I always grip and complain when the holiday shopping season kicks off. I first think we need to set our wallets aside and remember and celebrate the real meaning of Christmas, however I know buying gifts is eventually a given. So, my old saying goes, if you are going to shop during the holiday season then you might as well save a few dollars here and there! Below you will see my five great tips while shopping this holiday season. These tips should save you time and money when it comes to spending this year.
Tip 1 – Sales Ad’s
If you have never looked through a sales ad I suggest this year you do. Every year that I go shopping for black Friday I make sure I gather all the store ad’s that I would like to shop at. Once, the ad has been glanced over, I circle with the big black permanent marker what items I want. After that, I go back and mark them 1, 2, 3 and so on in the line of what I need to get first. Which item is the most important.
Tip 2 – Coupons
The best thing in life that was invented for shoppers are coupons. I live by these little suckers and suggest anyone who is trying to look for a good holiday bargain to do the same thing. You can really rack up on the savings when you go to a store and for example want to buy a pair of jeans that are already price down to $18, and then you pull out your coupons for another $5 off. The extra money can now be used for another present! If you do not know where to get some great coupons the first look at your local paper. After that, head over to www.retailmenot.com for some great on line and in store coupons.
Tip 3 – Name Brands
Okay, so when I used that as title I imagine you thought that I would tell you that you need to get the name brand items, but no, I do not believe in the name brand items. I refuse to pay an extra $50 plus to get an item just because it has a name that everyone is familiar with sown into that inside tag. I just don’t understand why people have to have the name brand items when you can get just the same quality on a thing at half the price because you buy the off brand item. For example, in Wal-mart there are toys that my little 1 year old will be getting and no they are not the Fisher Price toys, but they are called Baby Genius. This is a new brand of toy line that came out a few years ago that offer the exact same toy as the name brands but at half the price. It is great to save a few dollars where you can and still getting the exact same thing!
Tip 4 – Don’t Just Buy To Buy
I understand that all kids look at quantity instead of quality and the more gifts they get the better their Christmas is to them. I was one of those kids. I counted the presents under the tree every night to make sure there were more then there was the day before. Now that I am a mother and a mother on a budget, my train of thought is completely different. I have my oldest child make a list out for Santa. It will usually be around a full sheet long. I usually will pick the first thing on the list, the middle item and the last item on his list to place in the “Must Buy” category. I know that those three gifts are the most important. I will not just walk up and down isles and find something I think my son will like just to get him something. I also will make sure that after those main items are purchased and if the budget allows, I will buy two or three more things if money allows. I also do not over buy for my children anymore. Trust me, they do get to a point where they get tired of opening presents!
Tip 5 – Lists
The idea of lists can get overwhelming, however when you plan ahead you are making sure you do not forget anyone you need to shop for. However, there is a little more then just writing down “Mom – socks” when it comes to creating your lists. First, I like to have a shopping list pad in front of me, with my store ad’s and coupons. I mark down the main person I need to buy for. Everyone else on the lists will go on their own sheet of paper and rank from most important to least important. I do this because I want to make sure if I get half way down my list that I have bought the most important people in case my money runs out. If I do not end up having enough money for Jane down the street, it will be okay. Next, I place on their individual lists the things I really need to get them. The 3 important items. Mark that in green. The next three things are marked in yellow and the last are red. Yellow means If I have extra cash, I will come back and get them. Red means if the money is all gone, I believe they can live without this item. After I have all my lists complete, I mark next to the item which store I can find this item at the cheapest price. If I have a coupon for an item I circle the item on the list to remind myself this item can save me more money!
If you just think in advance, plan, and act smart about your shopping agenda, you can come out spending less money then intended this holiday season!