I know, I know, it's too early to be talking about holiday shopping, right? I mean, Halloween just ended. Let's not just skip past Thanksgiving and launch straight into the holidays. However, many savvy shoppers say that now is the time to start planning your budget, and if you can save some money on presents by thinking in advance, then isn't it worth it?
Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you hand out the perfect gifts without breaking the bank.
Come Up With a List of Spending Goals
Before you start forking over your hard-earned money, figure out who you need to shop for and how much each present will set you back. It always helps to have an idea of how much you spend on all your gifts so that you don't end up overspending on one person's and underspending on another's. Plus, if you have a number in mind, you can work to save that amount over the course of the next month or so.
Set Up a Holiday Savings Account or Use a Budgeting App
Once you determine how much moola you'll need to accomplish your holiday shopping, make sure it's set in stone. Open a savings account that is specifically for gifts so you can see how quickly you're going through your budget. If you don't want to open another savings account, sites like Mint can help you create a "goal" and keep track of how much you're saving and spending.
Keep Up With Coupon and Daily Deal Sites
Groupon, Kinja Deals, and many other websites are already talking about the best holiday deals you can find. The more you pay attention to sites like these, the more likely you are to stumble across a great sale on the perfect gift. They update you on the best deals across the web every day, so you'll never miss out on a sale again.
Try to Shop Online Instead of in Stores
As much as we all love heading to the mall and browsing for the ideal present, it can actually be more expensive to shop in-person. By shopping virtually, you can often find more coupon codes, compare prices with other vendors, and avoid overcrowded stores with sold-out merchandise.
Stock Up on Giftcards
You know that dust-covered gift card to The Gap that's been sitting in your wallet for eight months? Well, now is the perfect time to finally redeem it. If you receive other gift cards over the course of the next month, squirrel them away for when you need to purchase a last-minute holiday present. Some stores like Target will give you gift cards if you spend a certain amount in their store on groceries or cosmetics, so take advantage and earn some bonus store credit while you do your regular shopping. If you work at it, you'll be surprised how much money your collection of gift cards can save you.
Research DIY Gifts Now, Not the Night Before
Everyone loves the concept of whipping up some homemade gifts, but be warned, Pinterest can be deceiving. If you decide to go the DIY route, make sure that you plan plenty in advance so that you can avoid dashing out for a last-minute (probably expensive) gift if your creation is a bust. While deciding on what homemade gift to give, try to pick something that's versatile and fairly simple to avoid spending extra money on craft supplies or other necessities.
Do you have any advice for saving money on holiday expenses? Leave suggestions in the comments!