Admit it, you need holiday shopping tips to save money and keep your sanity. Everyone does. Holiday shopping is stressful and sucks all the cash from your wallet faster than a Dyson vacuum cleaner. If you’re like I was years ago, you race off to the store, buy whatever looks good, and get out of dodge. Once you get home, however, you realize you need to make another trip to the store. But, you don’t. Instead, you put it off until Christmas Eve, facing off against the gauntlet of holiday shoppers who also procrastinated. When it’s all over, your bank account hurts harder than a punch in the face by Mike Tyson.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way. All you have to do is make a few changes, follow these financial tips for the holidays, and Christmas shopping can be easy, quick, and might even save you a few bucks along the way. Ready to be a better shopper and tackle your holiday shopping like a boss? Then check out these Holiday Shopping Tips To Save Money and Keep Your Sanity!
Make a budget.
It might sound lame, boring, and the epitome of “adulting,” but I implore you to make a budget. This goes double for all of you who want to use credit cards during holiday shopping. Budgets are relatively easy to make. Find out how much you can set aside for shopping, and set limits for each person you’re shopping for.
If you stick to the budget, you’ll be surprised how much harder you’ll look for deals that fit your price range. Those who budget well also find they save money by being under-budget.
Don't use a credit card without a budget.
If you don’t follow the first step of making a budget before you shop, then definitely don’t use a credit card. Impulse buying is way too easy while using credit cards, and your bill will be monstrous when the holidays are over. You don’t want that kind of stress. So, before you use a credit card, budget your money.
I can’t stress enough the importance of being organized and prepared before you hop in the car and drive off to the nearest mall. First, make a checklist of the items you need and the stores that’ll provide them.
Then, plan and strategize your trip around saving gas and time rather than driving all over the place. Driving from place to place will only suck up valuable time you could be using for other things. You can easily plot out your trip using Google Maps.
Save gas by shopping online.
In this day and age, it might sound like a no-brainer to shop online for the holidays, and it’s probably something you’re already doing, but you might be surprised how easy it is to forget this option, especially for certain items.
Shopping online has the unique benefit of saving you time and gas money. You don’t have to wait in line at the checkout or drive all over the place to find something. Whatever you do, don’t buy something that doesn’t have free shipping.
The biggest downside to online shopping is not being able to see the product before you buy it. Sure, product reviews help, but they’re not a sure-fire way to know if its a good product or not. Keep that in mind before you pull the trigger.
Watch the scanned prices.
For a long time, the last thing I paid attention to was if the products rang up correctly at checkout. Tired and eager to be done shopping, I just wanted to go home. Big mistake.
Anytime you checkout at the store, watch and double check that the prices are scanned correctly. Sometimes it won’t give you the sale price, while other times you might have been bamboozled into thinking you were getting a sale when, in fact, you weren’t.
Sometimes they don’t show you an itemized list at checkout but just the total cost; best way to know things are adding up is to add up the prices before you reach the checkout counter.
Remember the gift receipt.
Take it from someone who hates collecting receipts and recoils when they’re offered, it’s important to ask for both a receipt and gift receipt. Sometimes they don’t offer them to you, and you have to ask for it. Don’t forget. Though it’s not polite to say out loud, everyone wants a gift receipt and internally sighs in relief when they see it inside the gift box.
Be wary of shopping apps.
Shopping apps abound, telling you they have great products and the best deals, but in reality, they really just want to harvest your information. Before you download any shopping apps, check what information and permission they’re requesting. A little research on the app you’re thinking about installing doesn’t hurt.
Look online for promo codes.
Whether at Groupon, RetailMeNot, or some other website, several sites have coupons and promo codes available for free. Sometimes, all it takes is to search for the product you want a deal on and see if it has a promo code available.
Remember wrapping paper and cards.
Along with remembering the gift receipts, you’ll want to load up on wrapping paper and cards. Even if you have extra at home, it doesn’t hurt to purchase a new roll of fresh wrapping paper and a couple good cards. These items are the easiest to find and pick out but also to forget. So, don’t be like me, get home, and cry out in frustration that you forgot the wrapping paper.
A majority of Christmas presents are things you put under tree. They don’t last, though, and face it, most of the stuff we give for Christmas is shoved in a closet or replaced after a year. Rather, buy experiences for your friends and family like tickets to a Broadway show or maybe those guitar lessons your son has been begging you for. Experiences last a lifetime.
Shop on the weekdays.
Stores are rarely empty during the holidays. You’ll likely face longer lines and swerve around more people than usual. However, as a rule of thumb, shopping on the weekdays is much less crowded than on the weekends. Avoid the crowds and lower your stress levels in the process.
Avoid sketchy websites.
Much like shopping apps, many websites prey on shoppers searching for the best deals online. It’s easy to fall for a scam or a shoddy business when they wave a cheap price in your face. Don’t fall for it. Before you click or buy something, research the business first on the Better Business Bureau and other websites that help identify scams or predatory businesses.
It’s no secret most holiday shoppers procrastinate. Don’t be one of them. The longer you wait, the busier stores will become. You’ll likely be more stressed and make poor purchasing decisions. When you’re under the gun and need to buy something, you spend more as a result. So, shop early, get it over with, and breathe easy for the rest of the holiday season.
Negotiate with the sales associates.
Look, this won’t work at Target, but if you’re shopping at a store with sales associates that make a commission, then make friends and charm them. They want to make a sale and you want to make a deal. It’s in both your interests to find something. Ask them about their current sales and deals and see if you can negotiate the price.
Be wary of discounts.
Many retailers are masters of psychology and know how to make a deal look good when, frankly, it’s garbage. Don’t buy stuff you never intended to buy because there’s a $10 gift card in the deal. Approach all discounts, sales, and deals with suspicion and be sure you’re really saving money on the purchase.
Buy a discounted gift card.
Imagine if you went to the bank and exchanged $85 for $100. That’s a great deal, right? It works the same for discounted gift cards. You buy a $100 for cheaper than the value of the card, giving you more bang for your buck.
Don’t forget your credit card points.
For those of you who budget and use credit cards responsibly, don’t forget your credit card points. It’s easy to use credit cards month after month and forget about them. If you’ve saved up enough points, use them on gift cards or to pay off purchases. They’ll come in handy when your budget is tight.
If you like reading about shopping, then you have to check out 25 Crazy Ways Amazon Changed Shopping!