A Save Money, Save Time, Save Gas Christmas
Buy Early and Have a Hiding Place
Saving money at Christmas takes thought and planning! If you're like my Mom, it means doing your Christmas shopping beginning December 26th (yes, that's right- starting the day after Christmas!) and being finished and done with it by October. Some of the best deals are found at after-Christmas sales, although selections are not as great. If you're the think ahead sort, and have a great place to hide your bargains for the entire year, you stand to save a bundle at Christmas. In Mother's day, catalog shopping was the big time saver and she took advantage of many a leisurely afternoon on the couch doing her shopping quietly flipping pages and making her selections. Mom was a gal way ahead of her time when it came to saving time, gas and frustration. These days the computer has taken the place of catalog shopping, and more and more people every day are taking advantage of it. Note: Bedroom closets come in handy for more than just clothes, but then no-one is allowed in them- EVER! I must be a throwback to some ancestor from the past. It has been impossible for me to start Christmas shopping at any point prior to Thanksgiving, no matter what. I've tried it, and I always forget who I bought for and end up buying for the same person twice. Call me crazy.
Since I do not shop for Christmas bargains year round, Amazon.com is my favorite deep-discount solution for holiday toys to clothing to, well, anything. It doesn't matter when I shop, the Amazon market is always open. This amazing online retailer hooks up buyers with multiple sellers, paving the way for great pricing competition. You can buy your items new or used, from discounted to deeply discounted-with a condition rating as well as reviews from other buyers. Rather than having to find a sitter or try to shop with small children (who see, hear and tell all), you can shop after they are in bed with Amazon's 24-hour online presence. Amazon also offers gift bundling, a neat money-saving feature if you're buying for more than one person. You can see what other shoppers are buying when you make your choices. (This is great if you’re like me and need ideas). Item reviews let you know how other shoppers feel about their purchases after they got them home and tried them out, so you can rest assured your choices will meet your standards before you make the purchase. Shipping is a free service after your order crosses the low threshold of $25, and instead of making a trip to the post office, you can have your gifts shipped straight to the recipient. Most of the kids in my family are grown, but I still have two young nieces to buy for this year and so I have personally checked the pricing on many of the most popular Christmas toys as they appear on the Amazon marketplace. Every single one is discounted! Add to that the convenience of online ordering which rescues me from a drive to the store and a long wait in line. Factor in the free delivery and Amazon is at the top of my deep discount buying for the Holidays. Black Friday can be spent in cozy comfort at your own computer for a comfortable shopping trip rather than the retail insanity at the malls.
Shop With a List
I always make a list, just like Santa! That way I don't forget anyone I plan to buy for, and I can check around for the best prices. That means more than just a couple of places, too. The internet is great for checking prices, but don't forget there are lots of local small stores that don't post their prices online yet so you might want to drop by and see if they have any great deals going on too. We have several thrift stores in our town, and you would be surprised at the great stuff people drop off there. You have to dig through boxes sometimes to find the good stuff but if you're serious about saving money, it can be well worth your trouble. I found a beautiful set of porcelain candlesticks for $1 last year. Noone looking at them would have known what I paid, and my daughter tried to talk me into keeping them instead of gifting them for Christmas. I will add places you can shop through the following days to give you ideas about good money-saving shopping ideas, so check back from time to time if you want more places to save money!
Money Savings Places to Shop
If you participate in Christmas (and I have met people who don't) the trick is finding places and ways to shop that offer the biggest savings. I had a friend at work last month who was getting married, and we had a little party for her just to celebrate her good news. Almost every month I get a $10 mailer from Kohl's. I went there with the coupon and found a rack of discounted lingerie. For about $7 I bought her about $50 of lingerie- amazing savings using that $10 discount. Almost every month I get a mailer from Bed, Bath & Beyond for a percentage off a purchase. Use them! You can buy just one item if that's all you get from there and save big-time on your purchases. There's a store where I live called Old Time Pottery- they have a great Clearance section and lots of times you can find great markdowns with either (fixable) damage or in some cases no discernible damage at all. I have bought there at 90% discounts for my own home decor. The Dollar stores usually have the best price on wrapping paper, boxes and bows so you can save on the trimmings as well as on the gifties! The Dollar store also has lots of utensils and kitchen gadgets you can't find for a buck anywhere else, making your Holiday meals and celebrations easier to manage on a budget.
Another great place to get deep gift type discounts is eBay. Competitive pricing on eBay makes it a must-see for your Christmas shopping. Don't ask me how eBay sellers give such great deals, but they do. Here again, my eBay links do generate a small commission for me if you choose to buy through my links but you will also find they are great money-savers!
Your Money Saving Christmas Ideas
I do what I can to get through Holiday buying and still manage to pay the piper. Do you have any ideas or tips for Christmas giving you'd like to share? I know your ideas would help us all save even more and have the happiest Holidays possible!