Getting the perfect gift for your loved ones during the holidays is at the top of everyone’s list. With that being said, it can also be one of the most costly times of the year where people overspend and are left with debt to pay off. If you take the time to put forth some tips on saving and spending wisely, you do not have to go broke this holiday season and you may even come out happier in the end.
Below are 10 money saving tips for holiday shopping this year.
Come up with a budget
Going out holiday shopping without a budget can be disastrous. What may seem like great gifts that will put a smile on your loved one’s face may come to haunt you once you receive your credit card bill. Prior to starting your shopping, have a set dollar amount you want to spend and stick to it. Know your numbers for how much you want to spend overall and how much you want to spend on each person. This will help you stick to your budget once you are out shopping. One last thought, the gifts are not the only cost here. You have wrapping paper, winter activities and other miscellaneous expenses to keep in mind when drafting your budget.
Come up with a list and check it twice
Give thought to every person you wish to give a gift to, regardless of how small. Jot down what you have in mind for them along with the dollar amount you came up with on your budget. Also keep in mind to list people who you plan on giving out tips to. Perhaps your babysitter, mail carrier, garbage man etc.
Begin your shopping early
There is no need to wait until after Thanksgiving to get started with your holiday gift shopping. Keep an eye out all year long for things you are interested in purchasing. As December rolls around you will be relieved that you have some gifts already crossed off your list.
There are so many products on the market it is hard to know if you are buying the best one. This is where researching comes in. Check out sites like Amazon.com to read honest reviews on products you may be looking to buy. When it comes to finding the best price online, use a comparison shopping site like Pricegrabber.com.
Consider shopping on Black Friday
Some people will not dare go shopping on Black Friday, but truth be told, you can get some amazing deals depending on what you are looking for. You can get a head start by checking out Blackfriday.com beforehand. The website provides you with a compilation of every store offering black Friday and Cyber Monday deals that way you can plan out which stores you want to check out. As the popularity of Black Friday grows, you will often see businesses offering deals even prior to the day so keep your eyes open. Be vigilant though, some companies do not even lower their prices and if you don’t know the usual cost, you could get duped.
Shop on Cyber Monday
Cyber Monday debuted back in ’05 and has grown more popular each year. Without having to leave the comfort of your home you can enjoy tons of great deals like free shipping and steep discounts. You can also find the deals listed online at Cybermonday.com all year long but they update it accordingly for this special online shopping day.
Take advantage of free shipping
If you are a last minute shopper, consider waiting until December 15th this year to take advantage of free shipping day. Go on their website to see the 1000+ retailers offering free shipping on that day with delivery by Christmas Eve.
Consider giving homemade gifts
Homemade gifts are a joy to give and people love them. Just look at Etsy.com. If you have a creative flare, think about making gifts this year. Whether its cookies or jewelry, check out your local craft store and you are sure to get inspired. Better yet, check out any local classes and learn a new skill!
Skip the Latte and the lunch out
We have all heard about how much money can be saved by cutting down on your caffeine habit (hello $5 caramel macchiato). Just by cutting down and not necessarily stopping cold turkey, you can save upwards of a $1000 dollars over the course of the year. The same goes for that lunch out that is costing you anywhere from $10-$15 dollars. Brown bag it a few days a week and you have now doubled your savings. Start this in January and you will be good to go by the time the holidays roll around again.
Consider going cash only
With debit cards and credit cards offering convenience, safety and rewards in some cases, it is easy to spend too much. In order to lessen the stress, consider using only cash this holiday shopping season. You will be able to keep better track of your spending and resist the temptation to spend what you don’t have.