Don’t let holiday costs ruin your holiday spirit.
The holiday season can always leave your budget feeling uncomfortably tight. This year, the season feels even more foreboding than normal thanks to COVID-19. But that doesn’t change the fact that gifts still need buying. Here are a few smart shopping tips you can leverage to get everything on your list without taking on holiday debt.
Starting early gives you more time to shop around for the items on your list. You can compare prices at multiple stores to see which offers the best value. You might even catch some sales — deals that could vanish into thin air as we approach the traditional holiday shopping season.
Also, sometimes, in-demand items sell out as it gets close to the holidays. Starting early gives you better odds of actually finding what you need. If you wait until the holidays are almost upon you, it might be tougher to find everything on your list. And the few stores that still have what you want? Well, they may charge extra — just because they can.
2. Take advantage of sales
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are usually the first holiday sales to come to most people’s minds. But they’re not the only big holiday sales. Stores can run sales at any time between now and the gift-giving holidays. You just have to watch for them.
Keep an eye out for ads about upcoming sales. Also, consider subscribing to your favorite stores’ email newsletters. These can help you stay in the loop about current and upcoming promotions. As a bonus, the store may slip a few extra coupons your way.
3. Use coupons
Store newsletters are one place to find coupons, but you can also find them by doing a quick internet search. To save time when shopping online, consider a browser plug-in that automatically tests out all coupon codes for a given site. That way you don’t have to try them all manually.
4. Use credit card rewards
Check your credit card statements or online accounts for unused credit card points. Often, you can turn these into cash or gift cards. You can use that cash (or those gift cards) to buy your items — or give it as a gift itself.
Using a rewards credit card to make your holiday purchases can help you rack up even more rewards, which you can put toward future purchases. Just make sure you don’t charge more to your card than you can afford to pay back at the end of the month or you’ll end up with costly debt.
5. Use layaway
Some popular retailers allow you to put items on layaway. To do this, you go to the store, fill your cart with all the things you want to buy, and then take it to the layaway department. Rather than paying for it all at once, you pay in regular installments. Once you’ve paid for the full amount, you return to the layaway department and pick