The holiday season has officially begun. It's the time of year when many Americans whip out their credit cards to make gift purchases. And, some spend money they don't have. Don't let the holidays flip your good money management upside-down. Follow these few simple tips for smart holiday shopping and you'll find you can save money without sacrificing the quality of your gifts:
Make a List
Before you head out to the stores, start by sitting down and making a list of the people you'd like to buy gifts for. Next, mark down the item you want to buy for each person. In case the store is out of the item, write down some backup ideas or the price range you need to stay in for a gift.
Stick to Your List
When you get to the store, stick to your list! If the item is out of stock, choose the alternate gift option. You can also find a gift that falls in the price range you have set for the person. Buy Gift Cards
Numerous websites and discount retailers sell gift cards at a discounted rate. For example, you can buy a $100 gift card for $90, or any denomination for a percentage of the face value. Start searching for discounted gifts cards on websites like Giftcards.com, eBay, Costco.com and BJs.com.
Websites such as Upromise.com and eBates.com reward you for spending the money you're going to spend anyway. These sites provide you with instant rebates on your purchases or allow you to rack up points that you can use as a discount on future purchases.
Use Rewards Credit Cards
Especially during the holiday shopping season, many credit card companies offer special savings, instant rebates or other rewards for using your credit card. Statement inserts and credit card rewards websites alert you of these special options. You can also contact your credit card issuer for seasonal deals.
Shop Early and Often Don’t wait until the last minute to start your shopping. Start as early as possible or pick up items throughout the year when they're on sale. When you’re shopping in April and notice an item that your family member has been coveting is on sale or is offered with free shopping, pick up the gift at a discount and stash it away for the holidays.
Implement these smart shopping habits and you’ll quickly see the savings add up during your holiday shopping spree.