Save Money on Gifts: Money-Saving Strategies to Make Shopping a Breeze
Tue, 06/03/2014 - 1:29pm | by Helen Hoart
The average person spends over $700 per year on holiday shopping, according to statistics compiled by Statistic Brain. This is just for the holiday season; it doesn't include birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings. Even though giving gifts is a lot of fun, that is still a whole lot of money to spend on other people. The good news is that there are ways to cut back on this figure if you know the right way to shop. Here are six money-saving strategies to help you cut back and track your spending while still giving your loved ones exactly what they want.
Never Stop Shopping
No, this does not mean that you should shop all day every day. It means that you should always be on the look out for great bargains. SheKnows points out that there is no reason to purchase all of your holiday gifts in November or December. Whenever you see something on a great sale that you think someone might want, buy it. You don't even need to have a particular person in mind when you buy the gift.
Look for Alternatives
Even though you understandably want to get your loved ones exactly what they are asking for, your budget may not always allow it. Do not despair. The Huffington Post advises that you can still purchase the type of item that your loved one wants, just perhaps get a different brand or older version to save some dough. The best example is with Apple products. If your loved one is asking for an iPad, but you don't have $500 (or more) to buy one, opt for the Kindle Fire instead (it's only $159). They will still get a tablet and you will have enough money left over to cover your bills.
A lot of times, it is simply the thought that counts. For example, if you find yourself tight on cash when your mom's birthday is approaching, why not send flowers instead of buying a pricey gift? She will appreciate the sentiment and you will appreciate the small bill. There are so many different types of flowers for all different personalities, so you are sure to be able to find something perfect for your mom.
Take Advantage of Store Rewards
Almost every store out there now has a rewards program. They give you points for every purchase you make, and once you reach a certain number of points you get free money to use at their store. While it may not seem like much at first, these rewards can really add up and help you purchase gifts for others at a dramatically lower out-of-pocket cost to you.
Do Your Research
If you are looking for a higher-priced item, like a camera or laptop, you will want to make sure to shop around. These days the easiest way to comparison shop is by using the Internet. Not only is the Internet a great resource, but a lot of times you will discover that shopping online can also save you a lot of money. Services like Consumer Reports can help you understand the value of items, beyond the retail cost.
Put Money Aside Each Week
Now you know how to save money while you shop, but what about just saving money? This is often the hardest part of being able to afford gifts for your loved ones. To make it easy, set up an automatic transfer from your bank account to a separate "gift account" once per week for any amount you can afford. Then when it comes time to purchase a gift, you will have the money ready and waiting.
Piggy bank photo from Flickr user 401(K) 2012.