6 Tips on How to Save Money When Holiday Shopping
The holiday rush always brings about a festive air in the country, especially around the biggest malls in the metro. Aside from the sparkling lights and the blaring music and the hordes of mall-goers scrambling to score the greatest holiday deals, everything about the season just screams “spend, spend, spend” in big, bold letters. You already know that you need some hardcore self-control when you’re shopping, but these simple tips can solidify your resolve and help you emerge from the malls with your budget safely intact.
- Smartphones are your friends.
We live in an increasingly mobile world, and luckily, the age of the smartphone has brought about the dawn of money-saving apps and shopping-savvy calculators as well. The food app Booky has BOGO deals and helps you score discounts when you book a table at your favorite restaurant in advance, making those holiday get-togethers and family reunions easier on the wallet. The website getinvisiblehand.com literally provides you with a digital Invisible Hand that helps you search for lower prices, better deals, and alternatives when you are shopping online. With camelcamelcamel.com, you can search for any item (perhaps a particular toy for your kid or niece) and be able to track its price history with a graph of the price promotions it’s had recently. How neat is that?
When you are at the actual, physical, brick-and-mortar store, you can sometimes try to haggle for prices when the website has deals. Some stores allow price-matching, so always be aware of online and in-store deals. You can also download the RedLaser app, which lets you scan the barcodes of the items you want to buy in order to check if there are any existing deals for the item. It’s basically your own personal barcode scanner!
And finally, when you are shopping, you might be completely confident about the stability and capability of your brain, but the holiday rush can do a number on you, especially if you are stressed, exhausted, and have been shopping for hours. The Discount Calculator app can help you keep track and jot down item prices, markdowns, sales taxes, and other relevant info you might need when you are checking the different comparative prices of products. If you want to, you can calculate prices per serving or gram just to see if you’re really getting your money’s worth!
- Check holiday credit card promos.
Especially around the holidays, credit cards always try to outperform and outshine their competitors by coming up with the best deals when you spend minimum amounts using their service. You get various freebies like drinks and gift certificates when you spend a particular amount, either at a particular store or virtually anywhere. Always check the terms and conditions, the promo period, and the redemption period. If you’re going to be spending Php 3,000 on a necessity anyway, you might as well use the card to get your freebie.
- Time your shopping properly.
Research actually shows that the best deals come after the major holiday itself, which means shopping after Black Friday, right after Christmas, or right after the New Year will be the most cost-efficient. The best clearance discounts also come in January, so you can skip hoarding clothes right before Christmas.
The same is true for flights, travel deals, and hotel bookings—the rates for these normally drop in January and February, after the peak December season. Shopping on a Tuesday or shopping during early morning hours and closing times can also score you some marked down deals at most stores.
- Make a list and check it twice.
As mentioned before, no matter how sharp your brain is, it tends to decline in terms of accuracy the longer you shop and the more exhausted you are. Just like when shopping for food in the supermarket, you should always make a list of the necessities and the gifts that you absolutely must buy. A little bit of planning ahead of time can save you from the last minute purchases at the counter or the tempting Buy Two for the Price of One deals that the promos entice you with. Grabbing too many items or overspending won’t be a problem with your handy-dandy list in your hand.
- De-stress with some soothing tunes.
They say that stress can actually make you spend more than you really should, and this rings pretty true especially when you’re looking for some retail therapy. This season, load up your fave music player or your iPod with some soothing music to keep those blues away. Shopping completely stress-free helps keep you from burning a hole through your wallet.
- Get tips online.
When you’re thinking about what to get for your family and friends, chances are you’ll head right on over to the stores to scour some great finds for them. What you can do instead is to first get some inspiration from online posts and boards like Pinterest to see what other creative gifts you can give without spending too much. Handmade or personalized gifts will actually mean more to your loved ones than generic ones—and you won’t even have to break the bank for it.