Before the autumn leaves have even had a chance to fall, the holiday shopping season will have arrived in full force. The cost of holiday gifts – not to mention, food and decorations – can add up quickly. So, have some creative money and time-saving tips to help you survive the holiday shopping season with your budget and sanity intact.
Tip #1: Use gift cards to stay on budget and save money.
If you shop at a particular retail store regularly – especially during the holiday season – consult your shopping list and use a merchant-specific gift card for everything you are planning to purchase at that store. If you aren’t purchasing a large number of items from any one store in particular, use MasterCard or Visa-branded cards with denominations that match your budget to help you stay on track with your spending. An added bonus - purchasing gift cards at grocery, big-box or convenience stores can also earn you extra rewards and loyalty points to save on other items like gas. Savvy shoppers can buy high dollar gift cards to cash-in on loyalty points and promotions and use the gift cards to make sure they are staying on budget. Win-Win!
Tip #2: Centralize your shopping.
Holiday shopping can be exhausting and time-consuming. Whether you typically get caught up in the holiday hoopla and run out of time to cross everyone off of your list or just prefer value and convenience, one perfect way to knock out all of your shopping in one fell swoop is to look at the Gift Card Mall section of your local grocery or big-box store. That way, as you fill your cart with food for your pending holiday feast or get your home ready with holiday décor, you can also pick up gifts for the whole family by purchasing gift cards.
Tip #3: Avoid shipping costs.
More and more shoppers are trading crowded stores for the convenience of shopping online, but they have to worry about factoring shipping costs into their holiday shopping budget. Check for promo codes often during the holidays, or wait for Free Shipping Day on December 16. Another no-cost delivery option is egift cards, or electronic gift cards. More and more gift givers are going the way of eGift cards because they’re easy to use, can be personalized and feature electronic delivery. They’re delivered via email free of charge and can be redeemed by printing it out to use at the store or using the gift code online.
So there you go! It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and overspend, but taking advantage of these tips can save you valuable time, money and energy during a season that typically leaves you short on all three.