9 Holiday Shopping Tips

Be Festive While Saving Big Bucks

9 Holiday Shopping Tips
November 25, 2020

What brightens up your holiday shopping season? You may prefer a quiet Christmas season at home, large family gatherings at the home of the relative who drew the short straw, or hand-to-hand combat on Black Friday at the mall. However, everyone agrees that saving money on Christmas shopping gives the holiday an extra layer of cheer. Here are nine suggestions to increase your holiday cheer and your savings account simultaneously.

1. Make a List – Avoid the temptation to go shopping without a list and look for holiday inspiration. You'll find inspiration, along with many gift items you didn't really want at a higher price than you should have paid. Know what you are shopping for and avoid costly holiday "mission creep." After all, even Santa makes a list (and checks it twice).

2. Make a Budget – A budget is the key to any form of saving. Once you have a gift list, research all the items on that list to find reasonable prices for those items. Once you see the typical range of prices, you'll know a good deal when you see one.

3. Research Online Deals – Use online resources to your advantage. Retailer websites, apps, and social media contacts, along with sites that track deals, give you plenty of avenues to find great bargains. Search in the comfort of your own home without having to brave the winter weather (or a few thousand of your fellow consumers).

4. Consider Homemade Presents – A knitted sweater or a handcrafted jewelry box not only saves money, it also provides a personal touch that makes your gift special. Can't knit or build things? You may be surprised at what you can learn – and if you find a new skill, you may acquire a hobby that can become a profitable side source of income.

5. Buy Previous Models of Electronics – If you must have the latest smartphone, game system, or Smart TV, be prepared to pay for it. Retailers are always offering deals on the previous versions to clear space for the new generations. Will your gift recipient really care if they receive the previous model?

6. Watch Black Friday/Cyber Monday – While they may not necessarily have the best deals, the days around the Thanksgiving holiday have taken on greater importance to retailers. Increased competition has led to increased discounts. Pay special attention to the avalanche of time-dependent deals during the Thanksgiving weekend. If you want more credit, check out our list of credit card offers.

7. Scale Back Your Tree – Do you really need a huge dead tree in your home to enjoy the holiday? Why not switch to a simple artificial tree that can be used year after year? If a natural tree is important, how about scaling the size back – or perhaps choosing a small living tree instead? You can plant it after the holidays and enjoy it all year round (assuming that you don't live in an apartment).

8. Wait for Post-Holiday Clearance Sales – Why not stick with small stocking stuffers for Christmas and wait for the post-holiday sales? Desperate retailers will be trying to move big-ticket items that did not sell over the holiday. If you aren't a stickler for a particular brand or specific item, you can pick up tremendous bargains.

The principle extends to smaller holiday items. With luck and timing, you can find wrapping paper, gift bags, ornaments, lights, and other holiday accouterments for next to nothing.

9. Start Earlier Next Time – Here's your holiday shopping tip for 2020 – start thinking of gift ideas throughout the year. The sooner you think of a gift item, the longer you have to search for good deals. You can hide that 4K Smart TV in the closet for 6 months – or, if not, simply have a mini-Christmas in July.

We hope you have an enjoyable holiday and an equally enjoyable post-holiday as you ponder your savings – and, of course, start thinking about gift ideas for Christmas in 2021.

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Photo ©iStockphoto.com/geber86

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Steffanie | 11.20.15 @ 18:01
Very good tips that I will definitely be using this year and years to come.
Jennifer Sears | 11.20.15 @ 18:03
Most of our Christmas shopping is done online. It's so much cheaper and you can often find free shipping, not to mention that you can find items you wouldn't be able to find elsewhere.
Carla | 11.20.15 @ 18:03
I have most of my shopping done. I make lists and stick to them. I definitely use every little wrapping paper scrap too.
Daniel | 11.20.15 @ 18:03
I will take any and all tips like these, my budget starts as soon as i finish shopping for the current year and runs till the next
Erin | 11.20.15 @ 18:03
Online shopping is about all I do for the holidays anymore. I don't know if I save much money that way, but I save a lot of time and aggravation, and that has to count for something, right?
Chrisitna | 11.20.15 @ 18:05
I have a terrible habit of waiting until the last minute to start shopping, so this year I am doing basically all of it online - it's open whenever I want to buy :)
Amanda | 11.20.15 @ 18:06
I follow almost of all these except after Christmas gifting. We do layaways and budget well for all the kids. We as a family share and reuse bags, tissue paper and even have used comics from newspaper to wrap presents. Great tips, Amazon lightening deals are awesome this time of the year.!
Elaine | 11.20.15 @ 18:06
Most of mine is done online already or they will be made and given at a later time. Finding budget friendly gifts is the key.
Kamie | 11.20.15 @ 18:06
I always start early, and I am ready for Christmas to start and be over to start again the next day.
Bobbie | 11.20.15 @ 18:07
I shop all year long for sales to keep withing my budget
Britt | 11.20.15 @ 18:08
Great tips. I started my shopping early this year and I am so glad that I did because now I am almost done and it's taken a HUGE amount of stress off of me.
irene | 11.20.15 @ 18:08
About the wrapping paper not being expensive, some of it is crazy over priced! But if you buy it after Christmas is over and save it for the next year you can save at least half off. Especially the character paper like the Grinch or snoopy. I like to do most of my shopping online but my husband is one of the people you will see running around like mad on Christmas Eve.
joann | 11.20.15 @ 18:08
I too do a lot of online shopping, great way to save time and the hectic stores. I also buy discounted gift cards ahead of shopping so I really save money by shopping online.
$commenter.renderDisplayableName() | 01.16.21 @ 14:29