10 Ways to Save on Holiday Shopping
We can all agree that holiday shopping gets costly, and while gift cards can make good gifts, they're not always the best choice. According to statistics, retailers reportedly make billions of dollars a year on unused gift cards. This means that you could end up wasting your money on a gift that they won’t find useful.
Not to worry. If you keep reading, you will learn 10 surefire ways that you can cut down on holiday shopping costs while getting everyone something they love.
Make a List & Check It Twice
Santa shouldn’t be the only one making a list of people who’ll be getting presents this Christmas. Just as grocery lists help you remember the things to pick up from the supermarket, creating a Christmas shopping list helps you plan out who to purchase gifts for. Writing your list out is a win-win, as it will give you an idea of how much money to set aside for shopping and it will prevent you from forgetting anyone.
Set a Budget
Setting a budget and sticking to it will prevent you from feeling the wrath of holiday debt as you head into the New Year. It'll also save you any awkward moments at the register when you realize you don’t have enough to cover your gift shopping. If you own an iPhone, a great app from Mint Personal Finance will help you keep track of your holiday spending. This free app will give you real-time updates from your bank or credit account as you shop. This will help cut down on the time needed to stop your shopping to input information yourself, and most importantly, it will help you keep to your budget.
Here’s when window shopping pays off!. Although it may be easy to get all of your items from one store, it may not be cost efficient. The best way to compare prices before heading out to the store or emptying your cart online is to Google the item and see what other retailers are selling them for. This is also great if you want to purchase an item from a retailer that offers price matching. For example, Bed Bath & Beyond offers a price match guarantee in the event that you find a lower price for the exact same item at one of their competitors. With this in mind, be sure to compare prices and purchase from the retailer that offers the best deal on the product you want.
Research Before You Purchase
Look up reviews for your gift ideas before you purchase them. You can easily find reviews online at places like Amazon.com and ConsumerReports.org. Consumer Reports offers tons of unbiased reviews on everything from electronics to baby furniture, and will let you know if a product that you are thinking of purchasing as a gift is really worth the cash or the time spent getting it.
Subscribe for Newsletters
Many retailers offer exclusive coupons to email subscribers and announce secret sales that non-subscribers would have no clue about. If you are worried about retailers filling your email inbox with their updates, create an email account specifically for retailer newsletters. This will keep your personal inbox uncluttered and will keep your exclusive email updates all in one place so that they are easily accessible.
Make Your Gift
If you are interested in giving a one-of-a-kind gift, consider making your own gifts this year. There are plenty of DIY websites and YouTube channels that can help with ideas and give detailed instructions on creating gift items from knitwear to beauty products. For instance, you can create yummy body butters, lotions or aftershave and fill them in mason jars ($18.99). On your mason jar, include a personalized note with a unique message that you know will touch their hearts.
Give Treats in Place of Gifts
A basket full of freshly made holiday cookies, chocolate covered fruit or even wine and cheese can be a fun gift and will assist with cutting down on the cost – and stress – of holiday gift shopping. You can even get creative and include a handmade recipe book. Most items can be found at your local grocery store.
The great part about shopping locally is that you will be supporting small business owners who will appreciate your business the most this holiday season. In addition to buying your items at reasonable prices, when you shop locally, shop owners are usually open to negotiating the price.
Get Thrifty at Thrift Stores
You can gift family and friends with not only clothing and accessories, but home décor items found at thrift shops. Stores like Buffalo Exchange and the Goodwill offer donated fashion items, sometimes high-end name brands, at more than half the original selling price.
Shop from Major Retailers Online
Major retailers like Target and Walmart offer online-only deals that are sometimes sold at a reduced price. If you plan to shop exclusively from retailers online, be sure they offer free shipping or a low enough free shipping threshold that won’t cause you to overspend.
With the above tips, you’ll be able to enjoy your holiday season knowing that you were able to buy gifts that everyone loved while also cutting down on holiday costs.