With Black Friday around the corner, steals and deals are on our minds, and if you’re anything like us (and we think you probably are!), you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck this holiday season! To help you do just that, we’ve solicited the help of money saving expert Rob Ayotte – check out his 6 Ways to Save More Money on Holiday Gift Giving below, and visit Money Crashers for more advice on how to spend smartly!
6 Ways to Save More Money on Holiday Gift Giving
With all the stress and hullabaloo associated with the upcoming holiday season, it can be easy to take your eye off the ball when it comes to saving money on gift-giving. Of course, you want to spread the holiday cheer and show your friends and loved ones how much they mean to you, but the last thing you want to do is kick off 2014 with an inordinate amount of credit card debt. Instead, put some thought into a gift-buying strategy and figure out how you can cut your holiday costs. Here are six tips to get you started.
1. Take Full Advantage of Black Friday
We all know that Black Friday is a great day to score deals on gifts, but in order to truly save, you’re going to have to do a little more than just trek out on November 29th. Start online. Many retailers offer the same great discounts on their websites as they do in-store. This can decrease your stress level on the big day, helping you avoid that unnecessary impulse purchase. Next, make sure you use the right credit card for each Black Friday purchase. The Chase Freedom card offers 5% cash back on items bought from Amazon and select retail stores, and the Discover Card does the same for online purchases. Do a quick Internet search for a coupon code for any products you’re considering buying online. Even if you just get an additional 10% off, it’s still worth your efforts. The websites RetailMeNot and Coupons are good places to start.
2. Never Pay for Shipping
Just like you can get discount codes for reduced prices on Black Friday purchases, you can also find them for free shipping. If you can’t locate one, make sure your total purchase from any particular website beats the threshold to qualify for free shipping. At Staples, it’s $19.99, and at Amazon, it’s $35. Bundle your purchases together with the help of an organized gift list in order to avoid these unnecessary fees.
3. Boost Your Cash Back
In addition to taking advantage of the best cash-back rewards programs for the credit cards in your possession, boost your savings even more by signing up at the website eBates. Simply shop through it, using its links, and you receive additional cash back in the form of a check. This is truly free money and you get it just by adding an extra step to your gift-buying process.
4. Give Creative Gifts
To truly save money on gifts, give them from the heart instead of from your wallet. A handcrafted coupon good for a month’s worth of babysitting is sure to go over well with anyone with kids, and an offer to cook several dinners or do laundry for a month is certainly going to be a hit with your partner. Get some cheap crate paper from your dollar store and dress up your personalized coupon as you see fit. And remember, this isn’t being cheap - it’s giving a gift to someone on your list who can truly appreciate it.
5. Keep Gift Cards on Your Radar
Instead of taking a chance on an expensive purchase that you’re not sure the recipient is going to like, why not scale back the dollar amount and get a gift card instead? If you use a website like Raise you can even buy one for less than the purchase value. This saves you money and cuts down dramatically on the time you have to spend choosing and buying a gift. Just be sure that any gift card you select comes with no activation or inactivity fees.
6. Sign Up For a Deal-Sharing Website
Instead of spending hours combing the Internet looking for deals, sign up for a deal-sharing website like Hukkster. You get the best deals on holiday items available both online and in retail stores. If you happen to uncover a deal on your own, post that to the website in order to keep the information flowing and keep your fellow deal sharers happy.
It’s important to save as much money as you can year-round but it’s especially critical during the holiday season. You may already be forking over cash to host Christmas parties, and holiday vacations, if you take them, can get expensive in a hurry. If you’ve been in the habit of starting off the new year with a lot of credit card debt, think about how much easier financial management becomes when you take that out of the equation. Consider the above tips or come up with a few strategies of your own, and always be guided by the knowledge that the less money you spend in the ensuing months, the better off your overall financial picture is going to be.