We've partnered with
Straight Talk Wireless to share money-saving tips that will help you shop smarter during a spend-heavy holiday season.
The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it's also often the most expensive. One of the biggest hits to your wallet? Shopping for gifts.
You don't want to blow your entire budget on extravagant presents, but no one wants to be a grinch either. Finding the middle ground is key, whether you're shopping for a handful of friends or your entire extended family. Follow these five money-saving strategies for a budget-friendly but still joyful holiday shopping season.
Set a Gifting Budget
Take a page out of Santa's book, and start by making your list and checking it twice. First, write down every person you need to buy a gift for. Then, decide what kind of budget you'd like to make: You can either set a spending limit for each person on your list, or choose the amount you'd like to spend on your total holiday shopping. Whichever method you choose, the key is to stick to your budget — no matter how tempted you might be by a seemingly perfect gift idea.
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Trim Your Overall Spending
Holiday shopping also gives you an ideal opportunity to reexamine your overall monthly spending. Take a closer look at all of the recurring charges on your credit card: are there any magazine subscriptions you no longer read or gym memberships you never use that you can cancel? Don't forget to look at your TV, internet, and phone bills, as well — there may be opportunities to save a little extra money there. For example, you can get unlimited talk, text and high-speed data at
Straight Talk Wireless (first 10GB at high speed, then 2G), with no contract for $35 a month. Every opportunity to save counts!
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Take Advantage of Digital Deals
Once you're ready to start shopping, see if you can score any deals along the way. If you're an online shopper, take advantage of browser extensions.
Rakuten offers cash back for purchases at certain retailers, while Honey keeps track of digital coupons and promo codes, so you know you're getting the best deal. Some credit cards even offer cash back when you spend money at certain retailers — check yours to see if you can cash in on any special offers.
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Start Shopping Earlier
Waiting until the last minute to snag a particular gift is always risky, but especially so this year. Increased demand coupled with disruptions to the global supply chain means you're more likely than usual to see items backordered for months or shipping times delayed far beyond the usual window. The earlier you start shopping, the better: not only are you more likely to find what you're looking for before products start selling out, but you're also more likely to find sales or discounts early in the holiday season before demand really spikes.
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Don't Overlook Local Options
Sure, online shopping can be incredibly convenient, but you can sometimes find the best deals in person. Along with the usual big box stores, scope out craft fairs, holiday markets, and local shops for gift options. If you find a great gift idea, buy multiple — some small businesses will even give you a discount for buying more than one, and you'll be able to cross several people off your list at once. Or, if you're shopping for a gift from a large retailer, see if you can order it online and pick it up in a store near you. It's a simple way to save on shipping fees — and get it sooner!
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