By Noah Henry • October 22, 2013
National Retail Federation indicates holiday shoppers will buy conservatively in 2013. The average consumer will spend 2 percent less than last year. Looming economic uncertainty and a growing frugality among people is the likely cause. While the average shopper will spend roughly $737 this year on Christmas gifts, décor, greeting cards, and other holiday-themed products, there are always ways to cut costs.
The obvious keep-within-your budget mindset will avoid you seeping into the red, but there are many other tactics you can employ to get the most bang for your holiday buck. Here are 15 hidden tips to save massive amounts of green when shopping from now till Christmas Eve.
1. Did you know there was a total of $2 billion in unredeemed gift cards in 2012, and $41 billion since 2005? Many gift cards go unused. With this in mind, you might want to give straight cash.
2. Buy your holiday decorations immediately after the holiday. Stores offer deeply discounted prices for Christmas supplies left collecting dust on the shelves. Plan ahead—one year ahead, to be exact. According to statistics, you could save up to 75 percent.
3. Go to Home Depot, Target, Ace Hardware, or Amazon for LED Christmas lights. LED lights use 90 percent less electricity than regular Christmas lights and last up to 100,000 hours. Considering you’ll use lights five hours a day between Thanksgiving and Christmas, that’s a total of 200 hours each year, lasting you a lifetime.
4. When grocery shopping, grab items on the bottom and top shelves. Grocers put the most expensive, brand-name items at eye-level.
5. Buy couples one gift they can share. Instead of spending money on two people, give something usable by two people.
6. Download the free RedLaser app. Not only does it compare prices for products within your immediate area, it allows you to have your desired product delivered to you or held at the select store for pickup. It’ll give you the competitive shopping edge come Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
7. Save money on postage using e-cards. Sites like Smilebox and JibJab even offer free e-cards.
8. Use magazine covers and newspaper to wrap your gifts. The comic section provides quality wrapping, as well as humorous tidbits.
9. Create a list of recipients you intend to give gifts to and put a dollar amount next to each name. This exercise in careful budgeting will allow you to stay within your means.
10. In 2011 and 2012, thousands of popular retailers, including the likes of Best Buy, Macy’s, and Bloomingdale’s, provided free shipping for last-minute shoppers. On December 17, 2012, over 1,000 online merchants provided free delivery by Christmas Eve.
11. Book cheap airfare. Flying on Tuesdays and Wednesdays costs 35 percent less on average than flying on Fridays and Saturdays. On average, coming back on a Sunday is 45 percent more expensive. Holiday travelers, take note.
12. Check your home inventory. Sometimes we forget how much we already have in our homes, whether it’s holiday decorations, wrapping paper, or Christmas cards. Do a thorough search to avoid purchasing costly duplicates.
13. Beware of store cards. Many stores will try to lure you in providing incentives to purchase their credit cards. While it may be appealing to shell out up-front cash to reap 10 percent off each subsequent buy, remember how often you actually shop there. High interest rates are also common. Resist the sell.
14. Shop at Dollar Tree. Gifts, stocking stuffers, holiday décor, and ornaments are always $1.
15. Never pay full price. promocodes.com will be chock-full with Christmas and Thanksgiving-themed discounts and deals as the holidays draw nearer. It’s your guaranteed best bet when searching for fantastic offers on your prospective buys.
Tags: saving during the holidays
Noah Henry Noah Henry is an amateur movie critic, foodie, bowler, and beer reviewer. But he's no amateur when it comes to saving money, so listen up!