Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a "sponsored post." The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Here are “Top 7” saving tips on holiday shopping during the next two months that crazy shopping season for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- Start saving in the beginning of each year
No matter when you start saving, it is always better to start saving early for holiday shopping. Open a checking account only for holiday saving and this account should be no-minimum balance or free account (A Huntington personal checking account is no minimum and free). Then, set monthly direct deposit like $20 or $50 (if you are in a big family) to this account, some banks offer the promotions that for setting up direct deposit, such as $200 rewards. Therefore, technically, you have extra $200 for holiday shopping! At the end of year, you have a realistic budget to buy decent gifts that will make your family members smile.
- Pay Debit or Cash (When you are out of money, you are out of money!)
If you are going to pay with one of your credit cards (usually people are carry as many as five bankcards in their wallets), you had better know the interest rates on each card. If you exceed your credit limit or pay late, their interest rate could jump to 30% or higher, they could charge you penalty fee as high as $39. In addition, if you carry $100 bills for shopping, you would hesitate to break them.
- Set your holiday budget and Stick to it ($10 should be $10 not $12.50)
Once you set the budget for each gift, stick to it! In addition, make it non-negotiable! You need to track where you spend and how much you spend.
- Make your holiday shopping list! And keep it handy! Make sure there is no one missing!
There are two lists: for family and for friends (includes your boss or host of parties you will attend). For family, let your family tradition decide your spending. However, you need to set some financial boundaries when your kids draft wish lists for Santa (give them some choices). For your boss or hostess of parties you will attend, it may be smart to purchase a few small gifts and keep them in your office drawers with holiday cards for surprise visitors or a last minute party.
- Do your homework! Allow enough time to work on holiday shopping!
There is nothing worse than buying a gift at full price! Therefore, before start shopping, do your homework and compare prices for the gifts you want to buy. Free shipping offers, discount information (discount coupon code or sign up reward code) and holiday deals will be helpful to maximize your savings on a holiday budget. If you start shopping early, you could avoid the full price purchases that usually come with the last minute-have-no-option situations.
- Pick a gift card if you are not sure, but watch out!
If you have trouble finding the perfect gift or you run out of time, go with a gift card that everyone is sure to enjoy. There are two options: buy a specific gift card or prepaid gift card. To be safe, you can give a restaurant card for a family dinner or you can give a department store gift card. For a newly married couple, a Bed Bath Beyond gift card would be good for buying their new appliance and for a freshman college cousin or niece, an Amazon gift card will be perfect! In the case of prepaid gift card, it works as a debit card. The money is loaded onto the card so that the person can get exactly what they want. However, some companies add an extra service fee on top. For example, for a $25 prepaid credit card, $5.95 service fee is charged, which means that you have to pay 23.8% interest.
- Don’t Forget the Cash back Bonus Savings
If you make a purchase through the cash back websites, you can get cash back rewards. It is simple! Panda Cash Back, allows you to start shopping, and receive a check with your cash back rewards. Panda Cash Back is the perfect cash back website because it is partnered with over 3,000 merchants, which is the largest cash back website in the world. Moreover, they offer referral bonus. If you refer one of your friends, you will earn extra cash back bonus whenever your friends make a purchase.