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8 Ways to Make Your Holiday Shopping the Most Cost-Effective it Can Be this Season

Whether you love doing it or not, there’s no doubt that holiday shopping is overwhelming. And holiday shopping online can be even more so. I mean, is that what it even really looks like? Does it run small? Who knows! 

Plus, after shipping and upcharging, it can be really expensive, and with online holiday shopping sales predicted to be through the roof this year (I mean… duh, we live in a pandemic), it’s going to be of vital importance to save some money wherever you can. So to help you save this holiday season, here are eight of the hottest tips and tricks to help you keep your shopping costs low this holiday season. 

Install Honey

Have you heard of Honey? It’s a free browser extension that searches the internet far and wide for coupon codes, and Honey will apply any savings they find directly to your cart at checkout! Plus, Honey has this amazing feature called Droplist, where you’ll be notified as soon as there’s a lower price for any item on your holiday shopping list. And there’s no lag time, so you can hop right on that deal the moment you get the notification. Saving money has never been so efficient!

Check out with PayPal

You can add all of your credit cards to your PayPal wallet for the easiest checkout around. The more you spend, the more rewards points you’ll accumulate on your favorite cards. With the Pay With Rewards feature, you can use all those accumulated points to splurge on one or many holiday gifts to family and friends (or you, because we’re very much pro-self-gifting).

Buy with Klarna

Klarna has all the brands you love, all in one place, and with a tagline like ‘the shortcut to shopping,’ I can just feel holiday shopping stress dissipating. When using the app or browsing the website, you can shop from stores like H&M, SHEIN, Sephora, Etsy, Adidas and hundreds of other popular retailers, and not only will you have first access to the best sales, you can also pay for everything all in one cart. You can also pay it off over time, no interest. So if you’re shelling out big bucks this holiday season, you can ensure that you don’t have to spend them all right upfront. Plus, there’s Klarna rewards, so the more you shop, the more you save.

Holiday shopping has literally never been easier.

Stalk Amazon prices using CamelCamelCamel

Okay, so this site looks a bit sketch, but it’s approved by the coupon queens of the internet, so I’m here for it! CamelCamelCamel is a website that shows price drops specifically for Amazon. You can track price drops by item or category, and even get alerts when items in your wishlist are on sale. Right now in the beauty category, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer is on sale for $24.25, so hop on it!

Speaking of Amazon, always browse the Lightning Deals

Also known as Prime Day deals, Today’s Deals, and as of right now, Black Friday Deals, Amazon always has killer deals each day available to Prime members on all kinds of amazing products, from appliances to home decor to clothing. The catch is that you’ll want to check them in the morning before they sell out. I also recommend searching through these offers when buying someone a gift, because you never know what you might find!! If you’re going to get someone an appliance, a soda stream half off vs. a new espresso machine is a shift in price, but most certainly not in theme. 

Let your shopping cart sit full for a bit

This one is simple, but it works. A little known fact about some major retailers, like Bed Bath & Beyond and JCPenney, is that if you have an account and leave items in your shopping cart for a day or two, you can sometimes cop that 20% off discount in your inbox. It’s a win for everyone; the retailer incentivizes you to make a purchase, and you get a huge discount! Just be sure to begin shopping ahead of time so that you can spare a few days before making the final purchase. ​

Donate while you shop

If this year has encouraged you to do anything, I hope it’s to donate to charities in need of funds during this tumultuous time. Money is tight all around, though, so here’s an easy option for you. Some retailers will donate a portion of your checkout to a charity of your choice. PayPal, for example, offers an option to donate $1, and if you shop through Amazon Smile, a percentage of your final cost will be donated. 

Of course, this doesn’t immediately save you any money, but if you were planning on finding ways to donate, this is an affordable way to make it happen. Plus, you could choose a charity that matters to one of the people on your shopping list, and gift the donation on their behalf. That’s one present down! 

Have a limited White Elephant or Secret Santa with your family

With a White Elephant exchange, you get a super fun gift exchange and you only have to buy one gift! Say goodbye to 20 tchotchkes for all your extended family, and instead, say hello to one awesome gift that everyone’s going to want to trade for. This is a great way to save money and make long-lasting family memories. Plus, with a price limit on the gifts, you only have to fork over $20 for the whole holiday season, and you won’t have to worry that your Great Aunt will give you another one of her crystal menagerie animals (they cost more than you realize). Instead you can look forward to something more ~reasonable~ (and hopefully more targeted towards the younger generation, too).

Holiday shopping is always stressful, but there are ways to mitigate it. So snap up those deals and shave off the unecessary $$$ this year. Happy shopping!

Elizabeth Sander is a National Writer for Her Campus and a recent graduate from Tufts University, where she earned a BA in English and French. Elizabeth served as a Her Campus Editorial Intern for the Fall of 2020 and loved every minute. When not writing articles about all things culture and style (or the occasional personal essay), Elizabeth spends time creative writing, reading and working on flying crow pose. Next up on Elizabeth's agenda is Columbia J-School! Find her on insta @elizsander or for meals inspo @confinemnt_kitchn
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