We’re getting closer to Christmas with each passing day. Have you started shopping for the best gifts for men, women, children, and your loved ones yet? You might think that you have plenty of time, but that’s the surest way to find yourself on the edge of the holiday with a lot of shopping still to do (and not enough time to take advantage of shipping discounts!). Suddenly, the prices of everything that your children, your husband, your mother-in-law – everyone on your list, in fact – wanted will start to shoot up before you know it. Fret not and take a look at our top ten pieces of advice to beat the rush, and save some cash in the process.
1. Use discount apps.
Have you heard of Wikibuy? It’s just one browser extension that pops in when you are shopping, and when you head to the “Checkout” page, it automatically starts scouring the Internet for a better deal on that same exact product or service. If there’s better deal for cat litter out there, for example, it will pop up for you.
2. Sign up for emails from your favorite stores.
If you have an email account with a provider like Gmail, which separates your promotional offers out from the rest of your inbox, then you should go ahead and sign up for email alerts from the places you like to shop. They filter into your promotional tab, and you can take a look through there and see if one of your favorite stores is offering a deal. You don’t have to surf through store websites – they will just pop up in your inbox.
3. Finish your shopping as early as possible.
That might sound unrealistic, but hear me out. TechieState says that in those last ten days before Christmas, prices will starting going up, as retailers take advantage of procrastinators. Even if you’re shopping online, you’ll start to see those “FREE SHIPPING” offers dry up as you get closer to the big day. This way, your packages have plenty of time to get where they are going.
4. Mix needs in with wants.
No, your kids won’t get excited to open a package with a sweater inside or a jacket. However, if you have also gotten them a few things off their “wants” list, you can combine your winter “need” shopping with what your kids want.
5. Sign up with the major discount websites.
Sites such as Overstock, Groupon, and Living Social put out new deal emails every day. Websites like Groupon Goods offer deals on a wide variety of gift ideas, often with discounts well above 50%. With a Gmail account, these messages will slip into your Promotions tab, and you can pick out the ones you want to read.
6. Consider experiences instead of objects.
Does your son want an XBox One? That’s going to set you back at least $ 300 new, and then the games are $ 50 – $ 75 each – and special edition games cost even more. But is your son also a huge fan of your local NBA team? You can get two pretty good tickets for $ 100 each – less than the XBox One – and you’ll make a memory with seats at the big game.
Another way is to give your loved ones a year subscription of your local gym or a complete course of 21 day fitness rock, just in case your recipient is an exercise aficionados. A roundtrip ticket to some nice place, a concert, or holiday festive cruise within the country also works great. It isn’t just unique, they are going to love the life experience and memories it will give them for years to come.
7. Start next year’s shopping in January.
OK, if you max out your cards in December you might have to wait until February or March. But here’s the deal – if you buy when most people aren’t, you’re always going to get better deals.
8. Don’t forget local discount retailers.
Stores like T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Big Lots often carry name brand items for pennies on the dollar. People who stay at home and just shop online can miss out on huge deals this way, especially if you are thinking about what to buy for a baby, as these products are running low during holidays. If you can slip out on your lunch break and hit the store (and ideally take an early or late lunch), you can avoid the rush that comes in the evenings.
9. Consider memberships instead of lump-sum gift prices.
There are clubs for the Beer of the Month, the Fruit of the Month, even the lingerie of the month. Buying this sort of present gives your loved one something to open all year – and you can accept monthly billing instead of having to buy a larger present all at once.
10. Never stop hunting new discounts.
One thing that’s always true – new sites are opening all the time to give you access to new ways to shop. Keep pounding the pavement – and you’ll keep saving money. Happy Holidays!