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Tips For Saving Money On Holiday Shopping With Smart Spending

The holiday season, it’s a time of joy, celebration, and unfortunately for many, a time of high expenses. But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be that way? That’s right, it’s possible to keep your wallet happy while still making the most of your holiday shopping.

In this article, I’ll share my top tips on how to save money during the holiday shopping frenzy. From smart budgeting to savvy shopping strategies, I’ll guide you through the best ways to stretch your dollar. So, get ready to deck the halls without breaking the bank. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Understanding the Costs of Holiday Shopping

Understanding the Costs of Holiday Shopping

In order to save, one must first understand the expenditures. Knowing the trends and missteps associated with holiday shopping, aids in crafting a sound and effective saving plan.

The Spending Trends

Holiday shopping trends, they change year by year. Data from the National Retail Federation in 2019 indicated an average spending of $1,048 on gifts, decorations, and other holiday-related items by consumers. From this amount, $659 was allocated to gifts for family, friends, and co-workers, $227 was for food, decorations, and greeting cards, and the remainder was spent on other non-gift purchases.

Average Spending Categories Amount ($)
Gifts 659
Food, Decorations, and Cards 227
Other non-gift expenditures 162

The sizable chunk of holiday expenditure goes to gift-giving, followed by the costs of holiday celebrations. Identifying what category takes the majority of your holiday spending, makes it easier to target where to reduce your costs.

Common Financial Mistakes

In the frenzy of holiday shopping, it’s quite easy to tumble into certain financial pitfalls. Here, we pinpoint a few of the common financial mistakes made during holiday shopping.

  1. Succumbing to Sales: Sales are tempting, and retailers know it. It’s essential to avoid purchasing items simply because they’re on sale. If you hadn’t planned to buy it at full price, don’t fall into the trap of acquiring it just because it’s discounted.
  2. Ignoring a Budget: A budget is pivotal in keeping track of expenses. By neglecting to set or follow a budget, you are likely to overspend, leaving you with a financial hangover post-holidays.
  3. Last-Minute Shopping: A rushed purchase often results in overspending. Starting your holiday shopping late in the season forces you to pay premium prices for items that could have been acquired cheaper earlier.

Recognizing these missteps is the first step to preventing them. Being aware of your spending habits and keeping tabs on common financial mistakes, provides the knowledge needed to make informed shopping decisions during the holiday season.

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Setting a Holiday Shopping Budget

Setting a Holiday Shopping Budget

Cementing your financial decisions for the holiday season starts with creating a precise shopping budget. By assigning monetary limits, you’re proactively controlling your spending.

Importance of a Budget

Establishing a budget for holiday shopping isn’t simply a cherished tradition, but a financial imperative. It serves as a navigation tool, steering away from hasty purchases and unruly spending. A well-defined budget brings into perspective the amount to allocate for each shopping category, such as gifts, food, and decoration. More importantly, it’s a shining beacon, warding off financial mistakes often made during holiday shopping such as succumbing to sales and making last-minute purchases.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average consumer spent around $1,000 during the holiday season in 2019. Without a smart spending plan, it’s easy to exceed this amount and strain your fiscal health.

Tips for Sticking to Your Budget

Forging a holiday shopping budget isn’t the end of your fiscal journey; it’s equally pivotal to cling to this budget. Here are some proven strategies:

  1. Draft a Shopping List: Identify the items you plan to buy. This could range from gifts for your loved ones, festive food ingredients, to sparkling decorations.
  2. Analyze Expenses: Revise past spending records during the holiday season. This provides a realistic view of what to expect and builds a grounded budget.
  3. Prioritize Spending: Categorize each expense as a ‘need’ or ‘want’. Allocate funds primarily to the essentials while ensuring a small amount left for splurging to maintain a balance.
  4. Track Spending: Monitor your purchases and expenditures. It’s easy to lose sight of cumulative expenses during the hustle and bustle of shopping.
  5. Limit Credit Usage: Credit cards may often lead to overindulgence. Try using cash or debit for purchases when possible.

So, roll up your sleeves, and let’s start building that holiday shopping budget! Remember, a budget isn’t about depriving yourself but about making wise decisions to invest in a financially secure future.

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Timing Your Shopping

Timing Your Shopping

We’ll be exploring optimal times for holiday shopping and how to make the most of sales and discounts.

Best Times to Buy

Early morning hours and weekdays often prove to be favorable times for holiday shopping. These periods tend to have fewer shoppers, so retail staff might be more attentive to any queries. Off-peak hours also offer more breathing room to compare prices and make thoughtful purchasing decisions.

Holiday season shopping follows an interesting pattern; for instance, toys get a price dip during the first two weeks of December. Similarly, you’ll see discounts on home goods and tools in the first half of November.

Late shoppers can capitalize on certain price drops too. Retailers drop prices on apparel, jewelry, and electronics significantly after Christmas. Now, these pieces of information aren’t random, but come from years of data-driven insights by companies like Adobe and the National Retail Federation.

Can’t take out time during the week? Try to shop as soon as stores open on weekends. This strategy aligns with the early-morning hours recommendation, giving you less crowded shopping environments.

Leveraging Sales and Discounts

A key strategy is to stretch your budget by taking advantage of sales, discounts, and promo codes. Historical data highlights that Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday provide the deepest discounts. Electronics, video games, and winter clothing tend to have the most significant price drops during these sales.

Be sure to sign up for email newsletters and follow your favorite retailers on social media. These channels often broadcast exclusive deals and early alerts for upcoming sales.

