For the young at heart and poor of wallet, the holidays can be a treacherous time for trying to meet the expectations of loved ones. Here are three crucial tips to keep you from going broke this holiday season.
1. Shop Early
This cliché is surprisingly true when it comes to holiday shopping. Forget about Black Friday – you can save money and time by buying early and often. With 40% of Americans shoppng for the holidays prior to Halloween, retailers have been trying to bait you since September with one-of-a-kind offers. Don’t wait until the last bite of turkey is gone; check online and in stores for deals that you might never have expected.
2. Do Your Research
Flash sales sites like RetailMeNot, Gilt and Groupon require some diligence on your part, but can be worth the hunt in return for huge savings. Those daily deals may only come once, and it could be a day that you’re stuck at work. I set up alerts on my iPhone so that I won’t miss out on time-sensitive specials. Notifications are much easier than scrolling through website after website.
But the latest mobile apps are only one way to do your shopping research. Banner and side-scrolling ads may actually have something worth clicking, if you’re at a respected website. The more specialized the content, the better – those ads are designed to market directly to your interests. If you visit certain sites as regularly as I do, they may know more about your holiday wish list than you think.
3. Save Where You Can
Spending your lunch break on a $5 Chestnut Praline Latte from Starbucks? Abstain and opt for water or a regular instead. That big-ticket electronic may seem out-of-reach, but those little savings can make financing affordable. Trimming recurring expenses like dry cleaning can be more than a penny saved this season – and once you start saving, you may never want to turn back.
Sometimes it comes down to a matter of good info and good timing. Make sure you have both!