How to Save on Holiday Spending Without Being a Scrooge
Bah humbug, the holidays are approaching but you are broke. What do you do?
Do you want to save on holiday spending this year? If you do, then don't do it looking like a Scrooge!
There are so many ways to save money on your holiday shopping without looking cheap, so here are some of my top tips on how to get your most bang for your buck around the holiday season.
1. Shop at cashback sites to earn money back on your purchases. One company I really like is InboxDollars.com. I've been using the site for years; they actually were a big part of me being able to pay for Christmas one year just from surveys and cash back shopping. You simply take surveys to earn cold, hard cash! You can get a percentage of your purchase in cash back as well, so it really helps by stacking the savings. One of my favorite ways to save is the 5 percent cash back deal on Groupon.
2. Make sure every purchase you make has a triple dip savings. That means stacking savings. For example, buy your gift cards at a discount through your grocery store or places like cardpool.com and then shop through cash back sites like InboxDollars.com and then use a coupon code to shop online. If you are lucky, you can get a quadruple dip and get free shipping, too.
3. Make a list and stick to it. I have 14 nieces and nephews under the age of 10. Instead of buying junky gifts for everyone and going broke in the process, each kid picks the name of a cousin. Then they shop for that cousin with a $20 to $30 budget, so each kid gets one quality gift. Instead of spending over $200 on gifts for all the nieces and nephews, I now spend under $100, plus my kids get gifts that they are really interested in (instead of dollar store junk).
4. Instead of paying full price, price match everything. There are so many stores that will price match competitors prices. I use Retale, an app for the best savings at major retailers close to you, to check circulars for in-store deals and coupons. But a really cool added benefit is the ability to pull up store flyers in your area to compare prices. You can also use it to create and manage shopping lists. It's the go-to digital hub for the on-the-go shopper.
Many stores are open about their price matching policies. All you have to do is ask. Target will price match many online stores; you can get all the details on the Target website. Just make sure you have a way to validate the prices, like the Retale app.
Walmart will also price match any store, as long as the lower price is for the exact same product. Just be sure you have clear proof of that lower price, and read about all the details of Walmart's policy on its website.
Kohl's will also price match competitor's prices, but not online prices. You'll need a flyer with you for proof of the lower prices. Best Buy's policy is to price match all local retail competitors, including their online prices, as well as major online retailers, including Amazon, Dell and HP. As you can see, there are so many options for price matching that with just a few minutes of homework you will be able to save a lot of money. Don't be afraid to do some research and ask questions if you aren't sure how to proceed; the effort can really pay off.
5. Opt to skip giving gifts altogether. This strategy might sound like the most Scrooge-like of all, but it's not, if you simply replace gifts with experiences. Movie tickets, ski tickets, a free night of babysitting -- all are great gifts. One year I gave my nephew tickets to see Sesame Street Live, and we had so much fun.
Just because you opt out of giving gifts doesn't mean you are a real Scrooge. It just means that you value time spent more than dollars paid.
If you follow these tips, you can enjoy this holiday season without being a broke Scrooge. Plan ahead, save money and enjoy this year!
Lauren Greutman is a frugal living expert who focuses on teaching people how to enjoy life on a budget. She is an author, public speaker and professional writer on her websites iamthatlady.com and markandlaureng.com.