This year’s Holiday shopping experience may be unlike those we have experienced in the past due to low supplies. Many of the goods we are purchasing are in limited supply because importing goods is difficult and factories have fewer workers to produce the large quantities of goods. You should expect that some things will run out before Christmas. My advice is if you really want a certain item, it’s best to buy it now, or you risk having it sell out. With this in mind here are a few tips to help you get a handle on your holiday shopping and save some money!
8 Tips to Save During Holidays
1. Gather Holiday Wish Lists
Know what you need before you go shopping. Sometimes I forget to make a list, and when I shop I miss some of the things I need. Gathering family members’ wish lists ahead of time will help you pin down what you are looking for and ultimately save you time and money. This is especially important to do early this year because some of those with list items may not be in stock if you wait until a couple of weeks before Christmas.
Pro Tip: If you are purchasing a bigger item and want to buy it before black Friday in case it sells out, look for stores that will refund if that item goes on sale on black Friday. Best buy does this for their products.
2. Make a Holiday Shopping Budget
Once you know what you are looking for, decide what your spending limit will be. Once that limit is decided stay committed to that limit and be creative. You’ll be surprised what you can get with your budget when you are committed. If you don’t have enough for EVERYTHING you want consider making some homemade gifts.
If you are unsure how to make a Holiday budget first start by listing the categories where you will be spending. Here are some examples: Holiday decor, groceries (for Holiday meals and any snacks you like during the Holidays), neighbor, friend, co-worker, and family gifts, white elephant gift exchange (if you are planning to attend a Holiday party they often have some sort of Holiday gift exchange) and lastly the cost for travel if you plan to spend Holidays somewhere else other than your home.
3. Collect Store Holiday Deals Info and Offers
In the mail look for holiday mailers, discount offers, and coupons. Discount department stores and your favorite stores will likely be sending coupon postcards and store holiday catalogs and shopping guides that will help you to know what deals will be out there. Study these. Save coupon codes and be aware of any expiration dates and important offer details.
4. Signup for Discounts and Coupons From Your Favorite Stores
If you haven’t already, now is the time to signup for deal alerts via text, email, or mail. Stores know it is the season of shopping so they will compete for your dollar by sending you information about deals, coupons, and offers. Take advantage of those deals by being aware of what deals are out there, and getting the best deal for your items.
5. Holiday Shopping | Rakuten
Sign up for Rakuten (it’s free) and they will pay you to shop. Yes, you heard that right. So if you haven’t already signed up for an account, now is a great time. If you shop your favorite stores through their app you can get anywhere from 1% to 13% cashback for your purchases. Not bad, right? And they’ll pay you immediate cashback just for signing up!
6. Holiday Shopping | Store Credit Cards
Only sign up if it makes sense for you. Most department stores or retail stores will offer an extra 30% of your purchase when you sign up for their store credit card. These savings can be awesome if stacked on clearance deals, coupon codes, and other offers. Just remember to pay off the card as soon as you can with your budgeted holiday funds. That way you avoid their astronomical interest rates (usually 25% APR!).
7. Holiday Shopping | Shop From Home
If you can avoid the crowds take advantage of FREE shipping offers and shop from home. If some of your deals are in-store only, brave the mayhem and do what you gotta do. But if not, shop from your bed in your PJs like me!
8. Holiday Shopping | Shop Months (Even a Year) In Advance
Last but not least, if you can, and if you know what you will be looking for ahead of time, shop in advance. This is one of the best ways to avoid the stress of holiday shopping.
Pro Tip: Shop at the very end of the season slash beginning of the next season to get extra savings on seasonal items that move to clearance.
How to Save Big on Clothes
Because kids grow like weeds and clothes shopping can get pricey, I shop for a size bigger in the off-season. This means I shop for winter clothes and shoes at the beginning of Spring (e.g. in around March), summer gear in Fall (e.g. end of August, beginning of September), and so forth. I save because I am buying the times they are moving out into the clearance to make room for new products.
If done right, you can get clothes, shoes, and gear up to 80% and 90% off!! I’ve saved myself hundreds of dollars shopping this way.
I save these clothes in bins and gift them to my kids for their birthdays and Christmas months later. And if my kids start growing extra fast and they are running out of clothes, I can pull out those bins and have brand new (but heavily discounted clothes to supplement their wardrobe.
Holiday Shopping for Toys
The same principle holds true for toys. Sometimes the best deals come after the holidays. I’ve even heard of families celebrating Christmas in January because they do all their shopping during the AFTER HOLIDAY clearance sales! Kudos to them. If you are watchful throughout the year, you might find deep discounted children’s toys in Spring, Summer, and even Fall. Make sure you have a good way to hide these toys, or they might get opened by little treasure-hunters before Christmas. Buy next year’s Stocking Stuffers early
What are some of your holiday shopping strategies? Do you like to brave the crowds? Comment below!