(Credit: Tim Douglas via Pexels).

The holidays are just around the corner! Before you grab your purse and hit the stores, you should read these tips to save money on holiday shopping.

1. Shop Early

Don’t leave your shopping until the last minute. The earlier that you shop, the better. You’ll have time to find items that match your budget. Plus, you can avoid expensive shipping fees that come with rushed last-minute deliveries.

2. Use Gift Cards

Do you have some gift cards gathering dust in your wallet? You might be able to put them to good use for the holidays and purchase gifts, decorations or other holiday essentials without impacting your budget whatsoever.

3. Use Rewards

It’s time to tap into all of those rewards you’ve collected from credit cards, loyalty programs and retailer memberships. You can use these to get discounted — and even free — gifts for the holidays. At the very least, you can use rewards to get small stocking stuffers.

4. Mark Your Calendar

Mark your calendar with these major sales dates before the winter holidays: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Green Monday. Retailers should offer plenty of deals on these dates.

5. Do Gift Swaps

Organize gift swaps like Secret Santa and White Elephant with your friends, family members and coworkers. Doing this will shorten your shopping list and save you money. 

6. Compare Prices

When you’re shopping online, you can compare prices for products with the help of apps like Camelcamelcamel, ShopSavvy and Mycartsavings.

7. Use Coupons

Before you hit the checkout page, check whether you can use discount codes or coupons to reduce the final price. Couponing websites and apps will give you instant access to these deals.

8. Ask About Price Match

A “price match” policy typically means that the retailer will reduce its in-store price if a competitor is offering a lower price on the same item. So, it will lower the price of the chosen item to “match” the competitor. Ask your favorite retailer about their price match policy. It could help you save big!

Why Is It Important to Save on Holiday Shopping?

It’s easy to spend way more than you can afford to for the holidays and to put your finances into a rough state. You don’t want to end up with no savings and a drained checking account before the year is even over. That will give you a lot of stress once the holidays are done, and it will make you vulnerable to any surprise expenses that come your way.

What if your car breaks down after the holidays and needs repairing? What if your pipes freeze, and you need to hire a plumber to thaw them? You’ll want to have enough savings to pay for these important expenses.

If you’re ever in a situation where your savings just aren’t enough, you could turn to alternatives like credit cards or lines of credit for help. And if you don’t have a line of credit already, you can try to apply for a line of credit online and see whether you get approved. With an approved line of credit, you could request a withdrawal within your limit and use it to manage an emergency expense right away.

Credit cards and lines of credit shouldn’t be your main solution for handling surprise expenses. Your main solution should be your savings.

So, keep your holiday shopping under control this year. Minimize your spending and keep your savings accounts nice and full.

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