The holiday shopping season is upon us, and with it comes stress over battling crowds while attempting to save money. With a tight economy, it’s no wonder so many of us are in search of the best deals. Making sure you don’t exceed your budget this holiday season is not as hard as it may seem. There are ways to find great good buys and budget your limited resources if you just know where to look.
Check the Newspaper
The newspaper is still one of the best resources to find the best deals. You’ll find information on upcoming sales at department stores and big box chains. Pay close attention to dates, as some sales are not necessarily limited to weekends only. By taking advantage of mid-week sales, you’ll also avoid crowds.
Make a new Facebook Friend
The Internet has revolutionized the way we do just about everything- including shopping. Follow your favorite money saving blogs and like them on Facebook. The Suburban Mom is a great example. Follow The Suburban Mom on Facebook for deals so hot they don’t make it to the blog. Save money while avoiding parking wars and crowds at the same time.
Layaway is Back
With today’s troubled economy, it’s no wonder many retailers have brought back this option. If you’re on a tight budget, plan ahead. By budgeting a certain amount on a weekly basis to go toward gifts, you can make payments for those must-have gift items, and still have them wrapped and ready before your holiday celebrations begin.
Shop Small, Shop Local
Stay away from large box retailers and head for the smaller, family-owned, local shops. These types of stores offer unique gifts that offer special sentiment not found in the big box chains. Smaller stores also offer hand crafted items that help support local artisans.
Have someone on your list that is just impossible to shop for? Try an antique shop. Offering just about everything, and at affordable prices, you are sure to find something for even the pickiest of people. You’ll be doing the environment a favor too – buying an item that has been recycled and cherished. Antiques are green!
Let’s not forget the most popular gift of all. Gift cards are a fantastic way to save money, as you can purchase them for as little as $10 each. They also offer you an amazing variety of choices. From coffee shops, to department stores, and even online retailers like Amazon, gift cards can be inexpensive and easy to find and purchase.
Are you heading on vacation right before Christmas? Pick up a few mementos along the way and give them as gifts this year. You can find unique souvenir gifts, often at bargain prices, as well as eliminate the need to shop last minute when you return home. If you’re heading on vacation after the holidays, it’s never too late to start stashing a few items away for next year!
Guest poster Mary Ann Rosenthal is a grandmother to four beautiful children under the age of five. She is dedicated to helping her friends and family save money and works with her son Aaron at www.CyberMondayDeals.com. She is also an artist, writer and aspiring photographer living in Saint Augustine, Florida.