25 Ways to Save Money & Stay Sane This Holiday Season

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December is here, but no need to fear! As we countdown the weeks, days, and minutes until the gift giving frenzy begins, here are 25 ways to make your holiday shopping a bit more jolly!

1. Check out online deal finders! Websites like BlackFriday2011.com and BFAds.net can help you save big on both online and in-store purchases. They quickly search through thousands of ads so you can find the best deals on the things you want.

2. Use a rewards site for your on-line shopping. Sign up is easy and you can earn cash back at 100’s of on-line merchants just by clicking through a rewards link. Fatwallet and ebates are two to check out.

3. Sign up for e-mail updates from your favorite stores. Many give you an automatic discount just for signing up and you’ll get the 411 on any upcoming sales and promotions. You can also follow them on social media like Facebook and Twitter for sneak previews on sales and special chances to save.

4. Convert your bank and credit card reward points to store gift cards. Have some rewards points to cash in? Do it now to make sure that you receive them in time for holiday shopping or gift giving.

5. Use your smartphone, smartly. There are lots of great apps to help you save money by using your phone or mobile device while you shop. Here’s a list of six free apps that we love!

6. Save those receipts! Not just for returns, but for price-adjustments as well. Some stores offer price-adjustments with only receipt required, so you many want to carry them with you and potentially save a few bucks.

7. Make your cashier’s day! Smile, be polite, give a compliment (even if you don’t feel like it!) A lil’ holiday cheer can go a long way.

8. Stock up on batteries now. Many stores have great deals on batteries right now. Oh, and you may want to get those screwdrivers and wire clippers ready, too.

9. Wrap it up! Take advantage of the free gift wrapping services that many stores offer. And take credit for the best looking gifts under the tree!

10. Consolidate your shopping trips. If the same item is offered at more than one store, you can save time and gas money by consolidating your shopping at one store.

11. Ask for gift receipts. You love that cool TV gadget, I love that cool TV gadget, Aunt Sally may not.

12. Buy gift cards to your favorite restaurants now. Take advantage of the numerous holiday promotions, which typically give you bonus gift cards with a minimum gift card purchase.

13. Save on shipping! Make sure to pay attention to minimum purchase price needed for free shipping offers and make sure to take advantage of free in-store delivery options.

14. Don’t forget discount chains. T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s and Tuesday Morning offer fantastic deals and high-end brands at huge discounts. Warning: these stores can be addictive.

15. Re-gift with care. Did you know that according to a recent survey from Plum District – a daily deals site for moms – more than half the respondents believed it was ok to re-gift, as long as you know someone else will appreciate the gift more? But while re-gifting isn’t always a no-no, it’s important to use common sense. For example, don’t leave last year’s gift tag in the box!

16. Coupons, Coupons Coupons. Search online, you’ll be surprised what coupons you can find. Also, get the Entertainment 2012 book with great coupons and deals in your area.

17. Scan the playroom. Buying for your kids? Five RC cars already? Skip the sixth.

18. Be gift card savvy. Know the terms of gift cards before you purchase. Some have an activation fee and begin to lose value after a pre-determined amount of time (yikes!). Also, check out the Moola Street card – you only pay 10% of the gift card until the card is used! This way if Aunt Sarah never uses the card you bought her, you aren’t out the whole amount!

19. Give your significant other some hints. You don’t need to spoil the surprise, but a few hints can be very beneficial (my husband told me to say this.)

20. Shop etsy.com. Get awesome handmade, unique and personalized gifts. Better get a move on!

21. Give a little (or a lot)! Don’t forget to pick up something extra for those in need- involve your kids, too! 22. Make it! Make a delicious treat to show you care. Homemade caramel corn anyone?? And don’t forget those less fortunate – check out 4 Ways To Give Back this Holiday Season.

23. Walk! Going to the Mall? Don’t get stuck in the parking lot circle-round to nowhere. Just choose a spot further away.

24. Buy it! If you see the perfect gift at the right price, then buy or click now. (of course, you should probably follow tips 1&2 first!)

25. Wait! Not seeing those out of town relatives until New Year’s? Why not wait and take advantage of some serious post-holiday savings.

There you go.

Ready…set…shop…give…bake…click…smile…breath…enjoy!

 

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