It’s expected that shoppers will spend on average $700 holiday shopping this season, but regardless of how much you plan to spend, you are probably looking for hot holiday deals. What has changed in recent years is the proliferation of social media to help shoppers find the best bargains holiday shopping. So if you don’t want to break the bank, let’s review what Readers Digest suggests are the most important tips for saving money holiday shopping this season.
1. Track prices online for your favorite items while holiday shopping
With the help of sites such as PriceBlink, you can scan thousands of retailers and their competitor’s prices BEFORE you shop. You can also determine what price you are willing to pay and wait to get an email from the site before you buy if it drops to your pre-determined price. Experts claim that tracking prices online before you shop could save you as much as 17% or your purchases.
2. Black Friday may not be the cheapest day to do your holiday shopping
If you’re stuffed with turkey and dressing you may feel like it is time to hit the stores to do your holiday shopping. And now more than ever retailers are making it easier to shop on Thanksgiving or the day after. Experts, however, recommend that Black Friday discounts may be overstated. What do they recommend? They suggest waiting until a few days before Christmas to do your holiday shopping, especially for seasonal items, if you want to find the very best prices.
3. Look online before you do your holiday shopping
Even if you love to walk through stores and look at the merchandise, experts suggest looking online first. Online shopping can save you big bucks, especially if you are able to get stores to match online prices. What if you cannot get the stores to match the online price? It may not matter. Enjoy the mall and then settle in front of the computer to order the perfect gift and often in the holiday season you can get free shipping and handling.
4. Check your credit and debit card rewards programs
Many credit and debit cards are now offering cash back programs. My debit card has hundreds of different stores participating at any one time, many of them offering up to 10 to 15% off my purchases. The savings can really add up, and the bonus is many of these stores are stores I routinely shop at anyway.
5. Review Groupon offers in your city
Using Groupon or another online coupon program can save big bucks this holiday season. Whether it’s an activity, a movie, or dinner, it always pays to see if there are coupons offered online.
Finally, make a budget BEFORE you shop. Nothing is more depressing than getting that first credit card bill after Christmas only to find you overspent and will be paying off your bill for the next three months. Make a list, check it twice, and decide to be a smart shopper this holiday season. Make too many mistakes over too many holidays and you’ll be looking for a bankruptcy lawyer. And there’s nothing merry or happy about that!