Ready, set… charge! The holiday shopping season is here, and between inflated prices, the rising cost of gas and the urge to splurge this time of year, it can be harder than ever to stick to your budget. Here, we’ve listed eight holiday shopping hacks to help keep your spending under control while still finding the perfect gifts for everyone on your list.
1. Make a list and check it twice
It’s not just for groceries—this tried-and-true shopping hack can really help you keep costs down this holiday season. When you shop with a list in hand and you’re careful to stick to it, you can make responsible shopping decisions instead of buying anything and everything that catches your eye.
2. Compare prices
In the age of apps and the internet, comparison shopping is a lot easier than trekking across town from store to store. All it takes is a few quick clicks to check if the item you want to purchase is available elsewhere, and for less. You can also use a price-checking app like ShopSavvy and BuyVia to make the search for the hottest deal even easier.
3. Don’t shop alone
Grab a friend when you shop to help keep you on track. You can share your intended budget with your friend, or let them know which gifts you’ll be looking for on this particular shopping trip and ask them to gently remind you to stay within budget and on-plan as you browse. A friend can also come in handy when you find a fantastic BOGO (buy one get one free) offer, but only need one item — go splitsies to gain some savings.
4. Take advantage of rebates and refunds
Wouldn’t it be awesome to get paid to shop? When you make a purchase through a rebate app like Earny or Rakuten, you get cash back for every purchase you make.
Why not get paid from the retailer, too? Some retailers offer refunds for late deliveries or will give you money back if there’s been a price change on an item since you’ve purchased it. Use a free app like Paribus to scan your receipt and search the web for price drops and to track policies that may help put more money back in your pocket.
5. Buy discounted gift cards
Gift cards are a great way to save time on gift-shopping — and money, too! You can find discounted gift cards on sites like GiftDeals, Raise and CardCash for big-name brands of all kinds, including Lowe’s, Old Navy, Starbucks, Amazon and dozens more. Best of all, the person receiving the gift card never has to know you snagged it at a discounted price.
6. Shop with coupons
No need to touch a pair of scissors to take advantage of coupons in 2021! Before completing an online purchase, do a quick search of sites, like RetailMeNot, to check for available coupons that can bring down the price. You can also use a browser extension, like Honey, which will automatically find and apply coupons while you shop.
7. Shop early
It’s always a good idea to get your shopping done well before the holidays to keep from overspending when you’re harried and pressed for time. This year especially, with delivery delays and supply shortages expected to last into 2022, it’s best to tackle your holiday shopping before Thanksgiving. When you shop with a clear head and when the store shelves are still well stocked, you’re more likely to stick to your budget and make responsible spending decisions.
8. Buy electronics on Black Friday or Cyber Monday
Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are rarely worth the hassle — with the exception of electronics. While most big-ticket items, like furniture and home appliances, are usually cheaper during other sale events, the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals you’ll find on TVs, laptops, audio equipment and other electronics will likely be the best you’ll find all year. If any of these items are on your list, plan your purchase for Black Friday weekend for steep discounts.
The holidays are coming, but that doesn’t mean you need to kiss your budget goodbye. Follow the tips outlined above to save big on gift-shopping this year.