Rebates offer another money-saving opportunity. Don’t overlook these. Despite requiring additional steps, they can offer substantial savings. Companies like Ebates and Swagbucks provide online and in-store cash back offers—a nifty way to recover some part of your shopping expense.

It’s worth checking if your credit card company runs a reward or cash back program. Hit two birds with one stone: purchase items and earn points or cash back simultaneously.

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Smart Shopping Strategies

Smart Shopping Strategies

Continuing from where we left off, let’s delve deeper into two intelligent shopping strategies on your journey of practical money-saving during the holiday season.

Online vs. In-Store Shopping

Exploiting the advantages of both online and in-store shopping can lead to substantial savings. Comparing prices across platforms ensures you snag the best deal available. For instance, on a product page, an online site displays the product’s price, its features, and customer reviews. This information proves indispensable when deciding on a purchase.

Meanwhile, physical stores offer instant gratification; you get the product immediately. Besides, the ability to touch, feel, and even try products before buying reduces the likelihood of returns. As a check against impulse purchases online, consider adding items of interest to the cart then wait. Often, e-retailers send reminder emails with discounts to nudge potential buyers.

Using Cashback and Reward Programs

Make the most of cashback and reward programs. A number of credit card companies, for example, offer lucrative cashback rewards on purchase categories often changing every quarter.

Use a list to keep track of the current bonus categories. If you pair these bonuses with savings from sales and discounts, you’ll get more bang for your buck. Similarly, numerous online retailers and payment services have reward programs. They accrue reward points for purchases that convert into cash, vouchers, or discounts for future orders.

Joining store loyalty programs can provide exclusive discounts and early access to sales. Remember to evaluate the benefit to burden ratio, though. Is it worth spending an extra $10 to get free shipping? Probably not. Saving money isn’t just about reducing expenditure, but spending wisely. Harness cashback and reward programs, not to justify unnecessary purchases, but rather to gain genuine saved items on phone you planned to buy anyway.


So there you have it. With a bit of planning and smart strategies, you can save big on your holiday shopping. Remember, it’s all about setting a realistic budget and sticking to it. Don’t let the holiday rush push you into impulsive purchases. Take advantage of sales, discounts, reward programs, and price drops. But remember, it’s not just about finding the best deal, it’s also about making wise decisions. Don’t just buy because it’s a bargain, make sure it’s something you really need or want. And most importantly, enjoy the process. After all, holiday shopping should be fun, not stressful. It’s a time for giving and sharing, not overspending and regretting. So shop smart, save money, and enjoy the holiday season without breaking the bank.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you save money during holiday shopping?

Begin by setting a budget and creating a shopping list. Analyze your expenses, limit your credit usage, and try to leverage sales and discounts during key shopping periods. Subscribing to newsletters and checking rebates can also maximize savings.

What is the optimal time for holiday shopping?

Optimal shopping times are usually early mornings and weekdays, when there are fewer crowds and you can get better attention from the sales staff. Also, look for specific times when prices drop for items like toys, home goods, and electronics.

How can I maximize discounts on key shopping periods?

Key shopping periods such as Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday often offer significant sales and discounts. Take advantage of these by signing up for store newsletters, which will keep you updated on these special deals.

How can rewards from credit card companies help save money?

Using a credit card that offers a rewards program can be a smart way to save. Many programs offer points or cash back on purchases, which gives further discounts or rebates on your shopping.

Do online and in-store shopping have different advantages?

Yes, there are differences. In-store shopping allows for immediate possession and personal inspection of items, while online shopping offers ease and convenience. Both in-store and online shopping can provide opportunities for savings, whether through physical store promotions or online cashback programs.

Author Profile

Kathy Hardtke
Kathy Hardtke
I am thrilled to have been invited to blog about my experiences trading stock and options with Rich Dad.  Since 1998, when I picked up my first Rich Dad book “Rich Dad Poor Dad”, I have been hooked on Robert and Kim’s philosophies on becoming financially free through investing.  Their books and courses have changed my life as well as my daughter’s life, whom I am now teaching all I have learned about trading stock and options.

My experience has been in the real estate and finance industry for 20 years.  I was a Realtor with ERA, a Mortgage Loan Officer with Bank of America, and a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley.  Each time I chose a career that I thought I would get “the inside track” on investing and each time I learned it was just a “job”, although very good job and I was lucky enough to enjoy my career.  Simply put, these jobs would only get me a paycheck but never take me to financial freedom and the dreams and lifestyle I was looking to achieve.

With that said, I have no desire to make millions to have expensive “things” but I do have a dream to not only become financially free for myself and my family but also for others.  I started an organization called GROW Africa to help others.  We build wells in the farthest reaches of the earth in the bush of Zambia.  The women and children have to walk up to 4 hours each way to carry as much water as they can carry back.  I thought that was such a basic human need, that I felt I needed to do something about it, and did.

What is super cool about the training I received through Rich Dad Education on trading stocks and options is, now that I am educated on the Rich Dad stock trading system, I can trade anywhere in the world, including while I am in remote Africa building wells, providing water for those with little or none, as long as I have a power source and a satellite internet card.  Now that is freedom!

I am looking forward to sharing my experiences about trading stocks and options and walking with you on the path to financial freedom.  This is a process of building your wealth consistently over time, then passing it on to your children creating generational wealth.  I wish you all success and can’t wait to hear some of your stories of success as time ticks on!

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