The holidays are just around the corner. As you scramble to find last-minute gifts for friends and family, your budget might start to feel strained. Here are some money-saving holiday gift shopping tips that you can use:
- Do some quick research.
Before you make a purchase, try to take at least a few minutes to find the item for cheaper elsewhere. Even if you’re in a store and ready to head to the checkout, the retailer might price match competitor’s price. Some stores, such as Staples, Target, and Best Buy will even price match Amazon.com.
- Look for discount and coupon codes.
When buying online or in a store, look for discount and coupon codes. Don’t stop with the first code you find, there may be better offers available, or you might be able to stack multiple coupons.
- Sign up for stores loyalty programs.
Before making a purchase, see if it makes sense to sign up for a store’s loyalty program. Sometimes you can earn points that you can redeem later for gift cards or coupons from the store. Some programs also give you a gift card or coupon when you first join which you can use to save money on gifts.
- Skip the holiday cards.
Instead of sending physical holiday cards, send e-cards instead. You can design your own card and then email them to your friends. Or, for a high-tech and inexpensive alternative, look at the offerings on Paperless Post.
- Use colorful magazines or newspaper as wrapping paper.
You don’t have to spend much on gift boxes or wrapping paper to make your loved ones smile. Colorful magazines, newspapers (particularly the colorful Sunday comics section), and other decorative papers you find work just as well. You might even get some bonus points for creativity.
- Go for cheap but meaningful gifts.
You don’t need to give expensive gifts to make your loved ones feel special. Print and frame a picture of a favorite memory together, give coupons for a date together, or help them finish some of the chores that have been on their to-do list for months.
- Make your own gifts.
If you a creative knack, one of the most effective ways to save money on gifts is to make your own. You might already have a few ideas brewing, but if not you can check Pinterest and YouTube for great do-it-yourself holiday gift ideas.
- Look for free shipping.
On December 18th, hundreds of online retailers offer free shipping on orders as part of Free Shipping Day. There’s no minimum purchase amount, which could make this a good opportunity to get a one-off gift or two. Check individual stores as well because some might offer special shipping offers during the holidays. For example, Target has free shipping through December 25th this year.
- Use student discounts.
Students on a tight budget have one advantage over others when it comes to saving money – there are dozens of stores that offer student discounts. Often students can get 10 to 15 percent off purchases, including items that are already on sale.
Whether you’re looking to save a little money on an expensive purchase or keep your entire budget in check, there are ways to save on last-minute holiday shopping. A little creativity never hurts,