Even though you may just be getting your Halloween costume ready, it’s not too early to think about your Holiday shopping!
Tip #1: Be sure to start early. Start making your list now, and be sure to budget an amount that you will spend for each person. Stick to that number. Analyze that list, make sure that it is reasonable, and do not spend more than what you have budgeted.
Tip #2: Do Your Online Research. There are many sites, such as http://www.amazon.com or http://www.cnet.com that will give expert/customer reviews on many products. Be sure to do your research, especially before buying high ticket items. Sites such as Consumer Reports (www.consumerreports.org) charge a nominal fee ($6.95/month or $30/year) for very comprehensive expert advice, recommendations and ratings on thousands of products.
Tip #3: Look for Bargains! There are many ways to save. If you prefer to leave the house to do your holiday shopping, make sure to check out outlet stores and warehouse clubs. If you prefer to save that gas money and shop online, there are many sites to look at that will help give you the best online pricing. Among the top sites are pricegrabber.com, pronto.com and dealio.com.
Tip #4: Use Coupons! In addition to retail store coupons which may be found in magazines, circulars and newspaper inserts, be sure to look into the many online coupon sites available. Check out RetailMeNot.com, Shopping-Bargains.com, CouponCabin.com and shopathome.com for some money saving coupons. For rebates and rewards, a very popular site is Ebates. Here, you can sign up to receive cash back bonuses each and every time you shop online.
Tip #5: Give Gift Cards. Although some people feel that giving gift cards is a bit impersonal, it is actually a great gift idea! If you know that the person you are shopping for likes a particular store or restaurant, you will be giving a gift that you know will be used. As an added bonus, it can help you to stay within your budgeted amount. Try this site to buy gift cards at discounted rates: GiftCardRescue.com.
Tip #6: Use Smartphone Apps: If you have an iPhone or Android device, look into Coupon Sherpa (www.couponsherpa.com), Google Shopper (www.google.com/mobile/shopper) and Shop Savvy (www.shopsavvy.com) to learn more about how coupons can be scanned from your smartphone.
Tip #7: Use Free Shipping! As you know, shipping costs can add a lot of unplanned dollars to your shopping budget. If you plan early and allow plenty of time for your items to ship, you will save a lot by using ground transportation. Check out the following sites to take advantage of free shipping promotions for many retailers: freeshipping.org and freeshippingday.com. In addition, many retailers such as apple.com, barnesandnoble.com and kohls.com offer free shipping, although they may require a minimum order amount. Before you click ‘Send’ on any order, be sure to double check the shipping charges, as some retailers set the default setting to 2nd day air.
Happy Holiday Shopping!