Ever notice how most “holiday shopping tips to save you money” are so useless? Yeah, of course we’re going to make a list before we go to the mall. And no, making your own homemade holiday baking isn’t actually that cheap. And even if anyone wanted to wrap their gifts in dirty newspaper, which they don’t, it would only save you, like, two dollars. So, in the interest of not ringing in the new year with an obscene credit card bill, here are some holiday shopping tips that will actually save you actual money.
Use up your gift cards
If you have a Starbucks gift card sitting on your desk but aren’t a coffee drinker, don’t spend it on a bunch of cookies and muffins just to use them up. Give it to your boss or use what’s on it to put together a nice basket of coffee stuff. Use the rest of your LCBO gift card to buy your dad a bottle of scotch. Use that HMV gift card you don’t even remember getting to buy your best friend her favourite record on vinyl or a poster of the band she loves.
Remember your loyalty cards
You know all those loyalty cards that are bulking up your wallet? They can actually be good for something. Most cards accumulate points that turn into a certain amount of cash off your purchase. Some cards earn you a percentage off your purchase just for being a member. When you start your holiday shopping, have a look at the cards in your wallet and find out what deals you can get from them before you pull out your credit card.
Cash in your credit card rewards
If you have a credit card, there’s a good chance you get some kind of reward for using it. Most cards accumulate points that you can use to purchase products from a list of items on their website. Other cards accumulate cash that you can then spend at certain stores. Either way, find out if any of those products or stores would be good for gifts.
Leave your shopping cart unattended
You know how sometimes when you go on one of those pretend online shopping sprees and fill your cart with things you want but have no intention of buying (because bills), the retailer will send you reminders? Well, sometimes they will also include a discount code that you can use on the items in your shopping cart. If you’re doing your holiday shopping online, leave your cart unattended for a couple days and see what pops up.
Shop those sales
This one might seem obvious but there are often “buy one, get one” and “three for the price of one” deals for things like cosmetics, socks, underwear, shirts and accessories, so keep those kinds of sales in mind when you’re shopping. Besides, it’s so much more fun to give a bunch of smaller gifts than one big present! Remember when you were in high school and you used to get cute undies and pretty nail polish and other goodies for your girlfriends?
We know not everyone is going to be comfortable doing this but shopping secondhand for gifts is cheaper and so much better for the planet. Your hippie friend that brings her own containers when you get takeout? She would probably love that vintage embroidered denim jacket and totally appreciate that you’re keeping it out of landfill. Your uptight mother-in-law that won’t even reuse a plastic utensil? Not so much. Just use your judgement.