The holiday shopping season is now upon us. The official “kick off” might be the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday), but unofficially, once Halloween has come and gone, savvy consumers are on keen look out for a deal. Now, more than ever, it’s important to spend a little extra effort and time to get the items you want for the holiday season, whether they are gifts, decorations or even food stuffs for holiday feasts.
Getting yourself hyper-organized will allow you to not only save money, but also snag the items you want (to give), which in turn will provide you more time to relax with friends and family when the holidays actually do arrive.
- Anticipate Mother Nature. While jingle bells and mistletoe might be in store for many of us, we can also count on the time-honored tradition of snow and bad weather at holiday time. Temperatures plummet, polar vortex winds howl out of the north, and roadways become inconvenient, treacherous and sometimes, impassable. Now is the time to scour the internet for the best car insurance quotes online. You’ll want to be sure your car and your insurance coverage is ready for holiday shopping sprees, whether they are last minute gift ideas or shop til’ you drop days at the mall. Finding the best car insurance rate will save you money which you can, in turn, funnel into gifts for your loved ones.
- Make a List of Substitutions. With so many products stuck in delivery pipelines or out on cargo ships in the ocean, consumers have grown somewhat accustomed to the idea that they will have to wait for the products they buy, if they ever receive them at all. Due to the delays, shortages naturally follow, making it impossible for some people to obtain exactly the item they desire. When asking children and other loved ones for their holiday gift list, be sure to ask for adequate substitutions, as well. For example, in lieu of one particular x-box game, your child might be quite content with a different x-box game. You might also want to consider substitutions for items that are normally discounted this time of year, because discounts are few and far between. Using off-brand items instead of name-brand is a way to satisfy and save money.
- Combine Your Shopping Methods. Online shopping has become increasingly popular over the last several years, most recently gaining a significant boost from the pandemic. Amazon, Etsy and Ebay are all marketplaces that offer unique items that can (usually) be delivered within a reasonable period of time. Combining online shopping with brick and mortar shopping can help you find exactly what you want. Another vestige of the pandemic that consumers and retailers are hanging on to is curbside pickup. Many stores offer this for their customers, and you should take full advantage. Shop on the website, choose your items, sit in your nice warm car while listening to the radio, and wait for the clerk to bring out your items. This will save you time and money, as it will limit your browsing time in a store packed with patrons.
- Shop Early. If you want to be as sure as you possibly can that a store will have the item you want, get out there and shop early. Because of the delivery delays there is no guarantee that a product you’ve had your eye on will be restocked. However, there is a certain amount of risk and balance here, as you’ll have to decide if you want to pay full price now for your item or wait to see if it will be discounted, and risk the store selling out of the item. Look for stores (like Target) that offer season price matching. This way, you’re covered either way.
- Open a Christmas Club Account. Whether you are able to do this via your workplace or on your own, opening a Christmas Club account will save you money at holiday time. Without a budget or account in place, it’s very easy to overspend, especially if you start your holiday shopping early. However, by opening an account, you have a specific amount of money that you have previously allotted to gifts. There are no shocking January credit card bills or buyer’s remorse for gifts you can’t get back and return.
Now that holiday time is just around the corner, it makes sense to take the steps necessary to save yourself time and money. Review your insurance, and make sure your car is in tip-top shape to shuttle you from store to store, gift bags securely in tow.