As soon as summer wraps up, it’s time to start thinking about the holiday season. Although I love the festive events around this time, but the holidays bring along the stress about shopping and budgeting the time and money as well.
I am always up for finding ways to keep finances under control. Holiday season is no different.
Most of the time, it ends up being the most stressful time of the year for many families. Planning ahead of time helps take out the stress. I try to write things down. A Holiday Planner can help organize ahead of time. You can create lists of gifts, shopping items, party guest lists, holidays decor items and so much more!
If you have been looking to avoid the stress, make sure to follow these money saving tips for holiday season, that are not only helpful to keep your budget in control but also keep you sane, well, most of the time!
1. Make a Gift List
I love to write things down and have always been a list person. It helps a lot when I make a list of anything I need to do. Write down the list of people you need to give the gifts to.
No matter how small the gift is or how young the gift receiver is. I used this Christmas Planner last year, and was very happy to see everything going pretty smoothly.
If you prefer to keep your gift list on your smartphone, there are many apps available that you can download and make your life much easier. Here are some free and paid ones that let you make your gift list easy to maintain.
- Santa’s Bag Christmas Gift List – FREE
- Christmas Gift List – FREE
- The Christmas List – PAID
- Gift List Manager – FREE & PAID
- Gift It – FREE
2. Compare Shopping Services
Even if you find that perfect gift for your cousin, do not get tempted to buy it right away.
Compare with other shopping services and see if you can get the same item at a lower cost.
Look out for shipping prices and other taxes.
There are sites like Amazon that offer free shipping on purchases that exceed $35. Check out the sites like Price Grabber, Shopping and Shopzilla. Chances are you might find a much better deal on one of these sites.
3. Set up your Budget
I follow Envelope Budgeting System to keep track of our income and expenses. Then we allocate money for each category. I add extra envelope for Holidays category where we allocate extra money for our holidays budget, considering the gifts, parties, outfits and dining out.
It helps me stay organized and keeps me from spending extra cash or get carried away if I see something I have been eyeing for a long time. It is very important to set up the budget beforehand so that you can control your finances and helps you save money.
4. Use Ebates
If you love to shop online, you can take advantage of Ebates. Not only can you save money when you shop via Ebates, but you end up making money sometimes.
How does Ebates work, you wonder? Let’ say you want to shop at Amazon. Visit Ebates, which will take you to Amazon. You buy a laptop worth $500. Ebates makes $10 on the sale, because they advertised for Amazon. Ebates in turn pays you $5 to thank you to shop via Ebates. Basically you get 1% cash back on your purchase.
There are many popular merchants that are part of Ebates including Amazon, Walmart, Sephora, Best Buy and many more. Click here to Sign up for Ebates.
5. Cyber Monday Deals
I am always in awe whenever I look at the price drop on Cyber Monday deals. These are specially great for buying electronic gadgets. You can use sites like CyberMonday.com or Dealio.com to see the coupons and offers for free shipping.
6. Use Honey with Google Chrome
I love online shopping because you can find so many great deals and apply coupons codes whenever possible. But it was such a pain to go find coupon codes for different merchants. Not anymore. I found this cool tool called “Honey”.
You can use it in conjunction with Google Chrome. When you add items in your shopping cart, Honey searches for the coupon codes across the internet, and adds to your shopping cart. You do not have to go searching for coupon codes on different sites anymore.
You can use this FREE tool to find best available deal to your cart. You can even get cash back from thousands of stores. It finds the best deal by automatically comparing different sellers in Amazon marketplace.
7. DIY Gifts
Handmade gifts are so awesome. I love giving and receiving them. They add such a personal touch to any gift.
If you like Do It Yourself projects, you can checkout some of these inexpensive Homemade Gift Ideas that are perfect for loved ones.
8. Use Credit Card with Cash Back Option
Most of the time I avoid using my credit card. But if I do have to use my credit card for big purchases, I make sure that I am getting cash back.
A cash back credit card provides 1% or 2% cash back, sometimes even more when you buy items like gas or groceries. When you are making purchases using cash back credit card you can expect to get a percentage of cash back into your account. A rewards credit card offers rewards on big purchases.
My sister was able to earn free speaker system after accumulating enough points on her credit card. Similarly, I use a merchant’s credit card where I get certain amount off of my groceries bill.
If you like to pay minimum balance and carry rest of the amount to next month, find a credit card that offers 0% interest on the remaining balance.
9. Sign Up for Newsletter
Newsletters have become one of the major source of getting firsthand information on upcoming deals and bargains. Many of them start at midnight so be prepared to grab deals on these items ahead of time.
You can even stock up for the next event when these stores are trying to get rid of unsold items. I am signed up for many brands where I can buy toddler clothing at much reduced prices.
I am planning to shop for my nieces and nephews when I get notified about the next big sale. I would be spending lot of money otherwise if I were to just shop at regular prices.
10. Join Social Groups
Most of the brands have social accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. They post about discount and sales on these pages. They even post coupon codes that their followers can use with the next purchase.
Most of the times you only have to like the Facebook fan page or retweet an offer. That’s all it takes to get the coupon code. So keep an eye on the brand social accounts to reap the maximum benefits for holiday season!
How do you save money during holiday shopping? Please share your tips and tricks in the comment box below!