It can be expensive to buy gifts for everyone on your holiday shopping list or those months where you have multiple birthdays to buy for. In today’s economy, everyone looks for ways to save and gift-buying can be a big expense. Here are a few tips to help you get the perfect gift for people with money left over.
1. Start Early and Create a List
It’s never too early to start planning your Christmas gift list, even right after the current holiday is over to organize for next year. Know who you have to buy for, how much you want to spend on each person, and a few ideas of what to get them. This allows you to have a strategy when you find bargains.
Make sure you remember where you put each gift as you buy it so you don’t have to get a replacement one when you can’t find what you already had. Also, limit your gift-buying to things you know that person won’t go out and buy themselves. Good suggestions of gifts to buy early are holiday ornaments or items they can use multiples of such as towel sets or bedding.
2. Remember Your List for Parties and Kids’ Sales
You know those parties that everyone has around the holidays for makeup or kitchenware. One of your friends decides to host a party and you feel obligated to buy something even if you don’t need it. Instead of wasting money on something that will sit in a cabinet, pull out your gift list and see who you can mark off with one of these items.
The same method works for kids selling items for a school function or program. Who can resist buying from them so why not combine it with Christmas or birthday gifts? Even magazine subscriptions are a good idea for the person who has everything.
3. Join Online Clubs and Programs
Sign up for email notification from your favorite stores and you can get coupons and deals that aren’t made available to the public. Some stores will offer you a rewards program where you can get a coupon when you spend so much in merchandise or they’ll give you an additional discount on a sale that’s going on.
JC Penney, Kohls, and Target all offer special programs for their loyal customers. Some credit cards also give you rewards that you can use at specific stores. While you don’t want to spend unnecessary money just to get the rewards, they are great bonuses if you are already shopping for those items.
4. Shop All Year For Sales
Don’t be afraid to start shopping for next year’s gifts at the after-Christmas sales. Continue the trend by buying gifts when they are the least expensive. The key is to know when certain items are at their lowest price for the year. For example, many people know that bedding is on sale in January so you can pick up that comforter set you know your daughter would love to have.
Cameras are also cheaper in January when the trade shows announce the newest models. Buy kids’ clothing during the back-to-school sales and store them away for gift giving. But wait until the holiday sales for items like kitchen accessories and toys since that is when you will see the best deals of the year.
5. Shop Warehouse Clubs
Places like Sam’s and Costco are often cheaper than other stores and have a good gift selection. For items that come in bulk, consider giving the same gift to more than one person. For instance, if you like to give small gifts to your employees or co-workers, you can get them the same thing and buy in bulk. Items are often cheaper when you buy multiples and you can invite your friends to purchase with you for items such as gift bags or boxes.
6. Make Your Own Gift Bags
If you have more time than money, this tip is a real money saver. You can buy large quantities of food items and get your own baskets or colorful bags and create your own food basket. Small boxes of wrapped candy can be opened and shared between bags to add a decorative touch.
This same idea works for those expensive bath and body sets you see in stores. Buy the cheap samples of lotion and body wash and put them together in a bag or basket and you can create your own gift for a fraction of what you would pay for one already put together.
An added bonus is that these handmade gifts will seem special since they are one-of-a-kind, and you don’t have to be particularly crafty to make them. You can follow this idea to make affordable gifts for a variety of people on your list. Just switch out the items for something you know they will love.
7. Use Apps to Save While You Shop
It can be hard to keep track of all the savings available but your smart phone can help you out. With all kinds of shopping apps available for download, you can save instantly even if you don’t clip coupons or watch sales ads. Some of the most popular ones include:
These apps make it easy to find what you want and a price you want to pay. For the person who likes to plan ahead, many of the apps are part of a larger program that will send you emails or that you can log into to save preferences and claim rewards.
Buying gifts doesn’t have to be a dreaded chore; with some planning and forethought you can get just the right gift without paying too much. Instead of going into debt for the holidays, you can have money left over. Just as important is the fact that you can afford to buy thoughtful, meaningful gifts for those you care about without spending a fortune. That will be a getting a gift for yourself.