An Affordable Holiday: Tips to Saving Time and Money on Holiday Shopping

by David Sung

 As much as we love the holiday season, it can be one of the most stressful times of the year becoming a major burden mentally, as well as a burden on our wallets. Now that Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday are all behind us, you may have realized that you didn’t cross as many items off your holiday shopping list as you’d hoped. But you don’t have to go broke this holiday season to fill in the gaps, as there are still a number of ways you can save money on holiday gifts.

Making a List and Checking it Twice

If you haven’t already, make a list of all the people you want to buy gifts for. Start by writing down the names of your primary gift recipients such as your closest friends and family followed by your secondary recipients such as your neighbors, co-workers, and book club members.  After you have categorized the recipients, write your price range next to each primary recipient. This way you will know how much money you have left to spend on the secondary recipients so you can avoid exceeding your holiday shopping budget. This will also prevent you from ‘over gifting’ to the people higher on the list, leaving little money for everyone else.

Online Shopping

If you already have gift ideas, then it is time to start your online research. Comparing prices and deals online is the best way to ensure you’re getting the best deals for the gifts. Many of the best deals will appear after Cyber Monday as retailers rush to move product before the season ends. But with the clutter of online advertisements during the holiday season, it can be difficult to figure out which deals to take advantage of. Instead of searching aimlessly for deals online, you can save time and money by frequenting deal aggregator sites that compile the best deals and discounts from all over the web. LifeHacker.com has come up with list of the top five deal websites, nominated by users and bargain hunters just like you.

Save on Shipping

Online shopping can save you both time and money, but people often make the mistake of purchasing items online from a large number of different online retailers. Many retailers offer free or reduced shipping costs when purchasing a specified amount online. Purchase as many items on your holiday shopping list from as few online retailers as possible to take advantage of shipping deals. If you have an Amazon Prime membership, be sure to take advantage of their free two-day shipping benefits for members. You won’t want to delay shipping either, as shipping costs rise dramatically closer to the end of the season.

Rewards Points

Rewards credit cards can be used to both save you money and rack up even more rewards points to use for later purchases. We’ve all purchased an item or two only to find out it went on sale the next day. The Citi Price Rewind program from Citigroup lets credit cardholders get a partial refund on those items purchased before the sale. The holidays are also a perfect time to redeem the points you’ve racked up over the year for holiday gift cards. Cardholders participating in such a rewards program can then either give the gift cards as gifts or use them to purchase items on their holiday shopping lists.

Holiday Shopping Apps

More consumers than ever before are using tablets and smartphones to search for holiday gifts, compare prices, and make purchases. Target, Macy’s, eBay, and Amazon, and other popular retailers have created some great mobile shopping apps to save you even more time and money this holiday season. AppAdvice.com has a great list of smartphone apps for holiday shopping if you’re interested in saving some time crossing off items on your gift list.

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