In the U.S. alone, Americans spend almost 700 billion at retail stores during the holiday season.
Christmas shopping has already begun, but if you're anything like me, you probably won't start your Christmas shopping until the week of Christmas.
The holiday season is usually the highest spending time of the year, but cutting costs and saving money can be very easy as long as the right steps are taken. There's no need to go into credit card debt, and the options I listed below will ensure that you save as much money as you possibly can.
Shopping for the holidays ahead of time is a smart idea, so if you can, you should. If you wait until last minute, you can still get great deals online and in store.
1. Check Groupon for gifts.
The discounts given by Groupon are out of this world. Before I go anywhere or buy anything, I recommend checking Groupon.
You can find almost any item on the app or website, such as a highly discounted:
- massage and other spa-related deals
- electronics (Mac laptop, Beats headphones)
- jewelry, clothing, home decor
- travel deal (cruise, all-inclusive resort, etc.) more people should take advantage of Groupon's travel deals
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2. Take advantage of Cyber Monday and other online deals.
Cyber Monday almost always has the best deals an online retailer will have all year long. You're likely to find websites offering up to 80% off original prices. Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, and other big-name companies will have amazing deals all day long.
3. Get an Amazon Prime membership.
Having an Amazon membership has so many benefits. Giving the gift of an Amazon membership is highly recommended, too, since the individual can get the benefits listed below.
Benefits of having an Amazon Prime membership:
- free 2-day shipping – great for last minute shopping, unlimited deliveries no matter what the size is, same day delivery on over a million items in certain cities, and tons more
- instant unlimited video streaming
- over 2 million songs
- unlimited access to over a thousand books
- free unlimited photo storage
- + tons more
4. Find ways to make additional cash.
Making or saving an extra $50 can help buy a couple gifts or even more than that if you find good deals. Here are some other articles that can teach you to save more money each month of the year.
- 10 Ways To Cut Your Monthly Expenses – By following the tips in this post, you can save money all year long and have more money by the end of the year for gifts.
- 10 Budget Travel Tips – Find out how to save money every time you travel, especially during the travel season.
- 10 Ways To Save Money At The Grocery Store – Learn how to save money every time you go grocery shopping. Saving $10+ each time you go shopping can add up to over a $1000 or more at the end of the year.
5. Take advantage of Pinterest.
Pinterest has thousands of DIY projects to choose from for the holiday season. All you have to do is type in “DIY” in the search bar and a bunch of different projects will come up.
Type in “DIY gifts” and you'll get projects that are geared toward your specific needs. Pinterest is addicting, warning you now. =)
Related: 10 Gifts For The Food Lover
6. Answer surveys.
Answering surveys are such an easy way to make money online in the comfort of your own home. This can be done pretty much anywhere with internet service, too.
A few of my favorite survey sites are:
7. Get cash back on online shopping.
Ebates will give you cash back on online shopping you do. Ebates will benefit anyone who shops online and wants to make extra money. If you regularly shop online, you might as well use Ebates because it's so easy to use.
Who doesn't like cash back?
- Shop through Ebates at your favorite stores
- Earn cashback on purchases
- Receive money back
8. Make a list and stick to it.
Making a list and simply sticking to the list is one of the easiest things a person can do to save money during the holidays.
We often tend to veer off the list and buy more than we need, when that is not necessary at all. People don't need more “stuff” to clutter up their homes.
9. Always check online discount apps such as RetailMeNot.com.
Before stopping at the mall or any store, download the RetailMeNot app on your phone and type in the store you are visiting in the search bar. A few different coupon codes should pop up, giving you different options to save money.
There's almost always a coupon code for a store, so make it a duty to check the app before entering the story.
So many stores given student discounts, so be sure to ask the store if they give discounts before purchasing anything. Lots of restaurants give out student discounts, which is awesome for any broke college student (which is most of us, I think!).
Related: Ibotta is an app that gives you cash back at popular stores like as Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and many other stores. Sign up here and get $10 in your account.
10. Avoid the Buy One Get One Half Off Deal.
So often we think that buying a second item is saving us money. What it's really doing is making us purchase more “things' and give more gifts than are actually necessary. This deal is only good if you're honestly going to give the 2 gifts to 2 separate people.
You might even find a better deal by ditching the BOGO half off deal by going to a discount store and finding an item for 50% off.
Related: 10 Gifts For The Traveler
If you follow the money saving tips I mentioned for the holiday season, I guarantee you'll spend a lot less on gifts this year. We often buy too many things, spend way more than we need to, and don't look for discounts when they are so easily accessible.
The holidays shouldn't be a stressful season, but we often make it that way.
If you don't have money to spend this year, get creative and send a personal, thoughtful card to your friend or relative. I've received cards in the past that were far more thoughtful than most gifts I have received.
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What are you doing to save money this holiday season?
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