Just like Santa, you’ve made your list and checked it twice. You’ve axed who’s been naughty and kept who’s nice. Here’re some great ways to save money while you’re out and about shopping with your well-planned list and budget in mind.
The Best Shopping Tips To Keep You On Track, On Budget and Calm This Holiday Season
1. Shop Early
Shopping early is the best thing you can do to eliminate stress and have your best Holiday Season ever! Some argue if you shop too early you’ll miss all the great deals. In my experience, this simply isn’t true. Good deals are everywhere if you know where to look for them. Check out my What to Buy and Not to Buy This Month series to help with planning during the next month.
For example, I get regular coupons from Kohl’s, but I refuse to buy anything from Kohl’s until I receive my 30% off coupon in the mail. I typically get this coupon on every third coupon sent to my house. I pair it with the best deal I can find along with any money off coupons and as a result, have scored some great deals.
You just need to keep your eyes peeled and know the price of the item you are hunting for to ensure the best price. It can be done.
2. Black Friday Sales
I used to love Black Friday Sales! Last year I scored so many great deals it was incredible! I think if there’s something great on sale, then go for it and go Black Friday Shopping.
I don’t need anything this year, so my best friend and I are forgoing our traditional Black Friday shopping trip and are doing something else.
If you do decide to go, here’s the trick to the best Black Friday shopping experience.
a. Plan ahead of time:
You can’t expect to wake up on Black Friday, glance at the circulars, head out the door late and expect to get the best deals. It won’t happen. There are many websites available to help you prepare for your Black Friday experience. One of my favorite sites is www.HowToShopForFree.net. Kathy Spencer, the website owner, does a great job mapping out the best deals and scenarios. She makes it super simple for you to follow down the money-saving road.
Another excellent resource is the Penny Hoarders new Black Friday portal. They’ll be up all night tweeting, posting and answering your questions.
Both of these sites have already started posting deals and scenarios, so go and check them out.
You can also sign up for alerts, so you never miss a deal.
To make it super easy for you, use my Black Friday Holiday Shopping List.
3. Mass Saving Sites
Groupon and the countless other sites out there are great ways to find unusual gifts for a fraction of the cost. From restaurants to spas, excursions and activities there is something for almost everyone! There’s virtually no reason to pay full price for anything anymore.
Check out Groupon here and sign up to get the daily deals emailed directly to your inbox.
The site operates under the Group Discount method. So a certain number of people need to purchase the deal for everyone to benefit from the deal. Each deal comes with its set of details and instructions for redeeming.
If you live in Massachusetts, like I do, Groupons are looked at as a gift certificate, and, therefore, those laws apply. Check with your state’s laws regarding gift certificates and gift cards to see what protections you are entitled to as a consumer.
4. Shop Online
Shopping online has become the best alternative to heading into a store. I for one love to shop online as long as the shop has a great return policy or allow you to make returns in the store. I think the biggest draw to shopping online is the ability to do comparison shopping in a much easier fashion than going store to store looking for the best deal.
Amazon.com is one of my all-time favorite online shopping experience. If you decide to use Amazon.com, I highly suggest you grab a PRIME Membership. You can Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial and cancel if you decide it’s not for you, or you can give the gift of Amazon to someone who loves to Shop Amazon – Give the Gift of Amazon Prime.
In a nutshell here’s why I love Amazon: free shipping on millions of items, free streaming of movies, music library, you can share it with a few people (I share my membership with my daughter, who lives in another household – how cool is that!) and access to free downloads onto your Kindle.
So Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. I think you’ll love it!
If you decide not to join PRIME, but you shop Amazon on a regular basis, you’ll want to use their Camel, Camel, Camel program to do your price checking. You can learn all about the Camelizer here.
5. Discounted Gift Cards
Everyone sells them, and all of us use them. Gift cards have become the best alternative to giving cash especially when you don’t know what to buy the person. The good news on the gift card front is twofold. First, many companies offer incentives when you buy cards during the holiday usually in the form of an additional gift card dollar amounts. Second, sites like cardcash.com offer discounted gift cards you can buy as well as a forum to sell your unwanted gift cards.
6. Follow Your Favorite Businesses On Facebook
And, maybe even Twitter. Lots of companies have special promotions, giveaways, free shipping, and sales that they advertise through Facebook or on Twitter. Check them regularly to see where you can save money.
7. Enter Online Giveaways
The online blogging community is great for giveaways. They will have giveaways coming up soon for lots of great items. You just might get lucky and win that perfect Christmas gift so check their blogs, at least, weekly and enter to win!
8. Register for Ebates
Search for the store where you plan to shop, connect to the store through their link, and you’ll earn a percentage back on your purchase. Receive payment every three months by check or Paypal. With Ebates.com, in the last year I earned over $200 back on purchases I would have made anyway!
9. Get Back and Give Back with Giving Assistant
Giving Assistant is like Ebates, but with a twist. You get cash back when you shop, just like Ebates, but you can choose to donate all or a portion of what you get back to a charity of your choice. Don’t see your charity? No problem, let them know and they’ll work to get them added.
This is a nice twist, just at the right time of year.
10. Be of Service
Sometimes you sit and scratch you head trying to find the perfect gift for someone who has everything. That’s my Aunt Terry; there’s nothing she needs. When that happens, I think about a service gift or good deed I can do in place of a gift. Maybe you can wash their car, bring them an excellent meal, or clean their home. This type of gift is wonderful for someone elderly who might not be able to do these things for themselves any longer. You get to spend some time with them, which I bet they’ll appreciate and do something they need to be done.
Using these methods and suggestions will keep all of us sane this holiday season. Use one or all of them for the best shopping experience you can have!