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10 Savvy Tips For Christmas Shopping Thrifters

10 Savvy Tips For Christmas Shopping Thrifters

We’re getting closer to Christmas with each passing day. Have you started shopping for the best gifts for men, women, children, and your loved ones yet? You might think that you have plenty of time, but that’s the surest way to find yourself on the edge of the holiday with a lot of shopping still to do (and not enough time to take advantage of shipping discounts!). Suddenly, the prices of everything that your children, your husband, your mother-in-law – everyone on your list, in fact – wanted will start to shoot up before you know it. Fret not and take a look at our top ten pieces of advice to beat the rush, and save some cash in the process.

1. Use discount apps.

Have you heard of Wikibuy? It’s just one browser extension that pops in when you are shopping, and when you head to the “Checkout” page, it automatically starts scouring the Internet for a better deal on that same exact product or service. If there’s better deal for cat litter out there, for example, it will pop up for you.

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2. Sign up for emails from your favorite stores.

If you have an email account with a provider like Gmail, which separates your promotional offers out from the rest of your inbox, then you should go ahead and sign up for email alerts from the places you like to shop. They filter into your promotional tab, and you can take a look through there and see if one of your favorite stores is offering a deal. You don’t have to surf through store websites – they will just pop up in your inbox.

3. Finish your shopping as early as possible.

That might sound unrealistic, but hear me out. TechieState says that in those last ten days before Christmas, prices will starting going up, as retailers take advantage of procrastinators. Even if you’re shopping online, you’ll start to see those “FREE SHIPPING” offers dry up as you get closer to the big day. This way, your packages have plenty of time to get where they are going.

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4. Mix needs in with wants.

No, your kids won’t get excited to open a package with a sweater inside or a jacket. However, if you have also gotten them a few things off their “wants” list, you can combine your winter “need” shopping with what your kids want.

5. Sign up with the major discount websites.

Sites such as Overstock, Groupon, and Living Social put out new deal emails every day. Websites like Groupon Goods offer deals on a wide variety of gift ideas, often with discounts well above 50%. With a Gmail account, these messages will slip into your Promotions tab, and you can pick out the ones you want to read.

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6. Consider experiences instead of objects.

Does your son want an XBox One? That’s going to set you back at least $300 new, and then the games are $50 – $75 each – and special edition games cost even more. But is your son also a huge fan of your local NBA team? You can get two pretty good tickets for $100 each – less than the XBox One – and you’ll make a memory with seats at the big game.

Another way is to give your loved ones a year subscription of your local gym or a complete course of 21 day fitness rock, just in case your recipient is an exercise aficionados. A roundtrip ticket to some nice place, a concert, or holiday festive cruise within the country also works great. It isn’t just unique, they are going to love the life experience and memories it will give them for years to come.

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7. Start next year’s shopping in January.

OK, if you max out your cards in December you might have to wait until February or March. But here’s the deal – if you buy when most people aren’t, you’re always going to get better deals.

8. Don’t forget local discount retailers.

Stores like T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Big Lots often carry name brand items for pennies on the dollar. People who stay at home and just shop online can miss out on huge deals this way, especially if you are thinking about what to buy for a baby, as these products are running low during holidays. If you can slip out on your lunch break and hit the store (and ideally take an early or late lunch), you can avoid the rush that comes in the evenings.

9. Consider memberships instead of lump-sum gift prices.

There are clubs for the Beer of the Month, the Fruit of the Month, even the lingerie of the month.  Buying this sort of present gives your loved one something to open all year – and you can accept monthly billing instead of having to buy a larger present all at once.

10. Never stop hunting new discounts.

One thing that’s always true – new sites are opening all the time to give you access to new ways to shop. Keep pounding the pavement – and you’ll keep saving money. Happy Holidays!

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Junie Rutkevich

Game Developer of iXL Digital

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Published on November 20, 2018

The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

The truth is, there are many “money saving guides” online, but most don’t cover the root issue for not saving.

Once I’d discovered a few key factors that allowed me to save 10k in one year, I realized why most articles couldn’t help me. The problem is that even with the right strategies you can still fail to save money. You need to have the right systems in place and the right mindset.

In this guide, I’ll cover the best ways to save money — practical yet powerful steps you can take to start saving more. It won’t be easy but with hard work, I’m confident you’ll be able to save more money–even if you’re an impulsive spender.

Why Your Past Prevents You from Saving Money

Are you constantly thinking about your financial mistakes?

If so, these thoughts are holding you back from saving.

I get it, you wish you could go back in time to avoid your financial downfalls. But dwelling over your past will only rob you from your future. Instead, reflect on your mistakes and ask yourself what lessons you can learn from them.

It wasn’t easy for me to accept that I had accumulated thousands of dollars in credit card debt. Once I did, I started heading in the right direction. Embrace your past failures and use them as an opportunity to set new financial goals.

