Although November has just begun, many of you have holiday shopping on the mind. Save yourself a bundle this Christmas by following a few of these budget-friendly guidelines.
1. Plan everything ahead of time.
Avoid aimless aisle perusing, over-spending, and impulse purchases. Keep a list on your phone for every person you are buying gifts for and check them off when they are done.
2. Compare prices
Many stores match competitor prices and coupons, even online prices, some like Home Depot will offer an extra 10% off a competitor’s price. And remember, it never hurts to ask. HERE is a great list of stores that will price match and their policies.
3. Regularly check coupon blogs and deal sites for best deal alerts.
Follow HowDoesShe on Facebook and Instagram for alerts to our favorite sales and insane deals, as we always LOVE to share! Other great deals sites to check out: Hip2Save, Southern Savers, and Money Saving Mom.
4. Use Santa’s Bag app
This fancy-schmancy app keeps track of your Christmas gift list and even helps you stay on budget!
If you haven’t downloaded this app yet, now’s the time. Every time you shop at Walmart, simply scan your receipt and the app will automatically search for lower prices. When a lower price is found, you’ll get an e-gift card for the difference!
On this app, you’ll find un-advertized Target deals, store coupons, and for the holidays only special 50% off daily deals for huge savings!
7. Redeem your credit card rewards points for gift cards.
Many credit cards come with rewards–why not cash them in for gift cards as gifts, or to buy gifts with?
8. Make gifts.
Adding a special personal touch to gifts can be more meaningful than store-bought gifts. Check out these awesome DIY gifts under $10!
10. Take advantage of free/discounted Christmas cards.
Sign up for email alerts from photo companies like Shutterfly, Snapfish, and VistaPrint, who sporadically offer free and discounted holiday cards. Although this deal has expired, there will be more to come!
12. Don’t be tempted to “add more.”
When you find a great shirt for your sister, chances are when you pass the accessories, you’re going to be tempted to add a scarf, a necklace, and oh, she’ll love those earrings. Unnecessary additions can add up big time.
13. Sell some of your current toys to make room and earn money for new gifts.
Sites like Craigslist are great for purging your gently used toys. Chances are, others will enjoy those toys at a fraction of the cost, and you’ll clear up space and earn a little spending dough. Win-win!
14. Communicate with your spouse on a budget and who will buy what.
In years past, our Christmas budget has gone way over simply because hubby and I didn’t communicate. When I’d go to the store, I’d pick up gifts for the kids, and when he would go he’d also pick up gifts for the kids and when it came time to wrap presents, we realized our mistake. Communicate with your spouse and grandmas and grandpas on what they are planning to avoid overspending.
15. Give the gift of your time, services, or talents.
Everyone has a unique talent that they can turn into a wonderful gift. You can save a ton of money by offering gifts that require your time or talents: babysitting, hair or nail services, massages, writing personalized books, sewing, dance lessons, etc.
16. Buy gifts from deal sites.
Sites like Groupon, Amazon Local, and Living social offer deep discounts at restaurants, entertainment venues, and other gifts that would normally cost twice as much. We also love Pick Your Plum for fabulous daily deals that would make great gifts that you can often personalize!
17. Set aside a budget in cash…when it’s gone, it’s gone.
Although this won’t work for online shopping, it will work help you stick to a budget in stores and avoid impulse buys.
18. The big Black Friday secret…
Speaking of online shopping, we’re
big GINORMOUS fans of the convenience of online shopping. However, here are a few secrets to getting the best deals.
Forget Black Friday; at stores like Walmart, the same deals are available online starting at midnight or when the store opens. Check each store’s online site at 12:01 or again when the store opens and save yourself the gas and hassle.
19. Always check for extra discount codes.
Sites like RetailMeNot carry codes for nearly every retailer that you may not be aware of. Always check for extra discounts like free shipping or percentages off before you checkout online.
20. Don’t pay for shipping.
Around holiday times, most stores and sites offer free shipping for their customer’s convenience. Again, check sites or search for free shipping codes.
21. Realize that kids don’t really need that much.
Refrain from going overboard. When it comes to a kid’s happiness, there’s not much difference between 10 presents and 20. In fact, I’ve learned from personal experience that too many can be downright overwhelming, especially for small kids. The magic of Christmas is all about the element of surprise, not so much the quantity.
And if you’re looking for some fabulous non-toy alternatives, check out this post!
Happy shopping, and happy holidays!