Every year, millions of Americans drive themselves further into debt buying gifts for others, which certainly puts a damper on holiday cheer and the Christmas spirit. But holiday shopping doesn’t have to destroy your budget. With a little advanced planning and ingenuity you can save lots of money as you check items off of your Christmas list. Here are the best ways to save money on your holiday shopping:
Plan In Advance
It may sound boring, tedious, and stressful, but advance planning will help you determine exactly how much you are spending. If you have an actual Christmas shopping list, you’re less likely to fall for impulse buys and more likely to recognize when something really is a good bargain. Additionally, if you have a list, you can plan when and how to buy things rather than just buying willy-nilly and hoping for the best.
Shopping online not only helps you to avoid mall traffic and stress; it can also help you save hundreds of dollars. Shopping online allows you to comparison shop between several retailers without leaving your house, and most retailers have online discounts that aren’t available in stores. When shopping online, it’s best to buy everything you need from a particular retailer at one time. For example, let’s say you need to buy several gifts from different people from Amazon.com. You will save money on shipping and may even be offered special discounts if you buy all of these items at once rather than spacing them out over several weeks.
Don’t Underestimate the Dollar Store
The Dollar Store is a holiday stop that should be on everyone’s list. You can get cheap packaging and holiday decorations here. It’s also an excellent stop for office presents or presents for acquaintances. Buy a few lotions, candles, or other luxury items, throw them together into a pretty basket, and voila! You’ve got a great gift for under five dollars. The Dollar Store also has some great children’s toys, so if there’s a child on your list or you’re looking for quick and easy stocking stuffers, don’t discount the Dollar Store.
Use Online Coupons
You can find a coupon or discount code for virtually anything if you’re willing to search for it, and that five second search could save you major cash. Check out websites like Retail Me Not for fantastic holiday coupons and discounts that you may not be able to find in stores.
Know About Discount Days
Black Friday really does offer some excellent deals, and with all the giveaways, you may be able to get some free gifts or stocking stuffers. But there are other excellent holiday shopping sale days. Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving and is prime time to get good deals online. And the Saturday before Christmas is typically the day that most retailers mark items down to the lowest price they’re willing to sell them for.
Take Advantage of Freebies
Wrapping presents and paying for shipping can slowly add up. Many retailers offer free gift wrapping. Even though it might take a few extra minutes, take advantage of this service. It will save you time when it comes down to the last minute, and you’ll save money on wrapping paper as well. Many retailers also offer free shipping during the last week of holiday and Christmas shopping. Check out Free Shipping Day for a list of retailers offering free shipping.