Wow. Can you believe it? November is practically here. And you know what else is practically here? The 2013 Holiday shopping season!
Where oh where has 2013 gone? If you are like me, November indicates it’s time to kick that Holiday gift shopping into high gear. Are you ready for some shopping?
10 Money Saving Holiday Shopping Tips
Woah, slow down! Buying all those holiday gifts and gadgets adds up quickly. Don’t rush on out to that mall until you arm yourself with the necessary tools to stretch that hard earned money. Ensure your gift shopping extravaganza doesn’t take a bigger bite out of your wallet with these ten money saving holiday shopping tips.
1. Set A Realistic Budget
Yes, I know, you’ve heard it before. But setting a realistic budget really should be the first thing you do when starting your holiday shopping. And once that budget is set, stick to it!
Note: Be LayAway Savvy. Layaway programs can ensure you get those highly sought after holiday gifts without breaking the bank. They can also get you into financial trouble if you don’t stick to your budget. Considering a Layaway program? Read these layaway tips from CNBC first, and be “layaway savvy.”
2. Make a Shopping List
And check it twice! Or three times or four. List everyone you plan to gift, then add gift ideas for each person on the list. Last but not least, determine your available budget for each person. It’s an effort well worth your time!
You’re now armed with a valuable shopping tool that can help keep you on budget. Now keep that shopping list handy! I keep my shopping list on my mobile phone.
3. Start Shopping Now
Budget established? Check. Shopping list written? Check. It’s time to get shopping. And there are sales aplenty to shop right now! Holiday shopping now not only lets you cash in on pre-season sales, it spreads the cost of your holiday purchases over two to three months. That’s a win-win scenario for both your shopping list and your budget.
Scoring preseason sales + softening the blow to your budget = sweet savings!
4. Comparison Shop Online Before You Buy
Knowledge is power! And a few moments researching product prices on the internet can provide all the knowledge you need to ensure you pay the best possible price for that coveted gift. Got a few big ticket items on your shopping list? Price comparisons before you shop can add up to some pretty significant savings.
5. Search Online for Valuable Coupons
Don’t forget to also search for online coupons to maximize your savings. Found an online coupon you want to use in a local brick and mortar store? Print it or load it onto your mobile phone and you are ready to cash in on the savings.
Not sure where to start that coupon search? My favorite online coupon websites are Mr. Rebates, Retail Me Not, Coupon Cabin, Coupons.com, and FatWallet. For on-the-go shopping, I use ShopSavvy, Amazon and SnipSnap. You might also like Smoopa.
6. Request A Price Match
Found a better price online or in another retailer’s advertisement? Ask for a price match! It works for most major retailers, and many smaller stores too. I’ve received some hefty price matches from retailers including Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and DSW.
Mobile phones are incredibly handy for scoring a price match. Read more about price matching at The Art Of The Price Match.
7. Use Mobile Shopping Apps
Got a smart phone? Get mobile shopping apps! Mobile shopping apps can provide all the tools you need to score the best prices, find elusive inventory, keep track of on-the-go purchases, even keep your shopping list and budget close at hand.
My favorite on-the-go shopping apps are ShopSavvy, Amazon Mobile and SnipSnap. I also check the specific retailer’s online website for possible web-based specials. Many retailers will honor web-based specials if you bring it to their attention.
Read more on mobile shopping at Eight Mobile Shopping Tips To Save You Money.
8. Register with Customer Loyalty Programs
Membership does have it’s benefits! Get the inside scoop of a favorite retailer’s sales, special deals, programs, and other handy “insider-only” tips often sent only to loyalty program members. Most are free and easy to join.
For example, I recently cashed in on these deals:
- Target – Texted KIDSGIFTS to 827438 to receive money saving coupons right to my mobile device. Then used a Target RedCard for the purchase, and saved another 5%.
- Lego Store – Bought Legos during a Double Points offer. Purchased another Lego with the Lego points earned from the initial purchase.
- Kohl’s – Purchased items with a Kohls 30% off “valuable customer” coupon during Kohls Cash days. Used Kohls Cash on the next trip with another 15% off coupon.
Cha-ching! By being in the “loyalty program loop” I’ve cashed in on some sweet savings!
9. Shop Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals
My oh my, Black Friday is just around the corner! You know what that means – deals deals and more deals. Black Friday is an awesome deal finding shopping extravaganza. It can also be an awesome big challenge getting those deals. But if you have the patience to weather the Black Friday storm, you can scoop up bargains galore.
Missed that Black Friday deal? Crowd-aphobic and the thought of trudging through Black Friday shoppers kept you from the mall? Shop Cyber Monday! It’s become quite the online shopping day, and the odds are that deal you missed out on Black Friday, will be available somewhere online on Cyber Monday.
Also just around the corner? My Black Friday website round up of this season’s best websites and suggested shopping strategies. Don’t miss it!
10. Shop Last Minute
A procrastinator’s mecca – last minute Holiday shopping deals. If you have the will power to wait – and are brave enough to enter a shopping mall on December 24th – there are many bargains afoot. Retailers want to off-load that inventory before they shutter their doors for Christmas. Translation – you might just score lots of bargains.
One down side? If you must have a particular item that every one else also wants, waiting until the last minute could cost you that gift.
What’s My Holiday Shopping Strategy?
My ultimate goal is to have my Holiday gift shopping 90% complete by the end of November, and I use each and every one of these ten tips to achieve this goal. Well, except for #10. I am not a last minute shopper. Waiting until the last minute for Holiday shopping list just stresses me out! So I shop early, starting in October. I create a budget and a shopping list. With list in hand, I know where to watch for sales and deals that are relevant to my planned purchases.
Does my shopping strategy take time? Yes, it does, and organization too. But the time invested can quickly translate into a successful gift shopping season and money saved. Who couldn’t use some extra pocket change?
What’s your Holiday shopping strategy? Do you have shopping tips to share? Let us know in the Comments section below.