It doesn’t matter how committed we are to saving money throughout the year, somehow the holidays roll around and there is never enough to do all that we want to do. By the time we figure out who needs what and then remember all the ‘little’ gifts we need to buy for Secret Santa and the kids’ teachers, that money goes all too quickly. In my 60+ years on this planet, I have learned some real ‘money saving tips’ that can get you through the holidays intact, with a gift for everyone and a little breathing room to boot!
Start Christmas Shopping December 26
Of course we all know that Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) all merchandise goes on sale by as much as 50% off. While we generally tend to buy things we need on that day, like housewares and clothing, it’s time to rethink all those marvelous sales. Keep back a small bit of your ‘Christmas budget’ just for using on this day to start buying for next year.If you find a really great bargain on an item that could be given to any number of family members or friends, buy it! Pack it away until next December and you will already be one gift ahead.
After Christmas Deals Online
When I was growing up, there were no personal computers, and certainly no internet, so any after Christmas deals had to be found at local retail merchants. The beauty of living in the 21st century is that literally every retailer has after Christmas deals that they post online which makes it a perfect time to start thinking about next year. Sure, some products may be obsolete by then and of course you can’t buy perishable goods. However, many items such as jewelry and toys are marked down so significantly that it actually pays to buy a few things this far ahead. Some stores even offer free shipping! There are online sites like Dealio.com that will search the web for the best after Christmas deals and provide links for you to follow. This makes searching so much easier.
End of Winter Sales
One of the best times to buy winter clothing is during the end of season sales. These sales can be found both online and at local retailers. There isn’t a Christmas that passes where we don’t buy some sort of clothing as gifts for children, spouses or even friends. Take advantage of the end of winter sales that generally start sometime in late February or early March when all the Spring and Summer fashions hit the shelves. If you’re buying for growing children, just buy a size or two larger than they are in now! These sales are too good to pass up and can significantly lower the cost of your Christmas gifts for next year.
Two for the Price of One
Unless you have a Christmas savings account at your credit union or bank that can’t be touched until a certain time of the year, when you find a ‘two for one’ sale at any time during the year jump on it! If you have to dip into that savings account in May or June, it is money well spent. Because those will be Christmas gifts that you’re tucking away, there is no need to feel guilty about spending the money. Even if you only know where one of the items is going, don’t worry! Some last minute gift always crops up unexpected and you’ll have an extra on hand.
Christmas in July
Most of us look at Christmas in July as just another gimmick where merchants try to rid themselves of stock to make room for new items. This may be true, but use it to your advantage. The weather may be 95 degrees in the shade and the furthest thing from our minds is Christmas, yet those sales are just too good to waste. Buy a few gifts to add to your booty and when Christmas shopping rolls around you might be almost halfway there! This is a perfect time for toys, housewares and electronics. Clothing would probably be out of season by Christmas, but gadgets are in season all year long.
Cyber Monday Deals
One of the ‘newer’ traditions I have become familiar with is Cyber Monday deals. Of course, we didn’t have them when my kids were growing up, but for parents raising kids today, this is the perfect way to go shopping without those rug rats catching wind of what you’re buying. It sure does beat paying a babysitter too! Just wait until they are nicely tucked into bed, and boot up your computer. Cyber Monday deals begin on the Monday after Thanksgiving and every merchant who has website will have some kind of fantastic promotion that you can only find online. There are great sites that will even list all the Cyber Monday deals in one place so that you can click from link to link to link. Gifts are usually delivered during the day, so just pack them away while the kids are in school and they’ll never be the wiser.
These are just some things I have learned along the way, and if you get creative, there are tons more ways to literally cut your Christmas budget in half. Online deals, end of season sales, Christmas in July and ‘two for the price of one’ are just some tricks that I have used to save some money along the way. I have even found that if I shop wisely, I can give more gifts and still come out ahead. You’d be amazed what a little advance planning and a PC (with internet access of course) can do to provide some real savings on Christmas shopping. Who knows, you might even have enough left over to go out for New Year’s Eve!
This was a guest post provided by the writers of dealio.com
What have you learned when shopping for the holidays?