This post is sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are my own.
During the holidays it’s easy for spending to get out of control. Between gifts, decorations, and all the other little things (hello holiday-flavored coffee drinks), it adds up! Here are my suggestions of how to save when checking people off your list.
Have a Budget to Begin With
You’ll want to establish a budget to begin with. Now, you don’t just want to create a random number. I suggest starting with the list of people you need to buy for and then create an estimate of about how much you want to spend on each person. Then, add it up. Next, you want to bounce that number off your actual finances to make sure it’s a figure you can realistically afford.
Start Saving Ahead of Time
Since most of us don’t have a huge excess in our monthly budget to accommodate the added line item of gifts, it’s smart to be putting away a little bit ahead of time to prepare. Allstate has a helpful post on budgeting for the holidays and they also suggest that you start saving early and to not forget to set funds aside for other holiday expenses such as travel plans.
Space Out Purchases
Being an early shopper for the holidays can save you stress and allow you to spread out the expense of holiday shopping over many months. I start making a list of Christmas gift ideas as early as January and start picking small items up in the summer. While I still do the majority of my shopping closer to the holidays, having a few things done early saves on time and expense.
If you have a family or couple to shop for, consider combining their gift into a shared gift. Instead of spending $50 on each person, you could instead spend $85 and get them a nicer combined gift (such as something for their home or a gift card for date night). And, it saved you $15 to use elsewhere! I also love this video from Allstate on 4 Ways to Save on Holiday Gifts which suggests family gifts like a board game they can all play together instead of individual gifts.
Shop during the right times
Stores and brands are really smart because they know our shopping habits and they know that most people tend to shop on weekends or early in the week when they’re thinking about buying something. You might be surprised to see that you can get better deals on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
Social Follow for the Holidays
I don’t typically suggest following tons of brands on social media because it tends to lead to buying things we didn’t necessarily need. But leading up to the holidays I follow and subscribe to a handful of places I do my holiday shopping at, so I can be sure to know about the holiday deals they are running, and I can scoop up gifts at a discount. Also, many stores send out an email to everyone on their newsletter a day before big sales and so those people can get in and shop a day early before things are out of stock! Just remember to unfollow after the holidays!
Shop Black Friday and Cyber Monday …but selectively
There’s no doubt that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have awesome deals and I would say I do about 40% of my shopping during this long weekend I call “shop-pa-looza” (check out my hacks for shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday ). But, don’t let it become a free-for-all. I suggest you make a general shopping list of ideas for each of your recipients before these two big shopping days. That way when they arrive you have a good idea of what you really need and don’t end up buying things you don’t because of the “good deal.”
It’s SO worth it to take 30 seconds to price match bigger purchases before buying because most stores will price match and if they won’t, then take your business elsewhere for the lower price! I suggest you quickly search the item on Google Shopping which allows you at a glance to see prices all around the web.
Get Free Shipping
During the holidays, many retailers may offer free shipping. And, there’s actually something called Free Shipping Day (which is December 14th this year). It’s when thousands of retailers offer free shipping on all purchases and guarantee Christmas Eve delivery. Free shipping is great because like Allstate points out, it “saves a drive to the store and you can shop from the convenience of your home and avoid the holiday shopping rush.” Also, so often going into the store can lead to extra purchases you didn’t need (you know like that $6 holiday coffee drink).
Check Return Policies
Like I said, being an early shopper for the holidays can save you stress and money. But, remember that many stores have a return policy of 30-45 days. If you are buying a gift that your recipient may need to return or exchange, you’ll want to wait until it’s closer to your gifting date.
Use Cashback Services
I always suggest you take advantage of cashback services like TopCashBack. You basically shop all your favorite sites (like Amazon, Target, etc) but every time you check out you get cash back. It can be anywhere from three percent to 10 percent to 15 percent, so it’s like free money back in your pocket!
Get discounted gift cards
Gift cards can be great gifts, especially for the hard to shop for! You can actually buy discounted gift cards online and save anywhere from 3-15%! Make sure you’re buying from a reputable site like Raise.
The Honey extension is something EVERYONE needs on their Chrome browser RIGHT THIS MOMENT. It’s going to change your life and I’m not even trying to be dramatic. Do you ever go to buy something and wonder if there is a promo code out there you might be missing out on? Yea, well Honey answers that problem for you. Any time you’re on a checkout page, it’ll search the world wide web for any promo code that might work and then try to apply it for you. I often save 10-15% on my purchases but have saved as much as 40% on a purchase just buy clicking the Honey extension. And, if there is no discount available at least you get peace of mind knowing you didn’t over spend.
Give a Donation
If you’re really stuck on a gift idea, giving a donation in someone’s name is such a thoughtful present and doesn’t break the bank.
Do you have any budgeting tips or tricks for holiday shopping?
This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to guiding people to live the Good Life, every day.