With two months left before Christmas, the last thing on many people’s minds is holiday shopping. But proactive planning can keep both your pocketbook and sanity intact.
Start by creating a list of the people for whom you’ll purchase gifts, then develop a tentative budget based on the list. Such a holiday shopping budget ensures that your gift spending doesn’t put the rest of your personal finances at peril.
And with nearly two months before Christmas you’ll even have time to put aside a sum of money each week to meet your budget goal. If your holiday budget is $800, for instance, start saving $100 a week to save enough money for your holiday shopping.
Big box retailers have grown weary of shoppers using stores as showrooms to check out products they intend to purchase online. In response, several big box retailers recently announced they will match the prices of their major online competitors during the holiday season.
Target will run its price-matching guarantee between November 1 and December 16, matching the online prices of retailers like Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, and Walmart.com. Best Buy will also match prices found online for appliances and electronics.
Use these new price match policies to secure the best prices at some of your favorite bricks-and-mortars retailers.
Think Black Friday will get you the best prices on holiday gifts? Think again. The day may be great for obtaining lower quality merchandise on the cheap, but according to Consumer Reports, shoppers do at least as well or better by waiting until after Black Friday for the lowest prices on quality merchandise.
Consumer Reports asked the price prediction website Decide.com to analyze the prices of some of Consumer Report’s best recommended products:
“In a significant proportion of cases, Decide.com data showed, the lowest prices of the season on those items were not on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the day following the Thanksgiving weekend. Specifically, more than a quarter of the recommended TVs and cameras were at least 5 per cent cheaper between Cyber Monday and December 13 than they were earlier, including during the Black Friday weekend.”
Shop online on Monday, December 17, 2012 and you’ll receive free shipping with delivery by Christmas Eve at over 1000 online retailers. Last year Free Shipping Day produced over $1 billion in online sales. To check out which online retailers are participating this year, visit FreeShippingDay.com.
Save between 5% – 30% simply by using discounted gift cards. Give them as gifts themselves or use them at retailers where you do your holiday shopping. Check out Giftcardrescue.com, Plasticjungle.com, or Giftcards.com for deals on gift cards from hundreds of merchants.
One of the surest ways to secure great discounts is by following your favorite retailers using social media. Simply by subscribing to your favorite merchant’s twitter feed or facebook page you’ll be eligible for exclusive coupons, deals, and other freebies. Lord and Taylor, for instance offered a facebook offer for 25% off almost everything in the store. Kohl’s offered a facebook coupon for 20% off of store merchandise.
By being smart and planning ahead you can save big bucks this holiday season.
BMWK, What are some of your best holiday shopping your secrets?