Stores are making a big push to get bargain hunters to come in during the entire holiday season—beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
With the rush to grab shoppers with new sites and apps, it’s easier than ever to save money.
But there is a downside, and that is trying to keep your wits about you when faced with the urgency of the shopping season and the overwhelming excitement of getting a bargain.
Remember, it’s not a bargain if you have to go into debt to buy it. Tweet this
Here are the latest and greatest tips for stretching those Holiday dollars:
Be a Downloader
Going to your computer or the mall prepared can save time and money. Downloading apps and bookmark websites beforehand.
Pricegrabber is an app that allows you to find product information, compare prices and get merchant ratings. Searched results can be sorted by price, rating or popularity.
Or, download Smoopa, a comparison app that lets you join forces with other shoppers to scout for the best prices for your favorite products.
Don’t forget your favorite store apps or e-mail lists to stay informed of daily discounts and freebies.
Plus, RetailMeNot is the best place to find coupon codes both online and in the stores.
Be a Master Planner
For those of us who really love great deals, there’s the usual dilemma of: is Black Friday or Cyber Monday the best choice?
So while you’re out on Black Friday, access the Cyber Monday site to see if you can get a better deal by waiting until Cyber Monday, which is December 1, 2014.
Be a Master Decorator
Wrap each gift as you get it. Don’t forget to label for whom each gift is intended.
You may want to keep a master list of the gifts, annotating the contents as you buy and wrap them. Awesome Notes is a good app that will help you stay organized by combining notes with your “to do” list.
That way you won’t duplicate gifts or overbuy for any one person.
Be Diligent about Documenting
There’s nothing like buying Holiday paper to wrap those presents early, only to discover a month later that you have tons of paper you bought at the end-of-season clearance last year and forgot about it.
Or, you get a good deal on gifts for teachers and then realize you bought those earlier in the year and forgot where you put them.
Write down your purchases – and where you stashed them – on a piece of paper and tape it to next year’s December calendar page or indicate it in your electronic calendar on your phone with digital notes for December 1, 2015.
Be Decisive with Deal “Brokers”
Some group buying sites, such as Groupon.com will give refunds, but not all are so generous.
After all, you don’t want to go broke saving money. Here are some options:
- BestTravelDeals– If you want to sell a travel deal that you cannot take advantage of, go to this site, which is designed to cash in on your unused travel deals.
- SmartySaver – This is a daily deal aggregator site that offers a separate page for consumers who want to buy or sell their daily deals.
- CoupRecoup – This is like a Craigslist for Groupon. Although this is the biggest site on the Internet for deal resellers, it does not offer guarantees. So it’s a “what you see is what you get” offer.
This year, with some forethought and strategy, your gifts could keep on giving throughout the entire year as you place an emphasis on keeping the season green.
For example, gift cards that can be recharged are a great idea to save a tree or two as packaging is minimized.
They can also help a cash-strapped family buy the essentials.
Consider giving e-cards instead of traditional cards to save money, stamps, time and trees.
When selecting certain presents, try gifting our environment by giving appliances that have an energy star rating or are eco-friendly.
This saves our natural resources, energy and will save the recipient money, too.
Along these lines, help families and friends continue to save money by putting together a “green bag” filled with CFL light bulbs and other eco friendly items that are likewise labeled to include CDs, baby products, apparel and other sustainable products—then put them together in reusable tote bags.
Other gifts that keep it green are ones that reach out to the global community to help other people groups become more sustainable.
One year, my brother-in-law made a donation to a non-profit organization in our name. This group was responsible for digging fresh water wells in third world countries.
At Operation Gratitude.com, you can find an organization that gives care packages to the troops throughout the year.
You can also recycle unused toiletries from hotel stays or buy eco friendly versions of the items needed for these packages and assemble them as a family.
It’s a great lesson to our kids about giving green and making it a habit.
Sometimes the gift of time is the greatest gift of all during the holidays. Tweet this
There are a number of ways you can brighten the holidays of those around you and share the season.
For instance, invite a neighbor, foreign exchange student or the family of a deployed military member over for the holiday dinner.
These can be the hardest times of the year for people who are separated from loved ones.