We were in our neighborhood Wal-Mart last week and there before our wondering eyes did appear Christmas trees and Christmas ornaments galore. We knew that Christmas was fast approaching that we had no idea that it had gotten here before Halloween.
Will you begin your holiday shopping this early or will you do as we do and wait until we’ve digested the last remnants of your Thanksgiving dinner? Holiday shopping is a big expense for many Americans. According to a study done by Gallup the average American adult intends to spend $781 on holiday gifts this year. How does this compare with your holiday shopping budget? This will most likely depend on the size of your family. If you have a small family you may end up spending much less than this. But if you have a large family you could end up spending even more. But regardless of how much you’re budgeting for your holiday shopping it’s always important to save money and here are six ways to do this you’ve probably never heard before.
Get sale prices without waiting for a sale
We know that one good way to save money on holiday shopping is by waiting for sales of which there will be many. According to a study published on NRF.com, more than half of shoppers intend to shop at discount stores. However you don’t have to wait. Numerous retailers including Sears, Target, Best Buy, Macy’s and Wal-Mart offer what are called price adjustments. What this amounts to is if you buy an item at full price and then see that it’s been marked down within a certain number of days you can present your receipt to a sales clerk and you will be credited the difference. For example, suppose you bought your significant other a tablet at Best Buy for $119 only to find a month later the same one selling for $99. Take that $119 receipt into Best Buy and you should be credited for the $20 difference.
How would you know about price drops? There are sites such as PriceBlink and Trackit where you could sign up to have monitored the prices of the stuff you purchased and then receive alerts if their prices drop.
If your retailer won’t adjust your prices you might be able to get help from your credit card issuer. MasterCard, Discover and Citibank all offer price protection for eligible purchases.
Take advantage of those juicy Black Friday prices and without fighting the crowds
Have you ever tried to take advantage of one of those great Black Friday sales only to find you’re at the end of a line of 100 people? Here’s a tip you’ve probably never thought about. Many people will fight those crowds, get those great prices and then resell the stuff on eBay for a slight profit. Be sure to check eBay on or shortly after Black Friday weekend and you might find you’ll have to pay only slightly more for the stuff you want than if you had stood in line for several hours.
It’s possible to save money even if you pass on those Black Friday sales. In fact, retailers such as Amazon, Toys “R” Us and Wal-Mart will have better prices as it gets closer to Christmas. Most experts say you’ll find the best prices from December 18 through December 24. And if you were eyeing a big purchase such as an HDTV you’d be better off waiting until January or even early February as this is when you’ll find their best prices. The same thing is true of winter clothing, high-end gaming laptops and furniture. You say that your significant other is expecting one of these high-ticket items for Christmas? Then how about giving him or her a gift card for the equivalent amount of money so they could go shopping after the holidays and get more bang for their buck?
Buy discounted gift cards
Did you know that the most requested gift item for the past eight years is gift cards?. You can find them selling at discounted prices on sites such as GiftCards.com, CardCash and Raise. You could use these cards to save money on your shopping or give them as gifts. Gift Card Granny and Cardhub are sites where you will find which card reseller has the best deals. For example, a Bath & Body Works gift card valued at $100 was recently selling for $83.01 on SaveYa. That would save you 17% next time you shop at Bath & Body Works. Do be aware that some of the used gift cards will have funds remaining on them. If you get one of these cards to use as a gift your recipient could see it was used. To maximize the odds you are getting a new card opt for one with a face value of $25, $30, $50 and so and not one that shows a face value like $15.44.
Take advantage of Amazon Prime
If you’ve been shying away from Amazon Prime because of the $99 annual fee you might want to rethink this. Membership in Amazon Prime has numerous benefits including early access to sales and free-two day shipping. Plus, the prices on Amazon Prime are almost always better than what you would pay in a retail outlet. For that matter, you can avoid the $99 annual fee by signing up for a free 30-day membership and then cancel out after your holiday shopping.
Look for discounted non-gift items
You can save on stuff during the holiday shopping season that isn’t just for gifting. You will find a lot of non-gift items marked down so you could save money on the stuff you buy every day. As an example of this, many online drugstores offer holiday sales, which would allow you to stock up on the basic household products and bath and toiletries you use throughout the year. Groupon and Aster Wines have big online sales every holiday season. Take advantage of them and you could stock up on wine for the rest of the year or save a few dollars on the bottles you’ll need to take to your holiday parties.
What’s really important is to learn all the tips you can for saving money on your holiday shopping. That way, you won’t find your checking account sitting on empty by New Year’s day. Or you won’t be buried under an avalanche of credit card bills come the end of January.