(Family feature) Between navigating stores, finding items at the top of wish lists, and preparing for inevitable delays and last-minute requests, shopping for the holiday season. Vacation can also turn the most wonderful time of the year into one of the most stressful.
While the holidays seem to come faster and faster each year, and inflation adds to the anxiety, there’s still hope for your budget this season. To help reduce stress and avoid overspending on gifts, consider these money-saving tips from Regina Conway, consumer expert at Slickdeals, a unique community of online shoppers who work with to shop smarter and save more.
Avoid procrastination. Due to changing shopping habits, there may be excess inventory in certain categories such as household goods. While categories that may have extra inventory can be heavily discounted towards the end of the holiday season, don’t expect every item you want to be available at the last minute.
Set your budget with hidden costs. When setting a budget, many people just stick to the number they think they’ll spend on gifts alone. Be sure to factor in additional costs like child or pet care, transportation, and travel costs so there are no surprises.
Technology exploitation. Whether shopping for toys and technology or travel and home goods, starting your search by visiting a site like Slickdeals can help you find the best deals this holiday season. Deals from top retailers are tested and voted for by a community of 12 million shoppers who work together to save money to help ensure you get the best products at the best prices. You can also set a Trade Alert to be notified when a deal that matches your criteria is posted.
Buy online, pick up in store. If available – including at many big-box retailers – shopping online and then buying your item at the store (or curbside for added convenience) can help you avoid paying shipping and verifying fees. Your receipt will arrive on time. Some retailers even offer exclusive discounts for curbside or in-store pickup.
Take advantage of membership programs. If you’re not a member before, many retailers offer a membership feature that allows for a free trial to check out perks, which often include free shipping. However, remember to cancel the trial before it automatically enrolls you for the whole year. If you’ve tried it out before, consider just buying a one-month membership to take advantage of the holiday shopping season benefits.
Discard your cart. When shopping online, add the items you are interested in to your cart, go through the checkout process until the retailer has your email address, then simply close the browser or tab. Usually, if you haven’t shopped from the website before, the retailer will send you a discount code or coupon to encourage your purchase decision.
Stock up on discounted gift cards. Taking advantage of discount gift card sites is a simple way to save some cash on holiday purchases. Not only can you give your purchased gift card at a discounted price as a gift, you can also use it to shop. Just make sure not to overbuy or you could end up wasting unused cards.
Request a price match or adjustment. If you buy something and see a lower price within a week of that purchase, ask the retailer to adjust the price. While this often doesn’t work with special promotions, many stores, both online and brick-and-mortar, will be priced accordingly during the holiday season. If you’re shopping in-store, bring your smartphone and ask the retailer to match the price online, which can sometimes be a better deal. This match request can save you time and money on shipping charges you may incur when ordering online.
Check the return policy. Many retailers offer extended returns during the holiday shopping season. Make sure you review your retailers’ policies in detail to make sure you understand how much time you have for returns and don’t have to pay for return shipping or other unexpected costs.
Find more tips for getting the best holiday gift deals at Slickdeals.net.