November 16, 2022

Frugal holiday shopping tips

Written by kevin-c

Saving Money

The holiday shopping season is here! Christmas, Hanukkah, and other winter holidays are coming at full speed, and you might be feeling some pressure. That pressure to buy gifts, while keeping an eye on your spending with inflation on the rise.

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spent on average $1,048 for Christmas 2019. That includes travel, food, decorations, and, of course, gifts. Gifts accounted for about $650 of that $1,048. Six bills on gifts alone is a solid chunk of money, and out of reach for a lot of folks in these times.

If you're looking for more ways to save, here are a few suggestions on how to stretch your holiday dollar:

Shop used

Now, this will not be a solution for all giftees and gifts. But if your family is ok with used items then thrift stores, used bookstores, and Facebook Marketplace are your friends. Antiquing and flea market diving can snag you some unbelievably unique items, plus it’s fun! You may even be able to shop “used-adjacent” – big box stores will often have “open box” items on sale (products that were opened but never used) or floor models on for discounts. Also, many used bookstores will sell movies and music too, perfect for hunting for a gift for your hipster giftees.

Set limits

Probably the most direct way to lower gift costs is to set spending limits. Everyone agrees on a maximum dollar amount per gift and sticks to it. Or, even more easily, set limits on the number of gifts per person. (Like for, example, one.)

Use the internet

Not just to look for gifts, although it’s great for that too. No, what I mean is you can leverage the internet to help reduce costs. Sites like Rakuten give good cash-back rates on purchases, and if you use Chrome as your browser, then look the browser extension Coupert which will automatically look for coupons and apply the best one before you checkout on any website. Now that’s handy!

Use gift cards

Hold on, hold on. I know what you’re thinking. Giving someone a gift card is basically saying “I’m not sure what to buy you.” Now while I’m certainly not above receiving a gift card, there is a site called Raise that scours the net for discounted gift cards from all sorts of retailers – Walmart, Nike, Macy’s, Lowe’s eBay, Amazon, and more. Snap up some discount gift cards and use them to buy gifts! (Your giftees will never know. The perfect holiday crime!)

Give time instead of things

It’s cliché, but what people really want from you is, well, you. Make coupons for things like breakfast in bed, a 20-minute back rub, a homemade meal, an evening of babysitting, an afternoon of helping with anything the person wants, mowing the yard. Coming up with ways to spend time and help each other is more important than any gift. (Well, except maybe a PS5.)

Have to hack to save money when holiday shopping? Share it in the comments with us!