10 Ways to Save Big on Holiday Shopping

Author: Kailey Hagen | October 16, 2020

Person holding gift wrapped presents

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It's almost that time of year again

With everyone distracted by the pandemic, the recession, and every other crazy thing that's happened this year, it's totally understandable if the holiday season has snuck up on you. The good news is you still have plenty of time to plan and buy all the things you need.

But before you jump in your car or hop on to your favorite store's website, take a few minutes to review these holiday shopping tips so you can get what you need at a reasonable price this year.

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1. Stick to a budget

Without a budget, it's easy to go overboard buying little things for every person on your list. But it all adds up. Decide how much you're going to spend on food and decor and make a list of all the people you have to buy gifts for. Then, set a dollar amount you'd like to spend on each person and stick to that.

As you shop, keep track of how much you spend on each person. Remember to include sales tax and shipping costs or you could end up going over budget.

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Group of friends exchanging gifts

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2. Do a gift exchange

If you can work it out with your family and friends, do a gift exchange rather than purchasing a gift for everyone on your list. This way, you only need to buy a single present instead of several.

It's best to suggest this idea right away before other people begin shopping for the holidays. They may be reluctant to participate if they've already bought a bunch of gifts.

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3. Shop around

If you're interested in items you can find at multiple stores, you should always compare prices first to make sure you're getting the best deal. When shopping online, don't forget to include shipping costs, if necessary.

You should also aim to shop at as few online stores as possible to reduce your shipping costs. Some stores are willing to price match their competitors if you find a better deal elsewhere, so you may be able to leverage this to get a better deal at your preferred retailer.

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4. Buy in store when you can

Online stores may have a greater variety of items than what you can find in your local stores, but when you buy something in store, you don't have to worry about shipping costs. That can save you a few dollars on every order.

If your town has some unique shops, you may also be able to find some gifts in store that you won't be able to find anywhere else. This can be a great way to help your gift stand out from others.

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A clothing sale 25% off sign

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5. Watch for sales

You're probably familiar with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but those aren't the only sales you may run into. Start watching out for sales at your favorite stores right now and take advantage of them whenever you can.

Check the company's website or social media page for information on current and upcoming sales. You can also subscribe to its email list, if it has one, to stay up to date on store deals. The company may also send you coupons this way.

Our credit card expert uses this card, and it could earn you $1,148 (seriously)
As long as you pay them off each month, credit cards are a no-brainer for savvy Americans. They protect against fraud far better than debit cards, help raise your credit score, and can put hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars in rewards back in your pocket each year.

But with so many cards out there, you need to choose wisely. This top-rated card offers the ability to pay 0% interest on purchases until late 2021, has some of the most generous cash back rewards we’ve ever seen (up to 5%!), and somehow still sports a $0 annual fee.

That’s why our expert – who has reviewed hundreds of cards – signed up for this one personally. Click here to get free access to our expert’s top pick.

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A pair of scissors lying on top of a messy pile of coupons

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6. Use coupons

You can find coupons these days for a lot of stores just by doing an internet search. There are also some browser plug-ins now that will automatically scan every coupon code available on the internet to help you find the one that offers the best rate. Use these as much as you can to help reduce your out-of-pocket costs.

Check your local newspaper for coupons on holiday decor and groceries, too. Even if this only saves you a few pennies, that can still add up over time.

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7. Shop early or late

Waiting until right before the holidays to buy the things you need is often costly because many stores will already be sold out of them. The ones that still have the items you want may be charging more for them because they can. Shopping early ensures you get what you need while prices are still reasonable.

If you know you won't see someone until after the holidays, you could also wait until they're over before buying gifts. Stores often run some great sales then to get rid of excess holiday merchandise they didn't sell beforehand.

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People toasting wine glasses over a big meal

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8. Host a potluck dinner

Preparing an entire holiday meal on your own can be expensive, not to mention time-consuming. So share the task with your family and friends. Assign each person a dish so you only have to worry about making one or two things.

Don't go too overboard with food, either. You might be used to having big feasts in years past, but the holidays are likely going to be a little more subdued this year due to the pandemic, so you may not need as much as you're used to.

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9. Use a rewards credit card

Use a cash back credit card to purchase all of your holiday items, if you can do so without taking on credit card debt or adding to the debt you already have. Cash back cards enable you to recoup some of the money spent on your purchases. This usually ranges from a standard 1% back to up to 5% back on some items.

If you have existing credit card points, you can also redeem them now for gift cards. You may give these to others as gifts or use them to purchase the gifts you know your family and friends really want.

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Woman making jewelry

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10. Make homemade gifts

If you're artistically inclined, you may be able to make a gift for a family member or friend. That's often cheaper than purchasing a comparable gift from a store, and it will mean more because it's handmade.

You will need to budget for the cost of materials, and you will also have to budget your time to ensure you have everything done by the holidays. Don't bite off more than you can chew or you may end up without gifts for some people.

Our credit card expert uses this card, and it could earn you $1,148 (seriously)
As long as you pay them off each month, credit cards are a no-brainer for savvy Americans. They protect against fraud far better than debit cards, help raise your credit score, and can put hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars in rewards back in your pocket each year.

But with so many cards out there, you need to choose wisely. This top-rated card offers the ability to pay 0% interest on purchases until late 2021, has some of the most generous cash back rewards we’ve ever seen (up to 5%!), and somehow still sports a $0 annual fee.

That’s why our expert – who has reviewed hundreds of cards – signed up for this one personally. Click here to get free access to our expert’s top pick.

Previous

Next

A piggy bank wearing Santa cap situated next to decorative gifts

Source: Getty Images

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Ready to get shopping?

Keep these 10 tips in mind as you start on your 2020 holiday shopping. At the very least, craft your budget right now and begin saving for gifts if you haven't already so you're not scrambling to come up with the cash later on.

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