In today’s tight economy consumers are finding it crucial to be spend-savvy and creative in their holiday shopping. According to Valpak’s 2012 Consumer Spending Report, “Fifty-three percent of respondents plan to take advantage of whatever cost-cutting options they can find when purchasing gifts.” When planning your holiday gift giving keep in mind that the gifts should be personal, useful, and budget friendly. Set a budget for the amount you will be spending on each person on your gift list and don’t wait until the last minute to go shopping. You’ll be rushed, frustrated and may find yourself spending more.
Following are some tried and true cost-cutting holiday shopping tips, as well as some new and innovative ways to save money this holiday season.
Get Creative and Save Money at the Same Time
Not all gifts need to be purchased from a store. In fact, some of the best gifts to give and receive are those that are made personally with love. Following are some wonderful and creative gift ideas.
- Create a “quality time” coupon book for your children that includes coupons for activities they enjoy doing with you one-on-one.
- Try making homemade gifts like jams, jellies, canned items, handmade art, etc. Online tutorials and local craft stores make the process accessible for any aspiring crafter.
- Provide personal services like house cleaning, meals, laundry, babysitting, etc. Create a special personalized gift certificate or coupon on your home computer.
- Give an experience, like a summer vacation on the lake or a weekend at a ski lodge.
- Give your kids an holiday allowance to go shopping after the holiday to take advantage of post-holiday sales.
- Set up Secret Santas at your work or between extended family members. This will save a great deal of money and will take some of the pressure of holiday shopping off of those involved.
- Check out YouTube for some great gift ideas. Search on subjects like Holiday shopping on a budget, Last minute budget gift ideas, Money saving shopping tips, etc.
- Attend after-Christmas clearance sales and shop the clearance racks for the next season (for example, buying sizes that your kids will grow into, purchasing holiday decorations for next year, stocking up on school supplies, etc.)
- Get tech-savvy and do comparison-shopping on the Internet (check out PriceGrabber.com). This will save you time and gasoline driving around to stores. You may even be able to find that perfect gift without ever leaving your home. Some companies even offer free shipping during the holidays in order to earn your business.
- Sign up for on-line newsletters so you can receive coupons. Many stores these days will simply let you show your online coupon on your smart phone, saving you the hassle of preprinting the coupon.
- Sign up for on-line coupon sites such as MyBargainBuddy, Groupon, AmazonLocal, etc.
- If you visit a store without a coupon, stop by customer service to see if they can give you one to use during your shopping visit.
- Visit warehouse stores like Costco or Sam’s Club with a friend and stock up together and save.
- Shop thrift stores like Goodwill, the Salvation Army, Plato’s Closet, and even pawnshops for gently used bargain deals including designer items.
- Shop for children’s clothing and equipment at consignment stores. Just Between Friends (JBF) is a wonderful national, bi-annual, consignment sale.
- Visit online sites such as eBay and Craigslist for additional bargains or hard to find items.
- Join your local Freecycle group where you can find things people are giving away.
- Support small businesses and find local deals.
- Shop during the week to avoid the crowds.
- Attend yard sales (start early in the day).
Shopping “Under the Tech Influence”
Mobile shopping is expected to be all the rage this holiday season. According to top trend spotter Marian Salzman, tech-savvy consumers this season will be “shopping under the tech influence” vs. at “brick and mortar” stores more now than ever before. Consumers are using smart phones, tablets, and computers to receive coupons, read product reviews, and share their in-store findings via social media. According to Baynote’s 2012 Holiday Online Shopping Experience Survey, 60 percent of tablet owners expect to use their tablets to research and/or purchase in 2012.
Give the Gift of Financial Literacy
Invest in the future of the children in your life by giving them the gift of financial literacy. FamilyMint has just released an all new Step-by-Step Certification Program that is designed to put your child in the top 3% of kids worldwide. Through this program, kids will build important money management habits that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. This fun program works because it transforms information into behavior, and behavior into habit and it includes lifetime access to the Premium version of FamilyMint.
This holiday season remember that the gifts you purchase should be personal, useful, and budget friendly. If you can find a good deal through thrift stores, clearance sales, coupons, online shopping, etc. then you have been successful in your quest to find the perfect gift.