Hey, it’s Green Monday! That means ’tis the season for giving and it’s easy to get spend-happy with your holiday shopping. While the holidays are a “fa-la-la” time of bringing good cheer, no one wants to ring in holiday debt. Check out these surprising stats from our recent gift giving survey: Almost half of respondents (44%) said they never set a holiday shopping budget. And 23% of people who do set a budget said they bust their budget by $100 to $500! With the heavyweight days of online shopping now upon us, including Green Monday (aka the third biggest online shopping day of the year), it’s time to get serious about your wallet. That’s why we researched 10 Green Monday money saving tips that will actually help guide all of your holiday shopping, so you can check off everyone on your list without a big drain to checking account.
Make a list.
When you grocery shop without a grocery list (or even worse, hungry!), it’s a given that you’ll fill your cart with extra junk that you don’t need. The same idea holds true with holiday shopping, so do yourself a favor and make a list to stay focused when you’re shopping. Add in details to your list, like the max amount you’re ok with spending on each person.
Set up roadblocks.
It’s easier to save money when you make it harder for yourself to shop. Opt out of saving your credit card information on websites, so you’re forced to input your info each time you shop online (such a pain, so it works!). Or make a pact to pay cash, so you’re limited by what’s in your bank account.
Scroll through discount codes.
Discount codes are everywhere and add up to big-time savings. Be sure to peek through your inbox for emailed coupon codes from chain stores and indie retailers alike.
Request a wish list.
Make it easy on yourself and ask your loved ones what they’d like for Christmas. Shopping from a wish list means you know you’re getting the perfect gift, and you can research the best deals. It’s not cheating as long as their wish list has more than one thing on it.
Make a budget, and check it twice.
Before you even think about buying a gift, figure out exactly what you can afford to spend on holiday gifts. Then, keep track of how much you’re spending with a budget-tracking app like Holiday Gift List, or a small notebook stashed in your bag.
Take advantage of Free Shipping Day.
Mark your calendar to shop on Free Shipping Day, which falls on December 18th this year. More than 1,000 participating online retailers offer free shipping on this day with delivery by Christmas Eve. What a score for last-minute procrastinators, er, shoppers!
There’s an app for that.
Money-saving apps like RetailMeNot help you find coupons and discount codes to thousands of retailers that can be scanned straight from your phone. It’s the modern way to clip coupons.
Look into price protections on credit cards.
Depending on your credit card issuer, you may have price protection if prices drop within a window of time (often 60 days) from your purchase. That means you could get some money back! Look into the terms of your credit card, since you could be eligible for a rewarding refund.
Wrap with what you’ve got.
After you’ve found an affordable gift, you don’t want to bust your budget on gift-wrap — and those pretty papers, ribbons, tags, and bows can add up! Think out-of-the-box when it comes to gift-wrap. Get kids involved and have them paint or draw on white paper (even sheets of computer paper work for small gifts) to DIY unique and pretty gift-wrap. Or go the natural route with a roll of Kraft brown paper, baker’s twine, and sprigs of evergreen. Skip wrapping oversized gifts, and instead, print out a picture of the gift and send your loved one on a scavenger hunt for the real deal.
Schedule some gift exchanges after December 25th.
Some years, there are just too many people to see before Christmas rolls around. If you gift exchange with a few people after the holidays, you can wait on buying those gifts — and cash in on the post-Christmas sales!
Looking to save a few more bucks while you shop? Check out these holiday gifts that cost just $25 or less.