The holiday season is a joyful time of celebration with loved ones, but it can also be a time of financial stress. Between buying gifts, decorating, and preparing for festive feasts, your expenses can quickly add up. However, with a little planning and the right holiday shopping plan, you can make the most of your budget and enjoy a holiday season with less financial burden. Here are 10 strategies to save on holiday shopping:
1. Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales
Black Friday and Cyber Monday make up the biggest shopping weekend of the entire year. They offer incredible discounts and deals, making them perfect opportunities to kickstart your holiday shopping. Here are some things to consider before you take advantage of these deals:
- Plan Ahead: Create a shopping list before the big day to avoid impulse purchases.
- Find the Best Deals: Research online and check store flyers for the best discounts.
- Stick to a Budget: Set a budget with a spending limit and stick to it to avoid overspending.
- Online Shopping: For Cyber Monday, shop online to access even more exclusive deals.
- Timing Matters: Don’t wait until the last minute; items can sell out quickly during these sales.
2. Cashback Credit Cards
Certain credit cards can help you earn cash as you make purchases. These are known as cashback credit cards. This is a low-effort and worthwhile difference-maker for your holiday shopping budget. Here’s what you need to know:
- When you use a cashback credit card, you earn a percentage of your purchase amount back in cash.
- Some credit cards offer additional cash rewards for specific categories, such as travel expenses or online shopping.
Using a cashback credit card is a great way to reduce your holiday spending, especially if you plan to buy gifts that fall under one of your credit card’s reward categories. If you don’t already have a cashback credit card, there are many great options with all the major providers, such as American Express, MasterCard, Capital One, and more.
3. Browser Extensions
If you plan to shop online, you can save money by using browser extensions. These handy tools help you find coupons, promo codes, and cashback deals. Some popular browser extensions include:
- Capital One Shopping: Proactively applies available discounts and coupons to your cart at checkout for free.
- Rakuten: It offers cashback rewards for shopping through its portal.
- RetailMeNot: Provides a wide variety of coupons and deals for online shopping.
Installing these extensions can be a game-changer when it comes to staying within your holiday shopping budget.
4. Homemade Gifts
Homemade gifts are a great display of thoughtfulness that can also save you a considerable amount of money. Homemade gifts are often more personal and meaningful than purchased gifts because you can tailor them to match the recipient’s personality and your relationship with them. Here are some ideas for homemade gifts:
- Handmade ornaments: Create personalized ornaments for family and friends.
- Baked goods: Make cookies, cakes, or other holiday treats and package them in a festive way.
- Crafted items: Knit scarves, create candles, or craft other personalized items.
- Shared interest creations: Craft a gift that resonates with shared hobbies or passions, such as a custom-made board game or a hand-painted puzzle featuring a shared favorite image.
Remember, planning ahead and starting early is key to ensuring you have enough time to create these heartfelt gifts. Do your best to not wait until the last minute.
5. Group Gifts
Consider the concept of group gifts to reduce your holiday expenses. Instead of buying individual presents for every family member, you can join forces with other family members and contribute to one significant gift, such as a vacation, a home appliance, or a big-ticket item that everyone will enjoy. This way, you can pool your resources and give a memorable gift without breaking the bank.
6. Create a Budget
Creating a holiday shopping budget is one of the most important steps in saving money during the holiday season. Without the personal accountability that a budget provides, you’re in danger of overspending without realizing it. Here’s what you need to do to make a holiday shopping budget:
- Set a spending limit: Determine how much you can afford to spend without straining your finances.
- List your expenses: Make a list of all your anticipated holiday expenses, including gifts, decorations, travel, and food.
- Track your spending: Keep a record of your purchases to ensure you stay within your budget.
Having a budget in place will help keep you organized and within your spending limit during the holiday season.
7. Buy in Bulk
Buying items in bulk can be a cost-effective way to stock up on essentials for the holiday season. Here’s what to consider to make the most of bulk purchases:
- Cost Savings: Purchasing items in bulk often comes with a significant discount per unit.
- Find the Right Retailers: Look for stores or online retailers that offer bulk discounts on holiday staples like wrapping paper, decorations, or non-perishable food items.
- Calculate Quantities: Be mindful of quantities to avoid waste, especially for perishable items.
By buying in bulk, you can save money while ensuring you have everything you need for the holiday season.
8. Shop Sales Online
Online shopping is a fantastic way to discover discounts, deals, and exclusive promotions. Here are some tips for when you shop online:
- Subscribe to Newsletters: Many online retailers offer benefits to their subscribers, such as exclusive discounts and early access to sales. Consider subscribing to brands that you plan on holiday shopping from.
- Compare Prices: There are a variety of price comparison websites to help you find the best deals on the holiday gifts you’re looking for.
- Utilize Promo Codes: You never know what promo codes or coupons you might find readily available online. If you plan to shop online, be sure to search for promo codes or coupons before finalizing your purchase.
Online shopping offers more convenience and often lower prices than physical stores, so take advantage of the digital marketplace to save big.
9. Use Gift Cards
Gift cards can be an excellent way to save on holiday shopping, especially if you already have some in your possession. Here’s how you can use them effectively:
- Check Your Stash: Look for any unused gift cards you may already have. These can be used as gifts or used to purchase gifts.
- Trade or Sell Unwanted Cards: If you have gift cards you won’t use, consider trading or selling them for ones that can benefit your holiday shopping.
- Gift Cards as Gifts: Consider giving gift cards as presents, which can be both thoughtful and budget friendly.
Using gift cards wisely can help you make the most of your holiday shopping budget.
10. Shop Outlet Stores
Outlet stores are well-known for offering discounted products from a wide range of categories, including clothing, electronics, and more. Here are the top advantages of shopping at outlet stores:
- Discounted Products: Outlet stores are reputable for selling high-quality items at a fraction of the original price.
- Variety of Items: You can find an array of products at outlet stores, making it a one-stop shop for various holiday needs.
- Significant Savings: With the potential for considerable savings, outlet stores are a great choice for budget-conscious shoppers.
Visiting outlet stores can be a fun and rewarding experience, allowing you to snag great deals on holiday gifts and items.
Holiday shopping doesn’t have to be a financial burden. By incorporating these 10 strategies into your holiday shopping plan, you can enjoy the season while keeping your budget in check. From Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales to utilizing online tools and shopping at outlet stores, there are plenty of ways to save.
And remember, as you navigate your holiday shopping journey, don’t forget about your credit health. With increased shopping, big-ticket purchases, and identity fraud scams, the holiday season can be a risky time for many people’s credit scores and sensitive information. That’s why it’s important to have a trusted tool to keep your information safe and your credit health on track. MyScoreIQ credit report monitoring provides you with your FICO® Scores and offers various credit monitoring services along with industry-leading identity theft protection. Staying on top of your credit during the holiday season is crucial to maintaining a good credit score.
With these strategies and the support of MyScoreIQ, you can make this holiday season merry, bright, and reduce your financial stress. Happy holidays and happy budget-friendly shopping!