7 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Holiday Shopping

Let’s talk about how to save money while holiday shopping! Shopping for gifts may be stressful, so I am here to make it easier for you. Here are my seven holiday shopping tips to save money and time and have a stress-free and enjoyable holiday season.

1. Take inventory

I am sure I am not the only one who has seen pretty wrapping paper and bought it thinking I need it, and then realized I had four or five rolls from the year before.

To avoid this, make sure to take inventory of all your wrapping paper, gift bags, tags, gift boxes, because every small amount adds up, and you want to make sure that you spend the smallest amount possible this holiday.

2. Make a list, check it twice

I make a list of everyone I am going to shop for, and write down gift ideas for each person next to their name.

I actually keep this list on my phone throughout the year, because when I have conversations with loved ones and they mention something that could be a great gift for them, I write it down. This way, I am never forced to guess what they would like in December.

The next step is assigning each person a maximum sum of money that you are willing to spend on the gift. This challenge will help you avoid overspending this holiday season.

Now that you have both gift ideas and a specific budget for each person, you can shop efficiently and save money without being tempted by sales or irrelevant offers.

Writing list

3. Shop online first

Instead of going to each store and seeing what prices they have for the items on your list, use Google to save both time and money. You will see all the stores that have the item you are looking for and their prices, including sales. This way, you can compare prices and decide which store is worth shopping at.

Usually, at this point I also check if that store has a good price for other items I am looking for, to make sure I do not waste my time shopping in all different places unnecessarily. By not going store to store and being tempted by their offers, you save hundreds of dollars and so much time.

4. Take advantage of free shipping

At the beginning of the holiday season, I make sure I write down not only the big gifts for friends and family, but also little things that I need.

For example, I know I need stocking stuffers for my immediate family, like lip glosses my little one loves. I also have things I need for the kitchen, such as wooden spoons. All these make it to my list.

This way, when I am getting my gifts at the store that offers the best deal on them and I am only a few dollars away from free shipping, I add one of those items to qualify for it.

This is how I both avoid paying extra for the shipping and get the things I actually need, as opposed to buying something spontaneously just because I have a few more dollars to spend, or adding another gift that I could get elsewhere for less money.

Christmas gifts

5. Avoid impulse shopping by sticking to your list

If you decide to shop in-store, make sure you stick to your list, because impulse shopping can really affect your holiday spending. Those stores depend on impulse shopping, so they use all kinds of strategies to get you to overspend.

That is why the holiday music is on. That is why you can smell the holiday candles before you are anywhere near them. And did you know that people shop 70% more when they are tempted by looking at items while standing in line?

So have your list, check it twice, stick to it, and just get out of that store as soon as possible so you don't overspend.

6. Cross things off and note where you put them

You might start shopping for gifts earlier in the year, when you see a sale or have some free time. In this case, it is crucial to make sure you do not forget that you have already bought this person a gift, and remember where it is.

A few years ago, I bought something for my oldest and hid it, and when holidays came around, I could not find it, so I went and bought it again. All this overspending can be prevented if you cross things off or highlight them once you get them, and write down where exactly you hid them.

7. Set a holiday budget for next year

If you do not have a holiday budget or a spending plan, what you need is to go back to that same list with all the people and all the numbers. Track how much you spent per person, and then calculate the total. This is going to be the amount that you need to set aside for gifts for next year.

My best advice is to divide that amount up per paycheck from January through November, creating a holiday savings account and transferring the money there every month.

This way, the holidays will never be stressful again, because you know that you have all the money you need put aside, so you do not need to worry about that credit card bill hitting you in January. I put it on a credit card that I know is going to give me points or cash back, and I have the money to pay it off in full.

Make sure you truly include all the holiday-related expenses in this. Write down the amount you spent after leaving each store.

Do not forget the holiday dinner grocery bill, which is going to be higher than usual, Christmas cards, family trips (for example, we go to New York every year to see Santa). All these should be part of your holiday budget.

How to save money holiday shopping

Do you have any other ideas for how to save money while holiday shopping? Leave a comment below and share your tips!

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