The pressure to find presents online often leads to gift-buying frenzies and skyrocketing credit card bills. However, there are ways to spend less and save time and money in the process every holiday season.
Check out these ten money-saving tips for finding the perfect present online:
1. Know Your Budget – We all know it's easier to buy more than you need, but do you know how much that extra gift box will cost a month later? Figure out the size of your family and budget accordingly.
For example, if you know that your family of four will use a gift a month later, consider making purchases as large as possible to cut costs. If you think you might give one each for birthdays and graduations, think small.
2. Keep Track of What You Buy – Stay on budget by keeping track of what you're spending.
A great way to do this is to enter the price paid for each gift set into a spreadsheet. That way, when the bills come in, you'll have a record of what is still outstanding.
3. Shop Around – Comparison shop to find the best price for what you need. Some presents online may be less expensive at one site than another, and it's worth checking sites before making a purchase.
4. Use Cash Back Sites and Search Engines – Sites like Ebates.com, MyPoints.com, and FatWallet.com offer extra cashback if you make purchases from their partner stores.
You can also look up gift boxes you want on sites like Google Shopping or Bing Shopping to find the lowest price, then shop around for the lowest price on that item.
5. Sign Up for Special Offers – Many sites offer discounts on premium gift sets, and some utilize promotions that can save you even more.
For example, Amazon will send emails about frequent buyer rewards, so sign up to receive these each time you purchase.
In addition, Amazon updates its prices every 12 to 15 minutes, so check back often.
6. Consider Purchasing Store Credit – Some stores offer store credit that can be redeemed against future purchases at whatever price the cashier rings up.
For example, suppose you want to buy a pair of pants for $50. Instead of paying cash, you can ask the cashier to ring up three pairs of pants at $100 each (for later use).
Then, if you don't use the credits by a certain time, ask for your money back and buy other items instead.
7. Save Money on Shipping – Most sites offer free shipping, but you can also use services like FreeSuperSaver.com to find coupons that can help you save on shipping.
For example, if you have an item with a cost of $9.99 and free shipping, use a coupon to reduce the costs to $8.99. Then, you'll have enough left over for a cup of coffee!
8. Shop After Work – Some stores offer an extended shopping hour on the weekends, so think about making holiday purchases during your lunch break.
9. Make Sure You're Approved for Certain Deals – Many sites will not allow buyers to return items because they have a "non-verified" credit card on file.
But it's easy to fix this by logging into your account and clicking "change credit card." Then confirm the new card information in order to be approved for future discounts.
10. Take advantage of cashback sites like Ebates and Coupon Cravings to reduce the price of your online holiday shopping.
Don't let yourself get caught up in the holiday frenzy. With a little planning and these ten money-saving tips, you can shop smarter and save money while still providing some great presents online for your family.