15 Smart Ways to Save Money during the Holidays
Holiday Season is upon us. If you are stressed about holiday shopping and budgeting, make sure to read these 15 smart ways to save money during holidays.
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As soon as summer wraps up, it’s time to start thinking about the holiday season. Although everyone loves the festive events around this time, but the holidays bring along the stress about shopping and budgeting.
If you are always looking for ways to keep finances under control, why should holiday season be any 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. Writing things down as much as possible is great practice to stay organized.
Smart Ways to Save during Holidays
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 shopping and budgeting 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
Making a gift list helps you get organized without feeling stressed about who to get what! It is important to make a gift list with the receiver’s name, gift idea and budget you plan to set for that person’s gift.
You can create your own gift list or download and print this one.
Making a list comes in handy during holiday season. It takes the overwhelm out of things making it simple to organize for the holiday season. Simply, write down the list of people you need to give the gifts to. No matter how small the gift is or how young or old the gift receiver is.
This free printable Christmas Planner may help plan your holidays ahead of time, organize and stay on top of things.
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.
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
Envelope Budgeting System is great to keep track of income and expenses of a household.
It is very simple to follow. All you need to do is allocate money for each category like utilities, dining out, entertainment etc.
You can add extra envelope for Holidays category where you allocate extra money for your holidays budget, considering the gifts, parties, outfits and dining out.
If you happen to do gift exchange with family or friends, keep a limit on how much you will be spending on those gifts.
This system will help you stay organized and keep you from spending extra cash or get carried away if you see something you have been eyeing for a long time.
It is extremely important to set up the budget beforehand so that you can control your finances and save money.
4. Use Rakuten
If you love to shop online, you can take advantage of Rakuten, formerly Ebates. Not only can you save money when you shop via Ebates, but you end up making money sometimes.
Wondering how Rakuten works? Let’s say you want to shop at Amazon.
Visit Rakuten, which will redirect you to Amazon. You buy a laptop worth $500. Rakuten makes $10 on the sale, because they advertised for Amazon.
It in turn pays you $5 to thank you for shopping via Rakuten. Basically you get 1% cash back on your purchase.
There are many popular merchants that are part of Rakuten including Amazon, Walmart, Sephora, Best Buy and many more. Click here to Sign up for Ebates.
5. Use Groupon
Groupon is an ecommerce marketplace that connects subscribers with local merchants.
Most of the time they have great deals on local activities, goods, services, travel destinations. They earns money through commission they generates when selling through every coupon they sell.
6. Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are popular for great deals and discounts during holiday season.
Price drop is significant during these days, specially on electronic gadgets, clothing items, toys etc.
Visit sites like CyberMonday.com or Dealio.com to see the coupons and offers for free shipping.
Keep one thing in mind tough, purchase only those things that you think are really worth buying.
Generally when there is a sale, we tend to buy and stock up on things we don’t really need. And before we know it, the bill adds up.
So make sure to keep your budget in mind, and shop for only those things that you really really need.
7. Shop Online
Shopping online is always fun. Not only can you shop from the comfort of your home, you can get stuff delivered to your home.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday always have some great deals. Try to find items from your gift list online.
Most of the online retailers offer free shipping above certain price. But if you can’t find free shipping option, simply add the items to the cart, but don’t checkout.
Chances are that you may receive an email or two from the retailer offering you free shipping or some percentage off.
8. Use Honey with Google Chrome
Shopping online is great to find great deals and apply coupon codes whenever possible.
Finding coupon codes may seem tedious though and you may not always find the good ones.
Have you heard of “Honey for Chrome”?
You can use it with Google Chrome. Browse via Chrome and 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.
Visit JoinHoney.com to get an extension on Google Chrome.
You can use this FREE tool to find and add best available deals 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. Cool, right?
9. DIY Gifts
Handmade gifts are so awesome. They add such a personal touch to any gift.
If you like DIY projects, look for inexpensive Homemade Gift Ideas that are perfect for loved ones. You will find great DIY and Craft ideas on Youtube and Google.
10. Use Cash
As much as possible. As mentioned above, Envelope Budgeting is really effective to help stay in budget.
When you use cash, you can actually see how much money you have, how much you spent in one day, and how much is left. Just visualizing money makes so much difference.
11. Use Credit Card with Cash Back Option
Avoid using credit card, but if you have to use one for big purchases, make sure you are 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.
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.
12. Plan Ahead and Start Shopping Early
Start planning early and get the gift shopping and other holiday shopping over with.
By starting and finishing early, you will feel more relaxed and be able to spend time with your family during the holidays.
Shopping early gives to head start on shopping for gifts you plan to get shipped. You will get enough time to receive your shipments in time, without worrying if you shop online at the last minute.
13. Travel Plans during Holidays
Most people plan to travel during the holiday season. If you have travel plans as well, make sure to plan early.
There are many sites like Kayak, Expedia, Orbit that have some great travel deals during specific period of time.
Keep an eye out, or subscribe to their newsletter. They announce these deals to their subscribers from time to time.
Also, if possible, plan your holidays a bit further away from holidays, either before or after.
If you plan during the holidays, chances are you will run into huge crowds at the airports, or cars on the road. Remember, you want to relax during the holidays, not stress out.
14. 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.
Sign up for brands of your choice to receive emails announcing reduced prices for items you have been planning on buying.
15. 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!