It’s OK if your Christmas gifts haven’t been wrapped and hiding in the attic since July, but with the holiday shopping season upon us, it’s time to get moving. Let’s get one thing straight though: Holiday crunch time is not synonymous with holiday blow-all-your-money time. Here are some tried and true ways you can save your budget and your sanity this season.
1. Make a list (and check it twice)
I learned this one from the big guy in the red suit. Before you step out the door to buy all the things, make a list of everyone — and I mean everyone, naughty and nice — you’re shopping for, and jot down some gift ideas. This will cut down on panic-induced impulse shopping.
2. Set a budget (and stick to it)
Overspending during the holidays is easy to do. I guarantee you can have plenty of merriness without breaking the bank. Using a debit or pre-paid card instead of a credit card can help you stick to your game plan.
3. Cautiously take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday
I love Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The energy! The excitement! Do your research ahead of time (check The Krazy Coupon Lady for tricks to save more), shop with a plan, and don’t get swept up in the moment and buy things you don’t want or need. Some retailers will let you stack coupons on top of sales, so be mindful of ways you can get even bigger discounts.
Tip: Other than some Walmarts, most stores don’t allow you to price-match Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday.
4. Use the Internet
I could go on and on about the ways you can use the Internet to help you save on your shopping, but here are a few of my favorite tips:
- Sign up for email lists to get discount coupon codes (Hint: Set up a special email account to use for email lists and keep your regular inbox clear).
- Follow brands on social media to learn about special discounts and sales.
- Use the live chat function on a website and ask a representative for a discount code.
- Search for promotional codes — a general Google search will do the trick, or you can hit up specific sites like RetailMeNot.com to search for online promo codes.
- Stack coupons with savings codes using apps like The Krazy Coupon Lady and Ibotta.
5. Take advantage of freebies
Some of my favorite budget-stretching freebies are free shipping, free gifts with purchase, free gift cards with the purchase of a gift card, and free gift-wrapping.
?6. Price check with the Amazon app
The Amazon app is basically like having a crystal ball in your pocket. It lets you scan an item in-store and see what it’s selling for on Amazon so you know what kind of a deal you’re really getting.
Tip: Signing up for Amazon Prime can get you free two-day shipping on countless products, which can be a lifesaver during the holidays.
7. Search for sales often
Many holiday sales only have a short, 24-48 hour life-span, so keep your eyes peeled for limited-time special offers and sales.
8. Check your credit card for deals
Many credit cards offer discounts anywhere from 5-10% cash back or points for using their card to shop online, and some even offer Small Business Saturday or other discounts. Check the rewards section of your credit card’s website for special offers.
9. Buy discount gift cards
You can save anywhere from 2-30% when you buy gift cards from discount sites like Raise.com. Sometimes the cards come as digital codes, and other times you will receive a physical gift card.
Using some of these tried-and-true savings tactics, as well as others found on TheKrazyCouponLady.com, you can take some of the stress and pinch out of your holiday shopping.