5 Holiday Shopping Tips to Save Your Wallet This Season

Tis the season! It’s that time of the year again where nights get a little colder, the air is a little crisper, twinkling lights adorn almost every home in America and everything seems to get a bit… pricier. That’s right, it’s Christmas time once again! While the holidays bring around some much-needed cheer, they can also bring a lot of stress. Especially if you’re “ballin on a budget” like most of us college and/or post grads are.

Here’s a quick guide to make the most out of your holiday shopping and save your bank account from unnecessary strain.

Keep your eyes out for sales! I know, I know, the college way is usually to wait until the weekend before Christmas and cram all your holiday shopping in at once, and while the excessively long lines and jam-packed Miami traffic is sure to be missed if you forgo this route, there are benefits to shopping early. Stores love hosting sales all throughout December and even better than the sales are the cashback deals. Macy’s and Kohl’s are famous for offering cash back rewards, so you can easily buy gifts for mom and use your Macy’s or Kohl’s cash to buy gifts for dad. Starting early means you have the whole holiday season to take advantage of promotions, doorbusters, deals and compare prices between stores.

Behold the power of gift sets. Most people see gift sets and are either immediately turned off by the price tag, contents or they only have one person in mind to give the set to. However, gift sets can actually be the smartest way to shop during the holidays. Every store offers them, Target, Sephora, Victoria’s Secret, etc., and the beauty of gift sets is you can easily split them apart and make multiple gifts for multiple people out of them! Also, most gift sets offer holiday-themed items, making them extra cute to gift.

So, while a Bath n Body Works gift set of six mini holiday exclusive lotions may not be your best friend’s cup of tea, you can easily split them, pair each one up with some fuzzy holiday socks (also sold in value sets at Target) and voila you have presents for six different people! You can even buy a whole bunch of different gift sets, mix and match all the items and create new presents for your friends and family that they won’t be able to get themselves.

Handmade/Customizable gifts. Handmade presents are a great way to save money and are a lot more personal than something store bought. Handmade gifts can be personalized to meet the likes and interests of each person you’re gifting. Lots of websites offer free online templates to help you create personalized calendars which you can fill with pictures of you and your best friend or with pictures of your colleague’s travel bucket list. Other great handmade gift options are customizable mugs, photos, or baked goods. Make Pinterest your new best friend this holiday season and get to crafting!

Pick-up in store options/Free shipping promotions. Shopping online, while convenient, can really break the bank if you’re constantly paying shipping fees. Do some research before clicking “pay” and find out if your items are available in a store. A lot of retail shops are now offering “pick-up in store” options so you don’t have to pay to ship to your house! Also, always check for free shipping promotions before you shop. Sometimes the price of an extra item can put you over the amount you need to qualify for free shipping and instead of paying $8.99 for shipping you got to cross one more person off your list to shop for!

Plan: This seems like the simplest task but it’s often the hardest for us to do. Most people go holiday shopping without having any clue what to get and hope they’ll stumble upon a nice perfume their grandma is sure to like. This type of shopping gets very pricey, very quickly. Make a set plan of who you need to shop for and about how much you’re willing to spend on each person. Then, research what presents you think they’d like that also fall in your budget. Just like you should never go grocery shopping hungry, you shouldn’t go holiday shopping blind.

This quick holiday gift guide is sure to help you buy all your friends and family presents they’ll love at prices you’ll love. Happy Holidays!