Posts Tagged ‘shopping’




The National Retail Federation estimates that people will spend about $800 each shopping this holiday season!1 Considering the average weekly earnings for Americans is only $771, that’s a huge sacrifice.2

Spending too much on gifts is easy to do without a plan. Try making a list of all of the people you still need to shop for – and be sure to include what you hope to spend on each gift. Experts say that if you fail to set a specific budget, your spending can get out of control.3

Download our free holiday shopping worksheet, and keep tabs on what you’ve planned to buy, what you’ve budgeted – and what you’ve actually spent this holiday season!


1, “5 Holiday Shopping Tips To Stay On Budget,” November 11, 2013
2, “Usual Weekly Earnings Of Wage And Salary Workers Third Quarter 2013,” November 1, 2013
3, “Tips for stretching your holiday budget,” viewed December 4, 2013


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It’s that magical time of year again! Bright lights, holiday music, the biggest shopping days of the year — Black Friday and Cyber Monday (the Friday and Monday after Thanksgiving). That means big spending, frenzied shopping and all kinds of holiday-induced chaos are just around the corner! Want to put the joy back into giving? Follow these 10 simple strategies:

1. Shop off those Thanksgiving calories! Want to shed some of those delicious holiday meal calories? Put on your comfy shoes and head out to the shops! What better way to celebrate your family than by picking out the perfect little something-something?

2. Make a list and check it twice. Have a plan! Make a list of who you’re buying for and what you want to get them. That way you’ll have a clear focus. If you’re headed out to the shops, plan your route so you can save time.

3. Stick to your budget. You might score big-ticket items for a deal, but there will be more deals coming. Don’t grab and go. Stick to your budget. Odds are, the deals will keep coming and what you save in one area can be reallocated if needed.

4. Say it with me: “Technology is my friend.” There are tons of apps that allow you compare prices, scan bar codes and more! Make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck by taking your smartphone shopping with you.

5. Come on, get social! Most retailers post their best deals on Twitter and Facebook. Go ahead and friend the stores you’ll most likely visit and get the scoop on deals early.

6. Beware of doorbusters. You can score some great deals, but know that they’re called doorbusters for a reason: to get you in the door to buy higher priced items. Stay strong!

7. Avoid the crowds and shop online. If you want to avoid the frenzy, shop online. Stores will have deals throughout the holiday season — Cyber Monday — and beyond! Also, there are lots of voucher deals up for grabs daily on sites and apps like Groupon, Living Social and Pricegrabber.

8. Cut coupons. Play the match game. In addition to great deals, many stores will be sending out store coupons in flyers and via email. Clip and save! Some stores will match their competitor’s prices. Save yourself some extra trips and find out who’s playing the match game on the object of your desire before you go.

9. Don’t suffer buyer’s remorse. Retailers are becoming stricter on their return policies. Don’t over-buy and hope to return for full reimbursement later. Some stores will only offer a credit even if you have a receipt. Also, do your recipients a favor and ask for a gift receipt.

10. Just DIY already! Want to cut costs and take a more personal approach to the holiday? Make some of your gifts. Not only are they from the heart, but think of the savings! And, between DIY bloggers and Pinterest, you can find out how to make just about anything on the Web.

Happy gifting!

Sources:, viewed on November 18, 2013;, November 12, 2013;, November 7, 2013

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After making your list and checking it twice, you’re probably ready to start buying gifts for all the special people in your life. But did you know that there are some things that you shouldn’t buy during the holidays?

Here are four items that Kiplinger’s recommends purchasing before or after the holiday season:

  1. Computers – New laptops, computer models and tablets are typically released in October and November. To make room for new inventory, retailers often discount older models in later summer and early fall. Consider making a computer purchase in the back-to-school season to save more money!
  2. Cameras – Some of the biggest electronic trade shows happen in January and February, and new models are introduced at these events. Towards the end of February, you can find older camera models at discounts of 30% or more. That’s the best time to buy!
  3. Jewelry ­­­– The commercials may convince you that all she needs for the holidays are diamonds or pearls,but high demand means higher prices. Save a jewelry purchase for spring (after tax season) or summer (July and August) when there aren’t any big gift-giving holidays.
  4. Televisions – If you’re dying to buy yourself or a loved one a new TV, try to wait until February before making that purchase. Retailers often lower prices on last year’s models before the new models make it to the shelves in March. Some of the best deals can be found in early February, after the Super Bowl.

“12 Things Not to Buy During the Holidays.”, November 2012. Viewed 11 December 2012.
“13 Things Not to Buy During the Holidays.”, 23 November 2011. Viewed 11 December 2012.

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We asked our Facebook fans to give us their best tip for holiday shopping, and they delivered. Small changes can lead to big savings, and they had great ideas on how to shop smart during the holidays. We compiled some of the best advice to create these five easy steps to becoming a super shopper!

Step 1: Figure out how much money total you can spend on gifts.
Instead of deciding on the amount you’ll spend on each person of your gift list, start by figuring out exactly how much you can spend on all of your gifts. Be realistic about what you can actually afford.

One person suggested saving all of your loose change during the year and adding it to your gift budget at the end of the year. Chances are high that you’ll save more than you’d expect!

Step 2: Make a list of everyone you need to buy a gift for.
Once you know how much you can spend, make a list of everyone you need to buy a gift for this year. Our smart shoppers noted that going into stores without a plan is often what gets people off budget. Having a list in hand while on the hunt for presents can help you focus and stay on target.

Step 3: Budget what you are going to spend for each person.
Go back to your original budget – the total amount you could spend on everyone – and now decide what you’re going to spend on each person on your list.

You don’t have to stick to this exactly, but it helps guide your spending. For example, you might budget $30 for Grandma. If you find the perfect gift for her and it happens to be on sale, then count that as a shopping success! You got her a great gift, and you saved money. You don’t have to spend exactly what you budgeted – just make sure you don’t spend more.

Step 4: Total it all up and make sure you’re within your limit.
Along the way, keep a running total so that you can be sure you’re within your limit. Don’t wait until the last minute! Keep track as you shop so that you can make any necessary adjustments along the way.

Step 5: If you can’t afford it, you shouldn’t be buying it. Get creative and come up with something else!
The most common advice – don’t buy it if you can’t afford it. You don’t want to dig yourself into debt trying to buy gifts for the holidays. It’s truly the thought that counts, and some of the most meaningful gifts won’t cost you anything but time.

For example, want to treat your mom to something nice but don’t have the money? Give her the gift of your time and hard work – write her a note that lets her know that you’ll clean her house from top to bottom.

That’s just one example, but there are numerous ways you can shower someone with love without spending a dime.

What’s your best holiday shopping advice? Share in the comments!

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