Young couple shopping for the holidaysIt’s that time of year again – holiday shopping season! But this year can be different; you don’t have to rack up a big bill. Holiday spending and debt are at all-time high. In fact, it’s expected that the average American will spend $854 in gifts for friends and loved ones, according to Investopedia. But with our tips and tricks to save at a time when saving seems impossible, you’ll be able to start the New Year with a positive mind, spirit and bank account!

Here are six surefire ways to feel good about holiday shopping this year

Shop Online

We all know shopping online saves time, but many people still have reservations about how it can save money. So, let me clarify. Online shopping gives you a big advantage because you can quickly compare prices from a variety of retailers to find the lowest price. The thing you have to watch is shipping costs. However, many retailers offer free shipping if you’re spending a substantial amount of money, especially around the holidays. So, to maximize your savings with online shopping, find a discounted retailer that carries an array of products, like Overstock, where you can find many of the gifts you need for various friends and family that you can buy in one place. With consolidated shopping at one online store that has free shipping, you’ll have maximum benefits of saving time and money. Not to mention the added bonus of avoiding holiday shopping crowds.

Shop Early

Timing is everything in life. And the same applies to shopping. To begin with, we all know the lowest prices can be found during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And if you don’t mind being part of a massive crowd, this will work fine for you. But if you’re not as aggressive as some Black Friday shoppers, there are other ways to save. You can also shop early and avoid crowds at stores that guarantee price adjustments if the price drops lower within a certain amount of time after purchase. If this is the case, you can simply go back to the store with your receipt and have the difference refunded. And did you know that there are even “sweet spots” to buy certain products? Yep. For example, you can save the most on buying travel items if you buy November 15–21. 

Use Technology

Technology is your friend (even if you sometimes feel like you can’t keep up). Whether it’s simply shopping online or using the latest apps for an instore search comparison, tech tools bring you a lot of data all at once so you can do a quick comparison and purchase where you find the lowest price. One of our favorite apps, which you can also use at any computer, is the PriceJump tool, which does a quick retail price comparison on products you want to buy. It’s as easy as scanning a bar code (or to copy and paste to the tool bar if you’re online) for fast results before you buy. Results show the lowest price online, the lowest price in your area and the lowest price on Amazon. With such easy ways to check prices when you’re shopping, there’s no excuse for not saving big by finding the lowest prices on all your items!

Compare Prices

Compare, compare, compare. This tip goes hand-in-hand with tip number five. There are plenty of retailers online and in your neighborhood, so you need to make sure you do your research before purchasing. With the right due diligence, you can find the lowest price out there and rest assured you’ve been a smart shopper.

Use Coupons

Whether digital or physical coupons, coupon savings add up quick. In fact, despite popular belief, coupons are still widely used. According to USA Today, “17% of shoppers said they type in a discount code online, and 15% said they use coupons and discount codes saved in their phone…Even those ages 18–24 are using paper coupons about twice as much as any other method.” So why shouldn’t you get in this easy way to save? There are so many methods to couponing that fit your lifestyle and make saving easy. And today, there are online coupon savings platforms that let you find discounts on almost anything. For example, with Valpak you can get coupons online or in-hand, and with so many local and national retailers, you’re sure to find gifts for everyone on your list, no matter what their interests are.

Do-It-Yourself, DIY

Never underestimate the power of doing it yourself. Even if you’re not a regular Martha Stewart with tons of decorative or transformational ideas for the holiday season, you can still muster up enough creativity to give gifts that bring a smile. One well-loved idea is to print out a picture of you and your friend or relative and frame it for a gift. This is something very personalized that they can enjoy the whole year through. Bake some seasonal treats and package them with ribbons or bows for another holiday favorite – who doesn’t love cookies? Either way, DIY gifts are the perfect gift for people on an extreme budget, with the added bonus of a personal touch that lets people know you took the time and care.

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