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Looking for some holiday shopping tips you can use for Black Friday or the rest of the shopping season?
The holidays are one of the spendiest times of the year at my house and I’m always on the lookout for a deal.
Between food, gifts, decorations and doing fun things as a family, it can really add up. Each year seems to get more expensive than the one before.
And if you’re struggling with how to afford Christmas this year, you could probably use some money-saving hacks, right?
So I’ve got a quick and easy, yet insanely useful, guide to saving money on holiday shopping this year. Sound good?
Then let’s get to it!
7 Holiday Shopping Tips for Saving Money This Christmas
Saving money at the holidays doesn’t have to be complicated. These tips are designed to help make saving money on Christmas shopping as painless as possible.
So try one or try them all and see how much the savings you pile up!
1. Make a detailed holiday spending budget and shopping list
If you haven’t made your holiday spending budget yet, what are you waiting for?
Make a list of everything you plan to spend money on during the holidays, including gifts. Then assign a dollar amount to each item on the list.
This is one of those holiday shopping tips you absolutely can’t skip if you want to save money. Your budget tells you exactly what you can afford to spend (which is huge for avoiding Christmas debt.)
Once you’ve got your list of things to buy, write down a list of stores where you plan to shop. For example, my list usually includes Target, Amazon and Walmart.
Having a list of stores that you plan to shop at handy can help as you work your way through the rest of the Black Friday and holiday shopping tips included here.
2. Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime if you’re not a Prime member
I’ve been an Amazon Prime member for a few years now and I have to say, it’s worth every penny.
We use the Prime streaming service as a substitute for over-priced cable television. Not to mention, I save hundreds of dollars each year by taking advantage of the free 2-day shipping that’s included with Prime membership.
(We’re serious Amazon shoppers in this house, can you tell?)
If you’re not a Prime member, then you are totally missing out on the chance for savings on Black Friday and beyond. The good news is, you can fix it.
Right now, you can sign up for a free trial membership to Amazon Prime just in time for the holidays. The free trial lasts 30 days, which should be plenty of time to complete your shopping list and snag that free shipping.
(And just remember that if you don’t cancel before the trial ends, you’ll be billed for a year’s membership. But if you shop Amazon often as we do, it’s absolutely worth it!)
3. Install the Honey browser extension
I’ve mentioned Honey here before and I want to bring it to your attention again because this is one of the best holiday shopping tips, in my opinion.
Honey is a browser extension you can download and install for free. When you shop online, Honey scans the web to find promo and coupon codes to apply to your purchase.
That’s it. You don’t have to do anything, other than downloading the extension and create your free account. Honey works to find promo codes at over 40,000 stores so you’re almost guaranteed to find deals on shopping.
Here’s something else that’s great about Honey: when you shop Amazon, Honey automatically looks for the lowest price on whatever it is you’re searching for.
So if you’re looking for the best gifts for busy moms, for example, Honey helps you find the best deals on Amazon.
And there’s one more thing that makes Honey awesome. When you shop at 5,000+ partner stores, you earn Honey Gold. You can turn every 1,000 in Honey Gold you earn into a $10 gift card to your favorite stores.
If you don’t have Honey installed yet, head here to download the browser extension so you’re ready for the Black Friday sales!
4. Plan your Black Friday shopping strategy early
In the last few years, we’ve done Black Friday shopping on Thursday evening after Thanksgiving, since it seems to get earlier and earlier each year. The crowds are always crazy but it can be worth it if your goal is saving money.
Making Black Friday (or Black Friday Eve) a money-saving success is all about having a plan. Here are some of the best holiday shopping tips to know for Black Friday and Cyber Monday:
- Start scoping out deal sites like Slickdeals early, since they usually have the advance notice on when Black Friday sales flyers are released.
- Check sales flyers online to compare prices for popular items.
- Match the sales flyers for individual stores to your holiday shopping list you made earlier.
- Make a note of what time deals go on sale and whether they’re online-only or in-store.
- Break down the cost of bundled items, like video game consoles and games, to make sure it’s a better deal than buying them separately.
- Pay close attention to model numbers for bigger ticket items, like TVs.
That last one is a tip I learned the hard way. There’s nothing more frustrating than going into a store on Black Friday expecting to get one thing one sale, only to realize that the price advertised in the flyer is for a similar product with a different model number.
Also, decide whether you’re going to shop at home or in the store.
Shopping at home has its perks. You don’t have to get dressed and more importantly, you’re not fighting the crowd to shop.
And some stores let you cash in on deals before Black Friday even gets underway. For example, you can shop Amazon’s Happy HoliDay deals right now if you’re ready to start crossing gifts off your list!
