32 Sensible Tips for the Holiday Shopping Season

by David@MoneyNing.com · 13 comments

With the holidays around the corner it’s time to start getting our act ready for some festive shopping. Below are a collection of shopping tips so we can all enjoy a happy, sensible, and responsible holiday season.

  1. Make a Shopping List – Write down everyone that you plan to buy a gift for and how much you plan to spend.  It’s not just to save money, it’s so you don’t miss anyone too.
  2. Be Patient and Look for Deals – The bad economy means that all retailers are marking down their merchandise in a huge way.  Shop around at different stores and chances are you will find what you are looking for at a lower price.
  3. Plan Ahead – Make sure you call the store to see if the item you want to buy is in stock.  Otherwise, you would’ve wasted your time and gas.
  4. Organize Your Trip – Group your gift list into different categories and plan your route.  Trust me, it will save you so much time.
  5. Buy Online – If you still haven’t bought anything online before, you are missing out because online retailers like Amazon often give huge discounts.  Remember to also calculate shipping into the total price before committing (better yet, find one that offers free shipping).
  6. Don’t Buy More than You Need – Never fall for those offers that seem like a bargain but need you to buy additional products.  If you need only one, never go for the “buy one get one free” offers.
  7. Clip Coupons – Go out of your way to find coupons.  It might be a hassle but it is time well spent.
  8. Find Alternatives – When a similar product goes on sale, try to see if the savings is worth the trade off.  Sometimes, the product on sale might be selling for less and be even better than the one you were going to get.
  9. Gift Receipts – Always ask for one just in case.holiday shopping tips
  10. Get the Items Shipped ASAP – It’s the holiday season so shipping may take longer than usual.  Remember to get everything shipped to you in ample time or you might not have a gift to give during Christmas.
  11. Beware of Your Belongings – Holiday shopping usually means long lineups and crowded malls.  Watch your belongings and be careful.
  12. Try Using Only Cash – If you know that you are those people that can’t control yourself, use cash.  Having a limited supply of funds will surely help tone down the spending.
  13. Credit Cards Might Be Good Also – If you use your credit card, find one that has the best reward program for retail goods.
  14. Reward Points – Remember your reward points?  Maybe you can use some of it to get some gift cards this year to buy gifts.
  15. An Activity Could Be Worth Even More – Gifts are not just tied to an item.  It could be a favor, an event or an experience so use your imagination.
  16. Taking the Experience a Step Further – Perhaps it makes more sense for you and your friend to go out on a dinner or trip together instead of buying each other a gift.  It could be more fun and more financially sensible at the same time.
  17. Don’t Buy Extended Warranty – Instead, buy the product with a credit card that offers double the warranty period.
  18. Avoid Credit Card Advances – Always.
  19. No Store Credit Cards – In fact, don’t apply for any new credit card during the holiday season.
  20. No Interest Till 2020 – Don’t fall for this unless you already have the means to pay it off and you will pay it off immediately.
  21. It’s Not a Competition – There’s no need to try getting the biggest or most expensive gift.  Try something sensible and personal.  The best gifts are ones that come from the heart.
  22. Online Deal Sites – There are tons of sites that gathers all the great bargains available.  Check them out to save time and money. (One I’ve been using for years on electronic products is Ben’s Bargains.
  23. Online Promo Code – Most online merchants have coupons and promotion codes all the time.  Before buying anything online, always Google to see if that particular merchant has a coupon code available.
  24. Ask for a Discount – Cashiers often times have the coupons right in front of them to save time.  Always be friendly and ask if there are current coupons that apply to your purchase at checkout.  It won’t always work but it’s so easy that it’s worth a try.
  25. Find a Shopping Buddy – True shoppers will look in every aisle and find amazing deals.  If you are one of them, you can save so much time and cover more territory by teaming up.
  26. Have a Secret Santa Amongst Your Group – Instead of everyone buying a gift for everyone else, play the Secret Santa game and cut down on the number of gifts everyone needs to get.
  27. Bring Your Own Shopping Bag – Why be environmentally unfriendly?  Bring your own bag and ask the cashier to save some plastic.
  28. Avoid Crowds – Shop during early and late store hours.  You will thank me after 🙂
  29. Free Gift Wrapping – If the store offers this, remember to take advantage of it.
  30. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute – Chances are you will be in a rush and all the budgeting tips will be forgotten.
  31. Remember Yourself – It could be small but remember that you deserve a gift as well.
  32. Use Common Sense – If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.  Use your judgment and remember to enjoy the holidays.
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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Young and Finance says:

    Secret Santa is perfect for large families. Sometimes there are just too many to buy for but doing Secret Santa can save soooo much money. Thanks for the list!

  • Noel says:

    None of the above and remember stuff…!!!

  • Jagir Jhaveri says:

    http://www.retailmenot.com is a great source to buy coupons. Also, check out http://www.raise.com for discounted gift cards available instantly (in most cases). Make sure its delivered in the app and not in mail. Check the option before you buy.

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  • Catgrrrl says:

    For the last 20 years, I have kept a large gift drawer in the guest room. When I’m shopping any time of year, I keep in mind family and close friends and what they enjoy. When I see something I know someone would like, at a great price, I go ahead and buy it and store it in my drawer until their birthday or Christmas. I get things they like at great prices and I don’t have to do ALL my holiday shopping at Christmas (which helps the Dec. budget!).

    • JJ Keist says:

      My sister shops year round as well. I think that’s a perfect idea! If only more people did, there would fewer crowds, less hurrying, and better choices in gift items. Thank you for that, Catgrrrl.

  • Donna says:

    I shop throughout the year for Christmas, use rewards, and sales as well. I usually make one last shopping trip with a friend to an outlet mall & then I am done. That way I really enjoy the Holidays, have time for baking, decorating and less stress.

  • Debt Consolidation Regina says:

    These are some very valuable tips for the holiday season. People generally tend to overspend in the holiday season because of the good deals and last minute pressure. Making a set list and budget helps a lot in making sure that one does not purchase beyond what they actually need.

  • SimplyForties says:

    Good tips. I usually do all my shopping online & look for free shipping while I’m at it. I also second the idea of Googling for online promotion codes before checking out. I recently saved 15% on a $88 item plus received free shipping, worth $15. Neither of which I knew about when I got ready to purchase my item. It ended up costing about $77 total including the shipping. Well worth the few minutes it took to Google for the store’s promotion code.

  • Jess says:

    Tips 22 and 23 are totally me. I am all about online shopping, especially since so many stores have done black friday deals online, and a ton of them offer free shipping. I have found some really great deals and I am almost done with my holiday shopping (yay.). One thing I wanted to add to this list of tips is that for those that are interested in doing more with their holiday shopping, I found a great resource. If you download a toolbar from give2network.com you can link it to any charity you want, and then with any online shopping you do from the toolbar, a portion of the amount you spend will be donated to that charity. I thought this was great because with my budget as tight as it is, I haven’t been able to donate as much as I have in the past. Just wanted to share. Happy Holidays.

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  • Craig says:

    I think the best way to go shopping this holiday season is with straight cash. Once you plan and utilize your tips. Bring cash, that way you can only spend what you bring.


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