The holiday season can be expensive with all the parties, gifts, and relatives. Online shopping is not only convenient, but can also help you spend less. From cash-back offers to free shipping deals, the internet can help ease budget pains. Just follow a few easy tips to stay debt-free through the holiday season.
- Make a Budget: Like anything else in life, budgeting what you can spend during the holiday season can keep you debt free. Before you start shopping, decide what you can afford to spend. Afterward, create a list of all the people you will need to purchase gifts for and assign a dollar amount to each. There are quite a few downloadable budgets offered online, such as organizedchristmas.com that can help you keep track of your spending.
- Start early: Start by creating a savings account and set aside an amount of money you would like towards your holiday spending. Setting aside twenty dollars each pay period can add up to 480 dollars for your holiday shopping! You may be able to find holiday gifts during other sales throughout the year. Many companies have big holiday sales during different months of the year, helping you save money on gifts for family members. Than for the best online sale of the season, try to shop on Cyber Monday, November 29th.
- Get a deal on gift cards: Nabbing a good deal is as easy as searching a website. Check in regularly at plasticjungle.com to find discounted gift cards for stores you frequent during the holidays. Sometimes you can find gift cards for 40-50% off! You can also swap gift cards for old ones that you will not use.
- Get cash back: There’s no reason not to make a habit of doing your shopping through a rebate or cash back website. Try ebates.com to get rebated back a small percentage of your purchase back. It can be generally between 2-20%.
- Get informed: Sign up for your favorite store’s email and newsletter, you’ll be ready to pounce the moment an amazing sale arising or your item is marked down.
- Get coupons and codes: Don’t hit “buy” until you’ve searched for a discount or free shipping code at one of these popular sites: retailmenot.com, couponcabin.com or currentcodes.com. Searching through your preferred search engine can also led you to many discount offers or coupon code to use for your future purchases.
- Buy on layaway: A few popular retail stores have layaway programs where you can put down a small down payment and then make biweekly payments in the store to take it home in eight weeks. Other retailers use an online store that deducts monthly payments from your banking account and charges a small transaction fee that is less than the interest you would accrue purchasing it on a credit card. For an extra fee, the website can even help raise your credit score.
- Send E-cards: Used to spending a small fortune to ship and buy holiday cards for the ever growing list? Instead, spend ten dollars for a year supply of e-cards from hallmark.com to e-mail your holiday cards. If you would like something more customized, download free software at smilebox.com to design your own e-mail ready photo cards set to music. This not only saves for the holiday season but can help save money during birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations.
- Ship Directly: If you’re sending a gift to a far-away family member or friend, ship an online gift to the recipient. Have someone there wrap it for you or pay for the company to do it for you for a small fee. It may still cost less than re-shipping it yourself.
- Consolidate: Pay less shipping by buying as many gifts through one site as you can. You’ll save money on shipping and might even be use a discount code to get free shipping if you spend a certain amount or a discount if you spend over a limit, helping you shave away small percentages to help stretch your budget. Reconsider purchasing a big, hard to ship gift for a thoughtful note along with a gift card to cover the amount. A gift card for the same amount as the doll house your favorite niece as been wanting would be just as appreciated and save you the hassle and money to ship the gift to her.
References: “All You Magazine “Go Online to Save Money this Season.” November 2009