With a quick search online, you can find hundreds of holiday savings tips. Most are perfectly sensible, but not always realistic.
You’ll see tips like:
- Set cash aside for each person on your gift list
- Make gifts for family and friends
- Delay your holiday celebration and buy gifts when they’re on sale
Which makes me think:
- I’ve tried setting cash aside. It’s a great concept, but I’ve also “borrowed” from that cash and never paid it back.
- There are certainly crafty people who can make awesome gifts, but let’s face it; most of us don’t have the time, skill or inclination to even try.
- Delay the celebration? Who wants to look their family in the face and propose that idea?
But don’t worry; there are things you can do to save during the holidays. Start by trying to plan ahead and find good deals. Everyone intends to do that, but stores are packed with last-minute shoppers every year. So, check out these (hopefully) practical and achievable ways to enjoy holiday savings.
Make A List
Alright, this one isn’t always easy, but creating a list of people you plan to shop for does help. How many times have you come home from a shopping spree thinking you’re finally finished, just to realize you have one more person to buy for? If nothing else, a list saves you time and extra trips to the store – which also saves gas and frustration.
Making a list has another advantage. As you write names, sometimes gift ideas jump into your mind. Adding these ideas to your list makes it easier to finish your shopping, and to use some of the tips below. Sure, you’ll have to go out and look around to come up with gift ideas for some people. That’s fine, but try to remember to write down every gift you buy, or at least cross people off the list when you’re done. It will help you avoid buying extra gifts.
Coupons, Coupons, Coupons
Cutting coupons has always been a great way to save, but it used to be a time-consuming process. You’d have to cut out each coupon and try to keep track of them all. These days, it’s much easier.
Start by visiting an online coupon site like ShopAtHome.com. These sites have thousands of coupons that help you save big during the holidays and all year long. If you prefer to hit the stores instead of shopping online, take the coupons with you on your smart phone. Download a free app that saves coupons on your mobile device so you can get great discounts without holding on to tiny pieces of paper.
Find Free Shipping
If shopping online is your thing, then you already know it’s essential to pay attention to shipping costs. Ever start to buy something and then realize the price of delivery is more than the item?
Many sites offer free shipping if you spend $50 or more. Some offer free shipping no matter how much, or how little, you buy. Do a search for the item(s) you want and add “free shipping” to see which retailers will send it to you at no additional cost.
A rewards membership is something you can use throughout the year. And it really comes in handy during the holidays. Here’s how it works: you sign up for a membership (usually for a low monthly fee) and then you get great deals for shopping online, cash back offers, extended warranties and other premium perks.
There are several rewards programs out there. Find one you like, and look for feedback from people who have used it. Reading about other people’s experiences can help you steer clear of bad deals and find a membership that works for you.
How much of your holiday budget goes to greeting cards? And how many people receive your cards, smile, then throw them away? You can save money, and paper, by sending e-cards. There are hundreds of sites that offer free cards. Most let you personalize them with a note, which also saves you from hand-writing dozens of cards.
Of course there is something to be said for handing out or sending cards through the mail. You can decide who gets a physical card and who might prefer a digital version. But each person on the e-card list saves you a little more holiday money.
It’s happened to all of us. We’ve all been in a store gripping an item and agonizing about whether or not to buy it immediately. We wonder if we’re getting the best deal or if we’ll find a better price at our next stop. Used to be there was no way to know for sure.
These days you can price check ahead of time, or from wherever you are. If you’re shopping online, visit a price comparison site like Nextag. The site shows you who has the item you want and gives you a list of prices. It even tells you if a seller offers free shipping.
Don’t have time to compare online? No problem, there’s an app for that. Download a free price comparison app that shows you who has the best deals in town. The next time you’re fiercely clutching a potential purchase, you can find out if you should run to the register or hold off. Oh, and use your phone to call the competition and make sure they actually have what you want. The lowest price does no good if your item isn’t in stock.
For most of us, the holidays are an expensive time of year. We don’t have much money to spare, so we’re always looking for ways to save. Figure out which holiday savings tips work for you, and have a happy but financially reasonable holiday season.
The PeopleFinders People Search Blog
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