Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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!

More by this author

Junie Rutkevich

Game Developer of iXL Digital

8 Things You Should Consider Looking At When Buying A Home, Part 2 Zinc: The Usually Forgotten Micronutrient We Need Daily and Its Food Source How to Make Sure What You Sell Is What the Market Needs 7 Things To Consider Before Hiring An Advertising Agency Is It Necessary To Follow Traffic Rules?

Trending in Budget Activity

1 6 Easy Ways to Treat Yourself 2 7 Websites to Sell Used Stuff Profitably 3 Seven Tips to Save Money While Renovating Your Home 4 4 Ways to Make Every Penny Stretch in 2017 5 Getting Out of Debt in 4 Simple Steps

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on June 6, 2019

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

Are you on track for retirement?

If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

Saving for retirement is tricky.

Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

20’s – $16,000

During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

Advertising

Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

30’s – $45,000

At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

40’s – $63,000

This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

50’s – $115,000

During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

60’s – $172,000

By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

Advertising

How to Save Money Each Month

By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

How?

By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

Advertising

Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

Why?

You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

By starting a side-business.

Advertising

This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next