The holiday season – the most wonderful time of the year, but by far the most expensive. The average American spends over $600 a year on holiday gifts alone, and hundreds more on decor, food, and travel.
In order to make it through without emptying your savings account or racking up debt, there are a few holiday shopping tips you need use while searching for the perfect gifts.
To learn everything you need to know about holiday shopping on a budget, just keep reading!
- Create a Budget
The first step is to create a holiday shopping budget. Don’t start with how much you want to spend on each person. Instead, pick a number that you’re comfortable with spending overall.
Now, once you start shopping, you might be tempted to overspend here and there. But remember that a budget only works if you stick to it.
- Make a List
Once you have your overall budget, you can begin to break it down by person. Obviously, you’ll want to allocate more to your partner than to your office secret Santa gift.
Make a list of the gifts you’d like to get each person on your list, with the approximate price of each gift listed as well. Going shopping without a real purpose is a mistake during the holidays, as you’ll likely fall victim to holiday inspiration and spend far more than you planned to.
Santa has a list and checks it twice – you should too!
- Research Deals
With your list in hand, it’s time to research some deals. It’s a good idea to start your holiday shopping well in advance, so you have time to catch as many deals and sales as possible.
However, some of the best deals pop up around the holidays, so don’t stress too much if you’re getting a late start. Taking advantage of Amazon Prime Day, for example, is an excellent way to save money, especially if you have an Amazon Prime Day coupon or two.
Doing some online holiday shopping can be helpful, as you can bargain hunt at a variety of stores right from the comfort of your couch.
Pro tip: consider creating a separate email account for shopping. Signing up for your favorite stores’ newsletters is a great way to find deals, but can quickly clog up your inbox.
- Map Out the Stores You’ll Visit
Sometimes the best deals are found in-store. If there are certain items on your list that couldn’t be found online, or might be cheaper at a physical store, brave the winter weather. But to save yourself time, stress, and frozen hands, map out your shopping before you go.
Make a list of the stores you’re going to visit and what you’re going to purchase from each. This will not only limit the number of shopping trips you have to go on but will also save you money.
- Use Shopping Apps
Thanks to modern technology, budget holiday shopping has never been easier. On top of the newsletters and sales sections offered by stores’ websites, there are countless shopping apps available in the palm of your hand.
There are a few different apps you should try. First, download one or two marketplace apps such as Poshmark and Letgo. Yes, the items on these services are often used, but you can find great gifts in pristine condition – the recipient never has to know!
Next, check out apps like RedLaser and ShopSavvy. These apps are especially helpful for holiday shopping. All you have to do is scan the barcode of an item you’re considering, and they will show you the price of that item listed by various other retailers.
If you’re doing a lot of online holiday shopping, install a shopping assistant plugin on your browser such as Honey. It will search the web for the best prices and coupon codes for every item on your list.
- Pool Resources
For particularly large and expensive gifts, don’t be afraid to suggest pooling resources. For example, let’s say you want to get your parents a new appliance for their kitchen, but it’s a bit out of your budget. Give your siblings a call and ask if they’d be interested in going in on it together.
Your parents will have a fabulous gift that everyone can put their names on – it’s a win for everyone!
- Use Credit Cards Wisely
Although it’s not a good idea to put all of your holiday shopping on credit cards if you’re unable to pay them off right away, credit cards can be extremely useful during the holiday season if you use them wisely.
If you have multiple credit cards, check the interest rates for each of them. You should also take a look at any rewards your cards offer. If you can get air miles as you shop, for instance, you’ll save a bundle on your holiday travel.
Do your best to avoid using cards that already have a high balance or high interest rate. The last thing you want to do is start the new year with a mountain of debt.
Use These Holiday Shopping Tips to Make This Season a Success
With a bit of shopping savvy, you can get your friends and family amazing gifts without spending a fortune. And these holiday shopping tips will help you do just that.
Remember, the key to budget holiday shopping is to make a plan and stick to it. Do your research, map out your gifts and where you’ll get them, and hit the shops.
Looking for more money saving tips and tricks? Take a look at our blog!