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In order to spend wisely during the holidays, you have to do your wallet proud.
Avoid a debt hangover that you’ll only regret later.
It may sound dramatic.
I understand, but . . .
Here’s Why Plotting Out Your Shopping is Important
Before I spill the beans on how to shop better, you’ll need to ask yourself:
What’s all the fuss?
When you feel the urge to go overboard or shop last minute, you can remind yourself of why you are prepping to do this in the first place.
English actor, Christopher Parker once said:
Procrastination is like a credit card: It’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.
In an effort to get you excited to spend less and get going early, I’m giving the idea of smart shopping a double-espresso dose of turbocharged enthusiasm with these expert tips.
Happy Holidays Are Even Happier When You Shop Wisely
So I’ll stop ranting and get on with the ideas already.
1. Take advantage of online deals early.
Scott Kluth, Founder & CEO of CouponCabin explains that stores’ websites have the same Black Friday deals as they do in brick & mortar stores and typically have exponentially more inventory. However, the deals are often available online at midnight Eastern time, which is earlier than when the store opens in your area. Use this to your advantage.
2.The early bird catches the deals.
Kluth also recommends getting a head start on your Cyber Monday shopping this year. For the most part, the very best coupons of the year will be seen on Cyber Monday, which falls on December 1st this year. It’s not uncommon to see 30, 40 and 50% off coupons for stores you shop every day. CouponCabin releases these coupons at midnight Eastern time, and because online stores frequently sell out of popular products quickly when these discounts are so tremendous, an early-early start on Cyber Monday morning may be your best bet.
3. Compare without a spreadsheet.
If you’re short on time and planning isn’t an option, compare on the go. Andrea Woroch of AndreaWoroch.com advises,”Before you buy anything, always compare prices using a tool like RedLaser on your phone to find out who sells the same item for less in store or online for less. You can also compare online using TheFind, Google Shopping, PriceGrabber and CamelCamelCamel.” She also adds that many retailers may inflate the original price of an item during popular sale events to make the discount appear like a better value. Knowing what something costs before the holiday season kicks will help you spot those misleading offers!
Charlie Cohn from CouponPal.com believes that shopping early in the holiday season is all about prep-work. Cohn explains, “To maximize your time and dollars, be sure to create a budget and shopping list (including all stores that sell the items you’re looking for).” He points out that when Black Friday and Cyber Monday hit, you don’t want to waste time searching for products. You want to use those days to find the best deals. Having a budget and list of stores. This will prevent you from overspending and help you find everything on your list at the best price.
In addition to common pre-shopping preparation, Cohn uses the time to create a customized deal-feed of curated coupons from his favorite stores on Twitter. This helps him stay up-to-the-minute with any new offers or deals and take advantage of sales as soon as they start.
4. Paying in installments isn’t just for QVC.
If you know you aren’t the best with credit cards and want to avoid wracking up debt and avoiding interest, Woroch says to consider using a free layaway like Kmart’s No Money Down Layaway. You can reserve the hottest gifts but manage your budget by spreading payments over time, then picking up your items before Christmas.
Whenever I buy anything with my credit cards, I transfer the amount spent to a savings account marked with the name of the card I just used to make the purchase. When I get the bill, there aren’t any surprises. I know I have the money to pay it off in full because I already put it away. Yay me! It does take discipline and you can’t touch it by any means.
The Bottom Line
If you are looking to cut back on spending while getting what you want, you can still walk away with great affordable deals that will make your wallet jump for joy. Use the tips mentioned to fill your shopping cart for less.