When the holidays arrive, everyone is shopping and preparing their gift lists – but buying presents for every one of your friends and family members is expensive. Fortunately, instead of spending big, you can find ways to make shopping for the perfect gifts fit your budget.
Here are five ways to save money while tackling your holiday shopping list.
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1. Do Your Shopping On Tuesdays
While it’s easy to assume the best days of the week to shop are Saturday and Sunday, you won’t save as much money if you opt to shop on the weekend. The lowest prices often appear during the week. And if you’re searching for big savings, you’ll want to plan your holiday shopping for a Tuesday.
According to the New York Times, shopping online on Tuesdays will net you the best prices of the entire year. Retailers offer the lowest prices on Tuesday every week – and it’s also the day that most e-commerce sites will release brand-new discounts.
2. Shop After 6PM
You likely wake up each day during the holiday season to find both your email inbox and your physical mailbox stuffed full of offers, sale announcements, and circulars from your favorite stores. While weekend-long sales are often the most advertised sales, you could actually save more money by shopping just before these sales start.
Business Insider reports that shopping the night before a store’s big sale begins can help you stick to your budget and save on gifts. Most retailers actually mark down the products that’ll go on sale at 6PM the night before. And even if you don’t see the items on sale on the store’s shelves, the registers are typically updated to honor the sale price starting at 6PM.
3. Choose Discounted Gift Cards
Gift cards are one of the most requested gifts during the holidays, and they’re incredibly easy to buy. You pick the amount you want to spend and that’s all you have to pay. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t save money when you load up gift cards for your loved ones.
You can check out discount gift card retailers online and save anywhere from 5 to 30 percent on gift cards, Forbes writes. Search online for discounted gift cards and you could find the perfect gift card at a significant discount – Nordstrom gift cards for 5 percent off, or Happy Socks gift cards for 15 percent off, for example – making your purchase cheaper.
You can also put some of your money back into your pocket with restaurants’ holiday gift card promotions. Many restaurants, such as Morton’s, Ruth’s Chris, Olive Garden, Outback, Chipotle, and Steak n Shake, offer free gift cards with the purchase of a certain amount of gift cards.
For example, buying $50 in gift cards at one restaurant chain could net you an extra $10 gift card, giving you another gift for free or allowing you to put those freebies to use the next time you’re out to eat.
4. Earn Your Money Back with Cash Back Sites
You may have to pay full price for some gifts on your holiday shopping list, but you can still save with every purchase you make if you take advantage of cash back programs. There are plenty of websites, such as Ebates, Mr. Rebates, and Retail Me Not, that offer shoppers the chance to save with coupon codes and earn cashback on every shopping trip.
Sign up for a cash back program and complete all of your online shopping through that site. You’ll be able to click through that cashback site and shop at all your favorite retailers – and you’ll net a percentage of what you spend back. As you shop online, you’ll earn anywhere from 1 to 10 percent back, racking up money that you’ll receive in the form of a check or online deposit each quarter.
5. Comparison Shop Before Buying Anything
The most important step to save on your holiday shopping this year is to always take the time to comparison shop before making a purchase. This easy, quick act could save you significantly, especially if you’re shopping for big-ticket items.
With all of the sales happening during the holiday season, comparison shopping will let you know whether a discount or deal is truly the best possible price. When you’re looking for a specific item – say, a tech device or a hot new toy – search online and look for other retailers offering the very same product. See what those online or in-person stores are offering, and search for any deals or discounts they might have happening.
Taking a few minutes to search and compare will net you big savings over the course of the holidays. A quick online search could show you just how much of a difference there is between retailers, helping you save a few dollars or a huge percentage.