Buying presents around the holidays gets very expensive. While we all want to get everyone we know a nice gift, if you aren’t sure how to make your money stretch to cover the gifts you want to get, read on.
Here are some tips for stretching a holiday dollar and getting great holiday gifts:
When your family or friends mention things they like, take notes. Once you’ve made sure that they haven’t or wouldn’t buy the item for themselves, buy the item for them if you can afford it or find it. Be creative. If you can’t get exactly what the person likes, you could try to get something in a similar style, scent or color, for example. For example, if your mom just loves her best friend’s glass vase, see if you can find out the maker and where the person got it. Often, if asked, people will share the tidbits about admired items. If it’s a Mikasa vase, but you can’t afford the $96 version, look for a smaller version or a less expensive piece in the same collection. Gift cards are usually welcomed by most people, young and old alike. Don’t get terribly extravagant unless you know that the gift will be appreciated and will not be viewed as showy.
Go to the day after Thanksgiving sales. While you don’t have to wake up at 4 in the morning, the earlier you get out and start shopping, the better. Most stores extend the major bargains until 6 or 8 AM and then continue lesser discounts from there, with the last major bargains ending around noon. You can go after the mad, early morning rush and still get some great deals; going mid-morning might also save you time waiting in huge lines. While stores do sell out certain items, you would be surprised at the items that sometimes don’t sell well. For example, I got a great deal on a bread maker last year at Macy’s and, to my surprise, the store was relatively empty, considering it was the day after Thanksgiving. While not a Wii, my mother or my sister, a busy mother of 3, might appreciate it.
Home made Christmas
Find what you want on sale. Most stores have a variety of popular gift ideas on sale throughout the holidays. Should you see something you know your child or friend would love to have for Christmas, buy it as soon as you see it on sale. If this happens to occur before Thanksgiving, store it in a safe, peek-proof place until Christmas roles around and it’s time to wrap gifts.
Go online for great, web-exclusive deals. Restaurant.com sells gift cards for restaurants; usually you can buy a $25 gift card for $10. Make sure you check the city of the recipient as they don’t have participating restaurants in every city. In addition to great, online only deals, many companies offer free shipping or free gifts with purchase. You can also, in many cases, have packages sent to your distant loved ones for free.
Buy out of season or after season items immediately after the season or holiday, as discounts are typically steep. After Christmas, buy Christmas decorations, cards and packaging for next year. While they will take up a small amount of space, you will save big as most items are up to 75% off, because stores want to get rid of inventory. As long as something won’t melt or expire, if it’s a great deal and you’ll use it, buy it. Remember, you can shop during the year for holiday gifts; holiday shopping need not be limited to November 26 to December 24.
Don’t be afraid to reign in your spending over the holidays. While you want to get gifts for your friends, if you can’t afford to spend a great deal, don’t bust your budget. Keep your eye out for sales and consider buying something, like a case of mixed nuts, in bulk and breaking it up into gifts for a few people. You can also get gift certificates for as little as $5. Friends and family will understand your predicament as, in all likelihood, they’re experiencing similar circumstances.