For example, after accepting that you’re thousands of dollars in debt create a plan to be debt free in a year or two. This way when you’ll be at peace even when you get negative thoughts about your finances. Now you can focus more time on saving and less on your past financial mistakes.

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How to Effortlessly Track Your Spending

Stop manually tracking your spending.

Leverage powerful analytic tools such as Personal Capital and these money management apps to do the work for you. This tool has worked for me and has kept me motivated to why I’m saving in the first place. Once you login to your Personal Capital dashboard, you’re able to view your net worth.

When I’d first signed up with Personal Capital, I had a negative net worth, but this motivated me to save more. With this tool, you can also view your spending patterns, expenses, and how much money you’re saving.

Use your net worth as your north star to saving more. Whenever you experience financial setbacks, view how far you’ve come along. Saving money is only half the battle, being consistent is the other half.

The Truth on Why You Keep Failing

Saving money isn’t sexy. If it was, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

Some people are natural savers, but most are impulsive spenders. Instead of denying that you’re an impulsive spender, embrace it.

Don’t try to save 60 to 70% of your income if this means you’ll live a miserable life. Saving money isn’t a race but a marathon. You’re saving for retirement and for large purchases.

If you’re currently having a hard time saving, start spending more money on nice things. This may sound counterintuitive but hear me out. Wouldn’t it be better to save $200 each month for 12 months instead of $500 for 3 months?

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Most people run into trouble because they create budgets that set them up for failure. This system won’t work for those who are frugal, but chances are they don’t need help saving. This system is for those who can’t save money and need to be rewarded for their hard work.

Only because you’re buying nice things doesn’t mean that you’ll save less. Here are some rules you should have in place:

  1. Save more than 50% of your available money (after expenses)
  2. Only buy nice things after saving
  3. Automate your savings with automatic bank transfers

These are the same rules that helped me save thousands each year while buying the latest iPhone. Focus only on items that are important to you. Remember, you can afford anything but not everything.

How to Foolproof Yourself out of Debt

Personal finance is a game. On one end, you’re earning money; and on the to other, you’re saving. But what ends up counting in the end isn’t how much you earn but how much you save. Research shows that about 60% of Americans spend more than they save.[1]

So how can you separate yourself from the 60%?

By not accumulating more debt. This way you’ll have more money to save and avoid having more financial obligations. A great way to stop accumulating debt is using cash to pay for all your transactions.

This will be challenging, depending on how reliant you are with your credit card, but it’s worth the effort. Not only will you stop accruing debt, but you’ll also be more conscious with what you buy.

For example, you’ll think twice about purchasing a new $200 headphone despite having the cash to buy them. According to a poll conducted by The CreditCards.com, 5 out of 6 Americans are impulsive spenders.[2]

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Telling yourself that you’ll have the discipline to not buy things won’t cut it. This is equal to having junk food in your fridge while trying to eat healthy–it’s only a matter of time before you slip. By using cash to make your purchases, you’ll spend less and save more.

A Proven Formula to Skyrocket Your Savings

Having proven systems in place to help you save more is important, but they’re not the best way to save money.

You can search for dozens of ways to save money, but there’ll always be a limit. Instead of spending the majority of your effort saving, look for ways to increase your income. The truth is that once you have the right systems in place, saving is easy.

What’s challenging is earning more money. There are many routes you can take to achieve this. For example, you can work long and hard at your current job to earn a raise. But there’s one problem–you’re depending on someone else to give you a raise.

Your company will have to have the budget, and you’ll have to know how to toot your own horn to get this raise. This isn’t to say that earning a raise is impossible, but things are better when you’re in control right? That’s why building a side-hustle is the best way to increase your income.

Think of your side-hustle as a part-time job doing something you enjoy. You can sell items on eBay for a profit, or design websites for small businesses. Building a side-hustle will be on the hardest things you’ll do, be too stubborn to quit.

During the early stages, you won’t be making money and that’s okay. Since you already have a source of income, you won’t be dependent on your side-hustle to pay for your expenses. Depending on how much time you invest in your side-hustle, it can one day replace your current income.

Whatever route you take, focus more on earning and save as much as possible. You have more control than you give yourself credit for.

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Transform Yourself into a Saving Money Machine

Saving money isn’t complicated but it’s one of the hardest things you’ll do.

By learning from your mistakes and rewarding yourself after saving you’ll save more. What would you do with an extra $200 or $500 each month? To some, this is life-changing money that can improve the quality of their lives.

The truth is saving money is an art. Save too much and you’ll quit, but save too little and you’ll pay for the consequences in the future. Saving money takes effort and having the right systems in place.

Imagine if you’d started saving an extra $100 this next month? Or, saved $20K in one year? Although it’s hard to imagine, this can be your reality if you follow the principles covered in this guide.

Take a moment to brainstorm which goals you’d be able to reach if you had extra money each month. Use these goals as motivation to help you stay on track on your journey to saving more. If I was able to save thousands of dollars with little guidance, imagine what you’ll be able to do.

What are you waiting for? Go and start saving money, the sky is your limit.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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