7 Ridiculously Easy Tips to Save Money on Holiday Shopping

Save Money on Holiday Shopping

St. Nick has to squeeze down chimneys, but you, my friend, need to squeeze every penny out of every dollar this holiday season. Who doesn’t?

Here are seven ridiculously easy tips that can save your money, your credit, and your sanity this holiday season… and tips at the end for even greater savings next year!

Vilebrequin - holiday season

Vilebrequin – holiday season (Photo credit: thinkretail)

1) Shop locally owned stores. Independent, neighborhood retailers have the reputation for being “more expensive,” but that’s not necessarily the case. You can save time and shipping costs shopping locally. Bonus? You’re contributing to a healthier local economy, too, especially if you pay with cash.

2) Bundle your purchases. Some major chain stores will give you a discount if you reach a certain purchase amount. Some credit cards will do the same. Combine store and credit card offers for greatest discounts — assuming you can pay the credit card off in full at the end of the month. Otherwise, your “savings” are lost.

3) Shop artisan. Many artisans undervalue their wares and sell them at a deep discount relative to what you’d pay for the same artisan item in a specialty shop. Shop directly with an artisan for the best deals on handmade items before their items reach retailers. For example, you can purchase decorative clay dinosaurs and other reptiles directly from this artist via her website or on a site like Etsy.com.

4) Buy Christmas cards in bulk. Individual, personalized Christmas cards are wonderful, but buying the same holiday card in bulk is cheaper. Just make sure you personalize them! Who will know (or care) they got the same card as someone else if you personalize it?

5) Pay cash. There’s something about peeling back those greenbacks that will make you a more cautious shopper. Paying cash for gifts will ensure you don’t spend too much. It will also save you from accumulating credit card fees or costly interest, too. Make your gift list and divide the cash into envelopes for each person so you make sure it stretches.

6) Shop downtown. Downtowns offer a range of independent businesses clustered near one another. Doing as much of your shopping as possible here will reduce your driving and parking expenses, in addition to being more convenient.

7) Do something else. Instead of giving some “thing” as a present, how about giving the gift of an experience? An experience can be practically anything and if you use creativity can cost next to nothing. Cooking someone a meal, accompanying them on a project, or making them something handmade are all good starting places to save money and be generous. Giving your time, attention, and love are the best gifts of all.

As for next year? You’ll be ahead of the savings game next holiday season, too, if you keep these tactics in mind:

  • Watch for the end-of-season clearance sales for deep discounts on items you can reuse.
  • Shop earlier in the year — this spreads out the expense over more months and gives you more time for personalized projects you might want to give as gifts.
  • You can make an offer of time-gifting for everyone on your list (e.g., babysitting, helping out on a project, etc.) and mark it all out on a big calendar. Just imagine, in the next holiday season you could be done buying expensive “gifts” altogether!

Katie McCaskey is a blogger, author, & freelance small business journalist who writes for Vistaprint. She is also co-owner of George Bowers Grocery, a neighborhood grocery/café/beer garden in Staunton, Virginia.

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