thrift stores, estate sales, and eBay for thoughtful gifts. You’ll save money and give new life to old items.
Consider consumable gifts.
Some people are just impossible to shop for. In those cases, think consumable gifts. Buy (or make) tasty treats or hand-crafted items. Pamper them with special soaps or lotions you’ve bought on sale with coupons. Fill a basket with all the snacks needed for a movie night at home. Consumable gifts can be affordable when you score deals and they don’t clutter up the recipient’s home.
Buy gift cards.
During the holiday season, you can usually find special bonus offers when you buy gift cards. For example, you might get a $10 gift card when you purchase a $50 gift card. Use those deals to stock up on gift cards for gifts. You can also buy discounted gift cards through Raise. Use the gift cards as the gift, or use them to buy the gifts.
Get gift receipts when possible.
There’s nothing worse than duplicating a gift or getting someone the wrong size. Gift receipts make it easy for gift recipients to exchange their gifts. You get the joy of giving the gift, and they get the joy of getting what they really want without hurting your feelings. It’s especially a good idea to get receipts for gift cards in case because then you’ll have proof of purchase if there’s an problem activating the card when you buy it.
Buy the best quality you can afford.
Don’t give gifts just to give gifts. Buy (or make) a gift that is the best quality you can afford. It will last much longer and probably won’t end up buried in a closet.
Avoid purchases with additional costs.
Buy things that don’t need a lot of financial upkeep. That means avoiding things that need batteries or special accessories. Things that cost a lot to operate tend to be gifts that no one uses.
Focus on experiences instead of a traditional gift.
Not all gifts have to be things. Instead of racing around the mall trying to find the perfect gift, make a plan to spend time with your loved one. Arrange a meal together or a special outing. You can shop for discounts on those experiences through sites like Groupon or LivingSocial, and not have to worry about gift wrapping or gift clutter.
Shop smarter for the holidays and save more.
Using these ideas will help you save money and make the holiday season one simpler, too.
What are some ways you shop smarter during the holiday season?
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