5. Consider whether you want to use a credit card to shop
Using credit cards to shop Black Friday sales or any other time during the holidays can be tricky. You don’t want to overspend or end up with debt you have to pay down after the holidays.
I do use credit cards to shop during the holidays but I always pay the balance in full in January. My favorite card for holiday shopping is the Target Redcard.
Here’s why this card is so great if you’re planning to hit up the Target Black Friday deals:
- You get 5% back automatically when you make a purchase online or in-store.
- Cardmembers get free standard shipping on most items and free two-day shipping on eligible items.
- There’s no annual membership fee.
- Members get access to exclusive shopping offers.
I also love those special deals where you purchase an item with your REDcard and get a free $5 or $10 Target gift card. That’s money you can use for your next purchase or treat yourself to a little something for the holidays.
If you don’t have a Target REDcard, you can head here to open an account and start saving 5%!
6. Use the right money-saving apps
Cash back apps can make saving money on holiday shopping a breeze. There are lots of different apps you can use to shop but they all work similarly.
You create a free account through the app and shop your favorite stores online. When you make a purchase at a partner merchant, you earn rewards through the app.
That can be cash back or it could be points that you can redeem for gift cards. Either way, it’s a win-win if you’re trying to save money on holiday shopping.
What’s even better is that you can match up rewards apps with a rewards credit card to double up on benefits. So if you’re using the Target REDcard, for example, you could get the 5% back you earn with your card. Then, you could get more cash back or points for free gift cards using a rewards app.
If you need some suggestions, here are my favorite money-saving apps for shopping:
With Rakuten, you can earn up to 40% cash back with selected merchants. Right now, the site is offering Black Friday sneak peeks for selected retailers so you can get an advance look at what’s on sale.
Rakuten is free to sign up for and use. All the big-name retailers are featured here, including Target, Walmart, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Amazon and Best Buy.
Ibotta is another great cash back app for the holidays. This one’s good for saving money on Black Friday gift shopping but you can also use it to scoop up savings on groceries and travel all year-long.
Some of the retailers you’ll find on Ibotta include J. Crew, The Home Depot, Target, Walmart and Kohls. You can earn cash online or in-store and withdraw it to a PayPal or Venmo account, or redeem it for gift cards.
MyPoints seems to be the rewards site that almost no one has heard of but they’ve been around for quite a while.
When you sign up with MyPoints (it’s free) you can earn points for shopping online or doing simple tasks, like taking surveys or watching videos. You can then turn those points into free gift cards to your favorite retailers.
And if you need to buy gift cards to Old Navy, Macy’s, Chili’s or another MyPoints partner, you can earn cash back on those purchases when you buy them through MyGiftCards Plus. You can get up to 30% cash back on gift cards from partner brands.
Sign up for MyPoints now and get a free $10 Amazon gift card when you make your first purchase!
7. Don’t assume you’re always getting the best price
I can’t stress enough that when it comes to Black Friday deals and holiday shopping, it pays to do your research.
Take time to compare prices for all the stores on your shopping list. Then compare prices for online and in-store deals to see if there’s any difference.
If you think something you plan to buy on Black Friday might drop in price after the first wave of sales is over, there are a few things you can do.
First, you can just wait it out to see whether your hunch about the price ends up being right. If the price goes down, you can scoop it up for some savings.
(One useful thing you can do with Honey is to add Amazon items to a droplist. Honey will monitor those items and send you an alert if the price drops to a range you specify.)
The catch with that option is that you’re taking a chance that the item won’t end up being out of stock. In that case, you could buy the item anyway, then return it later and repurchase it at the lower price.
This can be tricky, however, since a lot of stores change up their return policy during the holidays.
For example, instead of being able to return an item for cash, you might only get store credit back. So check the store’s return policy first before you go that route.
A third option is to download a price matching app or use your credit card’s price protection feature if you’re shopping with a card. A lot of cards have done away with this feature so an app might be your best bet.
Paribus is an app you can use to get price protection free. The app monitors your spending and if something you bought online drops in price, Paribus requests a refund of the difference for you.
There are some restrictions to know about. For example, purchases older than 30 days don’t qualify for price matching. But it could be a simple way to save a few extra bucks on holiday purchases, so give it a try!
How Will You Save on Black Friday and Holiday Shopping?
These holiday shopping tips are some of my favorite ways to save money on Christmas gifts. Because when all the other holiday craziness is happening, the last thing you need to worry about is money.
Do you have an awesome tip for saving money on Black Friday or other holiday sales? Head to the comments and tell me about it!
And please show this post some love and share it if it helped you!