Shopping during the holidays is never easy. In fact, it’s usually frantic non-stop get this get that until the last minute. But what if you could do just a couple things different that may save you both time and money? Life’s all about efficiencies and conveniences, so let’s get to it!
1. Shop early, and stick to your budget
Let’s say you budget $50 a person. You find the perfect $40 gift a few months ahead of schedule, which leaves you with $10 to find something else. Be careful, because it’s easier to spend more than $10 later down the road since the mentality becomes, “oh, it’s only $15 or $20, that doesn’t seem too bad!” Before you know it, you’ll go over your budget in no time with that thinking! Sticking to a budget is essential, but as good as buying in advance is, it can make you spend more down the road, so watch out for speed bumps!
2. Sign up for department store credit cards
You know those department stores that offer discounts for signing up for a credit card? Most people advise to stay away from signing up, but we say go full steam ahead! You’d have to be crazy not to get that extra 15% or even 20%! If you’re going to choose this route this holiday, then make sure you pay your balance off in full so your savings don’t go to waste. One helpful tip we recommend is to keep a list of any cards you signed up for, and make sure that you pay those credit cards off first.
3. Window Shop on the Web
Shopping at the mall during the holidays is always a magical time, but you should be careful about falling into the purchase trap. Sure, you may be able to get everything in one fell swoop, but at what cost, literally? Say you see something amazing in store, or you have a good idea of what someone wants. If money means something to you, you’ll want to see what sort of deals you can find online before you purchase anything in store, or at the mall.
4. Black Friday or Cyber Monday? How about both
It’s a battle of the deals! Do you shop on Friday, or on Monday? We suggest looking for the best deals on both days, as it seems that certain gifts are less expensive on one day as opposed to the other. We’re not sure about you, but we prefer to spend all of Thanksgiving with family and friends, not Friday and Monday are free game. If you haven’t heard of Cyber Monday by now, you absolutely need to take a look this year.
5. Go for Credit Card Bonus Points
You know those credit cards that award you with an insane amount of bonus points if you spend a certain amount of money in a certain amount of time? Well, we encourage you to look into that deal further. Some rewards travel cards will allow you to earn 25,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in a 3-month billing period. All you have to do is spend the money in the allotted time, and you’ll receive the points. The best part? You can take those bonus points, and use them to redeem gift cards. Generally speaking, 25,000 points equals out to $250 in gift cards.
6. Shop for value
The most expensive item isn’t always the best. Sometimes, you can save a ton of money by buying items that don’t cost as much, but still have a great value. Take Z-Grip Ballpoint Pens for example, a practical gift that will last a long time, and you won’t break the bank.
7. Get on those mailing lists
No one loves receiving too many emails, but when the time is right, the time is right! Some companies will even offer you a nice perk, like a 10% discount on a purchase, just for signing up! Then you’ll receive emails from time to time that have the best deals offered.
8. Don’t forget to enjoy the other joys of Christmas
Curl up by the fireplace for a movie night, or prepare for a fun game night. Of course, you could always settle for the traditional movies, like Miracle on 34th street, A Christmas Story, Home Alone, and then there’s the Hallmark movies or others like them.
9. Give to the less fortunate
Christmas shouldn’t only be able giving to those closest to you. Humans feel a deep sense of purpose when they give to others. Consider giving a small, or large, gift to a charitable organization that you believe in, or even get your neighbor a nice gift for their family to enjoy. It isn’t too much to ask for, now is it?
10. Buy Christmas Décor AFTER Christmas
One of our most favorite tips is to purchase all holiday décor after it goes on sale, which is always after the holidays! Sure, it may take a year or two to get ahead of the game, but you’ll be able to buy stuff at a highly discounted rate, which won’t put as severe as a dent in your overall spending budget. Practically everything goes on sale in an effort to remove all holiday items from the store. But you have to do it soon after the holiday! Even a couple days makes a huge difference in availability of items.