Here are some tips to help you get thru the holidays. Hopefully you will experience less stress than my poor little niece did during her recent visit to Santa.
Make a list
Planning ahead and shopping ahead are imperative for a stress free low cost holiday. Take your cues from Santa. Make a list. Santa does, you should too. Check your list twice but be sure and subtotal it before heading out to the store. Set a gift buying budget and stay within the budget or else you will end up on your own personal naughty list when the January bills start coming in. Think long and hard what your shopping budget is then divide it up. Allocate a set spending amount for each person on your list. Promise yourself you will not exceed that amount for each person on the list. While checking your list don’t forget to add in all the extra people that most of us think of at the last minute like the babysitter bus driver or mail man.
Stockings can be very expensive if you run out to CVS on Christmas Eve. Plan ahead get them done first. Dollar Store is a great way to fill a stocking last minute on the cheap but they aren’t free. Although The Dollar Tree did start accepting coupons this year so you can in fact shop for free there. The best way to fill a stocking for free is with trial size items. Look for $1.00 off coupons that have no size restriction and take them to the trial size section. You will be able to stock up on all sorts of little stocking stuffers for free like travel size shampoo, soaps and toothpaste. Start watching the drug store ads get anything that is free after coupons and store promotions now while you can and put them away. Drug stores are constantly giving away make up, toothbrushes and deodorant so start stockpiling them now. Sign up for free samples. Walmart and Target have free samples to can sign up for free on their websites. Once those little samples come in the mail put them aside for stockings.
Gifts for the hard to buy for
Usually the hardest to buy person is the last one left on your list. What can you buy or the person that has everything or the man that says they don’t need anything. Guys are tough to buy for and end up leaving you stressed on a never ending search for the perfect gift that usually ends in socks and a tie. This year start your shopping with the hardest person first. If you get the hardest ones done first it will be smooth stress free sailing after that. Check out Living Social and Groupon for deeply discounted unusual gifts. Last year Living Social offered a Learn to fly a helicopter package at under $100.00. This is perfect for the guy you never know what to get. Don’t spend 100.00 on socks, pj’s, robe and slippers for the man in your life give him something that will have leave him bragging to all his man friends. They will think you spent hundreds and you don’t need to tell them you snagged the deal for $79.00. If you want to get the deal for free then just start blabbing about the hot deal you scored your bff’s . Living Social will give you your deal for FREE if 3 friends buy the deal thru your referral link. So far every single deal I have ever purchased on Living Social I have gotten for free by talking about it. Everyone knows that if I am buying a deal it is a good deal! If I think it’s a good deal it’s almost a no brainer that three more people will. I just post the link on my Facebook wall and in no time I get it mine for free! *Warning be sure and not let the person that is receiving the gift from you see your Facebook post or the surprise is ruined
Know what hot before it’s too late.
Pay attention to the hot toys now. Find out what the kids want now. There is nothing worse than putting off picking up the Leap Pad you see in a store in October only to find out that it is selling for 3 times the price on Ebay in December and then are none left in the stores. You can educate yourself on how hot a toy is now by looking at how it’s selling on Ebay. If it’s selling more than the suggested retail price now then things are only going to get worse so go out and grab it today before it’s too late. Worse comes to worse you can always return it. If you can’t find an item in stock ask your stores when the deliveries are coming so you can be ready and waiting for them to unload that truck. Feeling adventurous? Buy 2 put one on eBay and let the bids rise. I have done this in the past and the profit from the one I sold on Ebay pays for the one I got for myself. Now that s How to shop for free!
Before you buy anything does some research find out if it’s a good product or a dud? Then find a coupon to get the best price possible. There are coupons for just about everything. Before running out to the mall do a Google search for the store you are shopping at. Enter the store name then the printable coupon. Nine out of 10 times you will find a coupon to match the deal.
If you can’t find a printable on your own then consider buying one on Ebay. Yes, you can buy coupons on Ebay. Technically you are paying for the time it takes the seller to find locate and mail you the coupon. That clause is EBay’s way of keeping things legal. Why pay for a coupon you ask? It’s simple math let’s say you are going to buy an item or items at a specific store and that item or items will cost you $200.00. After a quick search on Ebay you find someone selling a coupon for that store that will save you 30% off your entire purchase. If the seller is selling the coupon for $5.00 you will pay $5.00 and then receive 30% off. A savings of 30% on a $200.00 order is a savings of $60.00. Your $5.00 coupon investment just earned you $55.00 profit. Make sense now? You can find coupons for just about everything on Ebay. If you want to start looking for coupons on Ebay it’s very simple. Go to Ebay.com and enter the store or product name then the word coupon in the search field. Hundreds of listings may pop up then click buy it now and then sort the list highest to lowest so you can ensure you are getting the best deal there is o the coupon You can shop for free at Kohl’s with the $5.00 off $5.00 coupons that you can get on ebay. You can score all sorts of freebies at Victoria Secret with Ebay coupons as well.
Start planning for next year.
Before the wrapping paper is cleaned up from under the tree I am already thinking about next year. Christmas clearance sales start fast stock up on wrapping paper, decorations and seasonal items at the beginning of the New Year. Next year you can have a house decorated for next to nothing with Pottery Barn holiday decorations. I scored beautiful Christmas decorations and mercury glass last year for 90% off. Shop like me you will have all the wrapping paper and ribbon you need stockpiled for 10 cents a roll.
If you want to start shopping for free all year long be sure and read my book How to Shop for Free; Shopping secrets for smart women who love to get something for nothing!