Why is that our wallets get smaller and our waistlines get bigger over the holidays? For some of us, gift-giving is something we enjoy and look forward to. We love the look on our loved one’s faces when giving them the PERFECT gift. For others, we loathe shopping, let alone HOLIDAY shopping. We can think of plenty of other things we would rather be doing...like maybe even shoveling the driveway of snow.
What if I told you, the opposite could happen. You wallets could stay relatively the same size and you waistlines...well, that’s up to you.
As a supersaver and some would say minimalist, I know some of the ins and outs of buying in store and online. I know how to save and can teach you how to so that finances don’t become a huge burden and so you can continue putting money toward your savings account. So here’s my tips:
Stop buying useless crap.
Seriously though. Do you really knew that the 5th mixing bowl just because it’s on sale and has a cute little reindeer on it? If you hesitated answering that, let me answer for you: No, you do not. Stop going through the dollar bins at Target and stop convincing yourself that you need two of those little mini pillows that are in those bins because they would look cute in the dog’s bed. And no, you don’t need that reindeer and elf headband to wear to your Christmas work party because you’ll probably chicken out and not even wear it anyway. We buy things just to buy them--to fulfill a temporary need that feels good in-the-moment and makes us regret our choices later.
Make a List. Check It Twice.
Since you haven’t gotten to the next bullet point yet, I want to encourage you to make a list before you go to the store with the ESSENTIALS. Don’t put: gift for Tom on your list. Be specific with what you are getting him so you aren’t tempted to glance around Target a second more than you need to. I know, I know. You don’t know what you are getting him yet. I encourage you to look online first to find Tom’s perfect gift and then get it at the store when you go if you have to.
Don’t buy anything that’s not on your list. I often think, “OH, I forgot to put “insert useless crap”here on the list. Sorry, honey. Not buying it. Stick to the list, and for goodness sake make sure you BRING the list with you. How many times have we forgotten to bring the list with it and then say “Screw it” and have a free-for-all in Target. Two hundred dollars later...I’m guilty.
Shopping online may seem like something that takes more time and is more annoying. Could be true on both, however, I guarantee it will save you money SIMPLY because there are no dollar bins and pretty displays of things you do not need. Still stick with a list. Know what you are searching for before you go online to shop--or even if you’re “just looking”. What’s great about shopping online are the cashback sites. I have a plug-in on my computer that’s called a “SwagButton”. The swagbutton tells me when I log onto a site how much percentage of cashback I can activate and how many swagbucks I get for shopping on that site. It ranges from 2%-10%, but either way, you are getting cashback on things you are already buying and get nice little checks sent to you. Trust me, it works.
Okay, this may be my favorite. Not only do you get cash back when accessing the site (you can even have a cash-back app for shopping on your phone like swagbucks), but with IBotta, you add items that you are going to purchase at the store and then scan your receipt when you are done. I’ve gotten close to $100 back in a check by doing this over the holidays.
The other day, I filled my prescriptions at CVS in Target, spending $34. I got a $25 coupon for Target with that. I bought online paper towels, toilet paper, and detergent totaling $32 and used my Target RedCard getting 5% off. When I bought those 3 items, I got a $10 Target gift card and I ordered this all online so it would go toward my cashback and picked up the items at Customer Service. When I bought the household items, I used my $25 coupon, making my total around $7 for those 3 bulk items. They then gave me a $10 bill back for my coupon/gift card since I picked up the items. So, Target paid me $3 bucks in the store and I had 2% cashback from that purchase online. I MADE money shopping!
I know that finances are a big stressor for many of my friends, family, for myself, and for my clients. Do yourself a favor and shop smart this holiday season. Remember that you don’t need to buy the fanciest or most expensive gifts to win over the love of your loved ones because they already love you. And when you do shop, use any of these tips to help you save a few bucks and maybe even make a few.