The holiday season is a wonderful time filled with family, friends
, fun and of course, presents
. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of the holiday and spend a lot of money purchasing gifts for those you love, but it's also important to make sure you stay within your budget
. I know I find this is especially hard when I'm buying for all of the kids in my life -- there are just so many wonderful things to get them -- but still, setting spending limits and then following them is important.
Saving money on holiday gifts doesn't mean that you have to give up shopping altogether -- here are some holiday shopping tips that will help you stay on budget and find nice things for loved ones.
1. Make a List, Check it Twice
Before you do any type of holiday shopping, you need to exactly who you are buying for. At first, just make a list of everyone that you'll be getting gifts for, or even think you may need to purchase something for. (Don't forget teachers, coaches
and other service individuals you come across on a regular basis.) Once you know who you are shopping for, go through and write how much you have to spend on each person and, if you know it, what you might like to get them. I like to keep a notebook and sort folks by how I know them -- family, friends, colleagues, etc. As the season goes on, write down what you purchased and how much you actually spent. As a bonus you can use your list to help you keep track of what gifts have been wrapped and which ones need to be mailed.
2. Get an Early Jump
It seems like the holiday season starts earlier and earlier every year. While it may drive you crazy to see candy canes mixed in with the pencils for back-to-school shopping, getting an early start can help you save money
a few ways. If the gift you are looking for winds up being very popular
, buying it early will save you the time and possibly extra expense of trying to track it down later in December or, trying to find a suitable replacement. Also, many stores try to lure in shoppers by holding big sales early in the shopping season. Take advantage, but hold on to your receipts in case the price changes or the item you bought isn't exactly what you wanted.
I also like to start my shopping early just so I simply spread the expenses across a few months rather than a few weeks.
3. Scour the Sales, Circulars and Catalogs
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You know what's great about holiday shopping? The number of retailers available. There are thousands of places to shop, buy, order, etc. whatever you need or want. Put that vast availability to work by comparison shopping. Just because you see a price in one place, doesn't mean you have to buy it there. Use price bots (like PriceGrabber
) to help you figure out who has the best price.
Be sure too, whether you are shopping online, through catalogs or at a brick-and-mortar store, that you do a quick search for coupons. You can do a google search for both printable and online coupons that you can use while you shop.
4. Consider Layaway
See a perfect gift in the store but don't have enough cash on hand to buy it? Consider using layaway
. Popular a few years ago, and now making a comeback, layaway is a form of payment where the store holds onto the item in question until the customer pays for it in full. There is usually a small service charge involved.
Interested? Check out this list of stores that are currently offering layaway.
5. Log On
Want to really save a bundle? Shopping online
allows you to comparison shop, research options and look for coupons and other bargains, all from the comfort of your own home, any time you please. Utilizing online shopping
search engines, can really help you find some bargains. Check out your favorite retailers too, either by visiting their web sites or their Facebook or Twitter feeds. Special deals are often announced through these venues.
You can often get free shipping too, if you know where to look. How to get free shipping every time you shop.