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10 Easy Tips to Save Big and Simplify Your Holiday Shopping

10 Easy Tips to Save Big and Simplify Your Holiday Shopping - TaxACT

How would you like to simplify your holiday shopping and be free of additional debt?

The average family will create enough credit card debt during the holidays that it will take until the following May to pay off the bills! Tweet This

There is a less-expensive way for families to survive.

Here are some easy tips to save big and simplify your holiday shopping:

Any time you can spend less and save more makes for a happier holiday!

I’ve been following similar steps in our family for the last two decades and I can honestly say we’ve never gone into further debt during the holidays. Our family has had minimal stress in the home and as a result, we truly enjoy this time of year.

1. Strategize

Decide which gifts you want and match them with sale ads. Check off the items on your Master Gift List and note any special limitations (i.e., price only effective for three hours, limit two per person).

Awesome Note is a great app to help. Prioritize the stores you’ll shop according to limitations and values. If you can’t decide if prices are going up or down, decide.com can give you an update on whether this is the best deal or not.

2. Shop for Comparisons

Once you find the make and model of a gift you want to purchase, do a search at Bing, Slickdeals, or Mysimon. When you find the best price, print it out and take it to your local store to see if they’ll match the price.

To compare prices on your smart phone, get the Coupon Sherpa app or the Yowza app, which will help you find codes and prices for your area.

3. Save when Shopping Online

For online coupons, codes for free shipping, and discount codes, go to RetailMeNot, Dealhunting, or CouponCabin.

4. Split It

Follow the divide-and-conquer rule by shopping with a friend or your spouse. If there are multiple purchase discounts, such as “buy two and get the second one at half-price” or a two-for-one special, you can go together and split the savings, thus taking advantage of the offer.

5. Save by Baking

My kids help me early in the season to make various sweetbreads to freeze. When it comes time to give gifts to teachers or friends, we tie the breads with raffia, cranberries, and voila!

These gifts taste great and save money.

6. Specify

During the year, set aside a specific “cash” budget each month to use for the holidays. Don’t use credit cards unless you know you can pay them at the month’s end.

7. Stick to Your Guns

Be aware that you may be tempted to keep buying even when you’ve already conquered your list. You can go broke saving money, so stick to your budget.

8. Simplify

When my hubby and I had five babies in the first seven years of marriage, we came up with the “three-gift rule.” We chose three simple, yet nice presents per child.

9. Supervise

Take younger children to the local Dollar Store for their shopping for friends and family. Give them an appropriate budget and money, then let them choose.

10. Steal It

Set aside money for the after-holiday sales. You can oftentimes get nonperishable gifts for next year’s gift list from 50 to 75% off retail—that’s practically a steal!

Now that you have some solid steps in place to de-stress during the holidays and spend less, let’s look at some ways that you can make this time of year more special for others in your home, community, and the world.

As you look at these special gift ideas, try to incorporate friends, family, or even your kids in the giving process. I know that our kids were raised being aware of helping others in the world and they are continuing the tradition as young adults.

Now that’s a legacy worth giving.

Gifts That Give Lots and Cost Little

Adopt A Grandparent – Start a year round visitation of a shut-in or someone in a nursing home who has no other family nearby.

Coupon Booklets – Give your family member a coupon book with the things they love most: a hug, a back rub, a walk in the woods, a complaint-free kitchen cleaning, or a date for coffee and talking.

Acts of Kindness – Invite a mom whose spouse is deployed, and her kids, to spend a holiday evening with you or offer to watch her children while she shops. Clean your elderly neighbor’s yard or offer to help decorate for the holidays.

A Gift of Life – Adopt a third world child as a children’s sponsor on a site such as worldvision.org or compassioninternational.org.

Bake for Others –Why not bake a surprise loaf of bread for someone who is not normally noticed such as a cashier at the dry cleaners or a base gate guard? There is a great feeling in reaching out to those who are overlooked and it’s also an incredible lesson to teach your child.

Toys R Us – If your child tends to get over gifted by too-eager-to-please grandparents, then why not consider passing a gift or two to another child in your community who might need it more?

Smiles, Kind Words, Laughter – Have you ever noticed how busy salespeople, waitresses, and postal workers are during this time of year? The next time you’re waiting in line, speak a simple word of encouragement to someone else like “I like your necklace” or “You’re having a great hair day!” You may be the only person who has been kind to them that day.

What gift are you going to give this holiday to make someone else’s life better?

Photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc

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About Ellie Kay

Ellie Kay is a regular expert on national television with ABC NEWS NOW’s Money Matters and Good Money shows. She is also a national radio commentator, a frequent media guest on Fox News, and CNBC, a popular international speaker, and the best-selling author of fourteen books including her newest release, The Sixty Minute Money Workout (Waterbrook, 2010). For money savings links visit Ellie's blog.

1 comments
AlexRodgers
AlexRodgers

Ok, so when I rad the steal it section i must be honest I thought it was going to be a criminal idea. i agree finding as many way as possible to save on products by finding coupons and such is a great idea. With only 1 credit card with auto full balance pay that makes things easier to work with, and that's how I pay for all mys stuff it's just easier to work with as long as I pay it all off at the end of the month.  I recently came across an article that was able to help with that area http://blog.mutualfundstore.com/hot-topics-and-trends/4-must-dos-before-2014/ it explains how to create a budget, and some other cool stuff that I found useful.

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