With the holiday season just around the corner, serious shoppers are starting to put together a game plan for gift giving. Since Black Friday unofficially starts the holiday season, we have put together an easy check list to help you conquer the shopping malls while being easy on your pocketbook. Our goal is to help you stay in the green while still having wiggle room in your budget for unexpected holiday expenses.
So here you go, 5 easy steps to have a holly-jolly holiday shopping experience:
1. Budget: How much are you spending? - By setting a budget, you will help yourself stay financially responsible when it comes to gift giving. You can either set individual budgets or an overall budget. Either way, you will limit your spending on items that are out of your means. We recommend setting a budget that doesn’t involve going into any credit card debt – you should only budget with your current income after all necessary bills are paid. Our best advice is to keep this budget as cash in hand so you’re always aware of your remaining allowance.
2. Gifts and Recipients: Who’s on the nice list? – Making a list of gift recipients and potential gift items will help you manage your budget more closely. A list will also help you to effectively shop and not have to run out for last minute (expensive!) gifts. Take this list with you as you’re shopping so your mind is focused on finding the perfect gift within your allotted budget.
3. Select Stores: Where are you shopping? – Make a list of stores you wish to visit and create a shopping plan. The most efficient way is to select stores that will have multiple items that you wish to give and are relatively close to home or close to each other. Or hey, shop only online in the comfort of your home and you don’t have to worry about crowds, gas money, or store hours. Think of stores like Kohl’s, Macy’s, Target and other department stores that have gifts for everyone. This way, you will save time and money – two very valuable things at this time of year!
4. Coupons and Deals: How to save money? – Make sure you are signed up for the newsletters for all of the stores on your list so you receive their current offers. We also recommend signing up for any loyalty or rewards programs for extra perks like free shipping, extended shopping hours, and member only discounts. By keeping track of these deals next to your gifting list, you will be sure to find the best prices on the items you wish to purchase. Pay extra attention to ads focused on Black Friday 11/27, Cyber Monday 11/30 and Green Monday 12/14.
5. Even more discounts: Want instant savings? – If your budget and shopping plans are set, you have coupons in hand, the last thing you need is instant savings. Buying discount gift cards for the stores on your list will save you money before you even begin to shop. By using GiftCardGranny, you can find deals from our partners that are up to 50% off – this means you could buy a $100 gift card for only $50! You can’t beat these kinds of savings.
For your convenience, we have designed a tool that will help you combine steps 4 and 5. Check out the Black Friday deals page here for more information on how to combine Black Friday prices with discount gift cards for ultimate savings. This list is product and store specific. Search the item on your shopping list, find the Black Friday price, find the store’s discount gift card and boom: Savings!
Now with a plan of action and savings ready to roll, the only thing left to do is shop! These tips will help you have a less stressful holiday season and will allow you more time with friends and family than in the shopping malls. Happy bargain hunting!