The holiday season is in full swing all around us and whether you identify with Scrooge or Buddy the Elf you will probably be engaging in some holiday spending. Below are ten tips to help you stick to your Christmas budget.
Obviously, the first rule of saving money is not spending it but then I’d say the second is to spend within your means smartly.
Here are 10 simple tricks to save money this holiday:
Give yourself time.
No matter what we do in life, giving ourselves time to approach a situation with a plan wins. I start Christmas shopping in October (sometimes sooner). This gives you time to keep your eyes on deals and spread gifts over different pay checks or use the money you’ve saved for Christmas in advance. December’s spending is much less if you can spread it out over other months. This tip may roll some eyes but I promise your stress levels will drastically drop if you do it and then you’ll have more time to focus on what this holiday season is really about. P.S. I do this with food too, many seasonal food items I can freeze or keep unopened in the pantry for at least a month.
Use your smart phones in store.
So many stores have their own apps. Often they will have a discount on the first in-app purchase or they will alert you of a sale or coupon that you will want to use. Be smart when using store coupons, a coupon is only a saving if it was something you already intended to purchase.
Check if stores will Price Match
Matt and I were in Best Buy in November shopping for Christmas. I chose to go into Best Buy instead of scoping Amazon because I had some questions to ask the staff on specific products. While we were in the line to pay I went on to Amazon and checked their prices (and product reviews) and found our item was 30 dollars less on Amazon. I asked if they price matched and they did. We walked out with an extra 30 dollars in our pocket and I was pretty stoked. Not every store will price match but again, if you give yourself enough time you can always order it online or at the cheapest location. It’s worth taking an extra few minutes to check.
Price match stores against their online prices
While we’re on the topic of price matching, did you know that you can price match a store against it’s self? Often times a store will have a different price than their online prices and you can challenge it. Not every store will comply but I know personally that Target, Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic do.
Make your own Christmas Cards with Canva.
It’s simple, quick and WAY cheaper than any online card making options, even with coupons. Better yet, make Christmas post cards instead because their postage is less than a traditional card with envelope.
Shop toys at Costco.
Every year Costco beats out Amazon and many other competitors with their toys. Lego and American Girl dolls being most noteworthy. I have found many things there that are at least 10 dollars less than Amazon, which to me is the mecca of cheapest toys (usually).
If you’re shipping presents the old fashion way, ship them before you have to pay extra for faster shipping.
This usually means sending things the first week of December. If you’re using USPS the cut off date for ground shipping is December 15.
You may want to stop all Christmas shopping after December 15.
Prices don’t usually drop any lower beyond that point because retailers know they have you in a bind and let’s get real, all the sizes you need are gone by then too.
Okay maybe you can hold out until December 16th (if you’re shopping online) because of “Free Shipping Day.”
Have you heard of this? Companies both big and small are coming together and guaranteeing a Christmas Eve delivery with free shipping on orders placed December 16 2016. So far 746 stores are on board. Here’s a complete list–the date isn’t always December 16 so do a Google search each year.
Last but not least, if you’re traveling over the holidays BOOK EARLY and to save the most, travel on Christmas Day.
I know, who wants to do that BUT we actually did this one year and I loved it. It gave our little family time to open presents and have our own special morning before leaving and it cut back on the amount of presents I had to pack in my luggage.