We’re in the last quarter of the year and you’re probably getting ready for holiday shopping. Or maybe not.
However, the earlier you get going on your holiday shopping, the better your chances of getting it all done in time and under budget.
The tips in this post will help you save money, plan better, and make informed decisions when it comes to holiday shopping.
When Should I Start Holiday Shopping?
You should start your holiday shopping ASAP. Whenever there’s a shopping event where discounts are offered, jump in there and get something you’ve been eyeing.
I bought a Christmas gift in March when I saw it on sale because I knew my friend wanted it and would love it for Christmas.
As long as it’s something that will not become obsolete by Christmas, get it when it’s on sale, no matter the time of the year.
How Can I Save Money on Holiday Shopping?
1. Do Not Wait Until the Last Minute
One of the fastest ways to blow your budget, spend more than you planned, and possibly go into debt is by waiting until the last minute to shop.
Shopping at the last minute can also be very stressful. It’s not fun at all. Just don’t do it.
2. Get Organized
The first thing I recommend is downloading the free digital gift organizers available from 365 Gift Guide.
Gift organizers are an invaluable resource when planning gift shopping for any occasion.
They will help you organize your shopping lists and budget so you get everything done faster.
Organizers will also prevent you from spending unnecessarily or going into debt to get a gift.
The free digital gift organizers offered on 365 Gift Guide also includes a comprehensive yet simple budget template.
3. Create a Shopping List
Holiday shopping that doesn’t blow the budget always starts with a list. Write down everyone you want to shop for.
Family, colleagues, friends, acquaintances, frenemies, etc. List them all in the digital gift organizers.
Not sure what to put on your shopping list? You can snoop someone’s Amazon wish list at How to Find a Wish List on Amazon.
4. Set a Budget
Don’t start running around in November or December trying to locate money for holiday shopping.
It should be factored into your household budget to avoid going into debt. Set the amount you’re willing to spend on each gift in the gift organizer.
5. Try to Keep It Online
Since we’re still very much in a pandemic situation, you want to carry out your holiday shopping online as much as possible.
Plus you’ll save on time and gas money when you shop online.
Many retailers have adjusted and improved their business to accommodate increased online shopping activities.
A lot of them also offer free shipping plus other perks if you shop well ahead of time.
By the way, you’re also less likely to blow the budget if you shop online.
6. Coordinate Shopping in One Place
Did you know you can get all your shopping done on one platform plus get cashback?
I’m referring to Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates). When you shop on Rakuten, you get cash backs on all purchases.
There are over 2,000 stores where you can earn cashback on Rakuten. Some of these stores include Amazon, Walmart, Macy’s, J.Crew, Target, and much more.
There are no charges for shopping through Rakuten and you’ll also receive a $10 welcome bonus when you sign up through this link!
Once you’ve made a first purchase worth $25, the $10 will be credited to your account.
A future article will explore all the benefits of getting your holiday shopping done through Rakuten.
7. Don’t Forget Black Friday and Cyber Monday
The deals offered during these two shopping events especially Cyber Monday are crazy.
Cyber Monday 2020 is on November 30 so get ready to jump on the deals and get anything that’s on your shopping list at a crazy price.
This can be done from the comfort of your home as well and if you’re on Rakuten, you will be able to see a lot of these deals in one place.
8. Group Trips Together If Necessary
Sometimes, there are things on your list that you can’t get online or you have to go into a physical store to pick up.
If you come up against this, group all of them together on one trip and pick up everything at once.
Multiple trips are a time waster and you might end up spending more money.
9. Do Not Shop With Anyone
The fastest way to spend money you don’t want to is by going on shopping trips in a group.
Shopping with friends and family instigates you to make spur of the moment purchases you normally wouldn’t make on your own.
It might not be as much fun but your wallet will be happier and healthier.
10. Consider DIY Presents
If you’re keen on DIY, you can make a present instead of buying one. DIY presents could include a sweater, jewelry, bags, etc.
DIY gifts are very thoughtful and provide an extra personal touch to the gift.
And who knows? You might end up turning this skill into a nice side gig after the holidays.
12. Comparison Shop
Be sure to comparison shop. Don’t commit to one thing at the first place you see it.
Look at two to three retailers to compare the prices. With a Rakuten account, you will be able to coordinate this better.
13. Use Your Rewards Card to Earn Cash Back and Reward Points
You can use your credit card to strategically earn cashback and reward points when you purchase holiday gifts.
So cash back on Rakuten plus cashback and/or reward points on your credit cards is a great value.
Be sure to stick to your budget when going this route. Don’t spend money just for the sake of the cash backs and rewards.
Stick to the gift list and budget created earlier before you started shopping.
14. Don’t Forget to Check Out Shopping Apps
With shopping apps, you can scan the barcode of an item to find the best prices for this item online and in stores.
Apps like these include ShopSavvy.
15. Hunt for Coupons and Discount Codes
Look out for coupons and discount codes before you purchase an item. Rakuten lets you know all the stores having sales and deals.
And don’t miss out on Amazon Prime Day 2020, which will be between Oct 13 – 14. You can grab something on your gift list for a deep discount on Prime Days!
16. Don’t Forget to Keep Receipts
If you buy something that gets marked down later, you can return it and buy it at a lower price.
Definitely hold on to all receipts until after the holidays.
17. Start Shopping for the Next Holiday After This One
Start your holiday shopping earlier for next year.
Think of the best gifts you’re looking for throughout the year and nab them whenever they go on sale.
You can stash them in a safe corner of your home until the holidays.