I don’t have to tell you Christmas can really add up – you already know that. But it’s also a time of giving and just because it can be expensive is no reason to become Mr. or Mrs. Scrooge. That’s why I love a good bargain anytime of the year, but particularly at Christmas, when my list is at it’s largest.Here are 10 tips I’ve picked up on how to stretch your dollar this Christmas, and even year round.
For some, it may already be too late – you started months ago! But for the rest of us, a good tip is to pick up potential Christmas gifts all year round. See something that would make a great gift for Bob or Jane on sale in July? Buy it then and you’ll slowly fill your Christmas list with the best deals.
2. Limit gift buying. What? Like, it’s hard? I know, I know, you don’t want to come off like Scrooge, but hold on a second. Because of our growing family, last year my sisters and I decided to limit how much we would spend on each person. It forces you to be creative to not just find a gift for that person, but the best gift you can within that price set. Similarly, other families pick names out of a hat and are then only responsible to buy a gift for that person.
3, Buy online.Online purchases not only save you gas money, but time. Companies know this and are offering more incentives to do so. Of course, there are times you need to go to a store to find the right size, color or see what a gift looks like in person. Just try to condense all your “window-shopping” into one trip to save even more money. Also, many companies offer free samples for buying online, Sephora being my favorite. With every purchase you get three free samples, not including deluxe samples for racking up points with them.Buying online leads me to my next tip.
4. Never pay for shipping.On a typical day, Joann-Fabrics charges $9.99 to ship your purchase, so in that case – unless the store was three hours away – it probably wouldn’t make sense to purchase online. That’s why you have to wait until they offer free shipping – which they do. I rarely rarely rarely pay for shipping knowing this tip. Some stores wait a little longer in between their FREESHIP deals but don’t fear…it’s coming! Sign up for their emails to be the first to hear when it’s a free ship day.
5. Never (or rarely!) pay full price. If you watch your favorite stores enough online, you’ll find that just about everything comes on sale eventually…and then the price jumps up again. So if there is an item you really want, just be patient, that 10, 20 or even 30% offer is bound to show up soon. Also utilize Retail Me Not and similar sites to find deals not offered on the site.
TIP: Download the Retail Me Not app and it will automatically show you the day’s coupons not only for online, but each store you walk into as well!
- Compare prices.Yesterday I was looking for a Christmas gift for some kiddos and the exact same toy that was $30 at Michael’s was $20 at Target and $14.99 on Amazon. That’s not to say Amazon always has the cheapest price (far from it) but to do your due diligence when hunting around for the best price. And getting the best price means you have more money left-over to buy that person a little some extra!
- Don’t buy, DIY– scarves, bath bombs (click to learn how to make Lush bath bombs!) jewelry, paintings, even baked goods. I can’t tell you how many scarves I’ve knitted, but they are pretty simple (once you get the concept down) and can be just as beautiful as the ones you buy in the store, especially if you use wool. Although quality yarn is expensive, which is why you have to follow tip #5!
- Buy in bulk.Sometimes stores offer discounts when you buy more than one. I’ve sure you’ve seen signs for BOGO, right? Not only buy one get one half off (or free) but sometimes you can even get a better discount the more of that item you buy.
- Use your Cashback bonus money to purchase gifts.Instead of spending that $10 every time it appears in your cashback bonus from your credit card, save it up all year and use that money to purchase your Christmas gifts! Awesome!
- Provide your time or service instead. Many of you are far more talented that I am and can provide a service or product as Christmas gifts. So use those talents! If you cut hair, offer to give them their next one. If you take photos…offer to snap their next family portraits. Even if you don’t feel you’re that creative, there is likely another service you can provide like taking someone without a car on errands, or helping them paint a room in their home. Double points if their Love Language is Acts of Service!
So how will you save money this Christmas?
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