According to the National Retail Federation, the average American will spend roughly $805.65 on gifts, food, and decorations this holiday season. Even if the U.S. economy continues to face challenges, many shoppers are still looking forward to celebrating the upcoming holidays with family and friends.
“We expect consumers will tackle their holiday shopping lists with a healthy dose of optimism, tempered by a hint of caution as they look for ways to find the perfect gift,” says Matthew Shay, NFR President and CEO.
With that said, you can still buy the best gifts without being a cheapskate. Christmas remains as the happiest time of the year. But for some people, they get carried away with spending more than they can afford.
To avoid this, here are nine practical tips you can follow so you won’t end up paying huge bills after the holidays are over.
1. Make a list and set a budget. Writing a list of people you need to buy gifts for will help you calculate how much in total you will be spending. Sensible customers would only shop for family and a few select friends. You may also want to set a price limit for each gift.
2. Do your homework. The most efficient way to save time and money is to do research online. Savvy customers do most of their shopping activities online. Searching for items online is better than doing your regular window shopping. You can also know how much an item is going to cost and compare prices.
3. Shop online. Nearly 46.1% of consumers will do their browsing and shopping online, according to a survey conducted by the NFR. This is not surprising since shopping online has many advantages. You can save time and use coupon codes to grab big discounts.
4. Always haggle. Whether you are shopping in-store or online, you can still negotiate for a better deal. The trick is to spend enough time to check out all the best deals that are out there, then ask for a discount or some freebies from the retailer.
5. Start early. About 48% of customers do their shopping early because they want to avoid the large crowds and the stress of buying gifts at the last minute. In fact, when you start shopping early, there is a good chance you will save more as many retailers have early sale events.
6. Buy in bulk. Most retailers offer huge savings when you buy two or more of the same items. This is an excellent way to save money, especially if you are planning to host a Christmas or New Year party at home with family and friends.
7. Get free delivery. The NFR’s survey reveals that nine out of ten retailers will provide free shipping to entice more customers. So it is best that you always keep an eye out for free delivery.
8. Check store policies. Online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon want customers to have a pleasant shopping experience. That is why eBay offers a money back guarantee and Amazon has a reasonable return policy. You actually have more consumer protection when you shop online than in-store as many brick-and-mortar shops do not provide such assurances.
9. Make apps help you. Save a lot of time and gas money by downloading these free shopping and deals apps on your smartphone. Try using Amazon Price Check, Google Shopper, ShopStyle, and many similar apps that can help you find the best deals, organize your shopping lists, and search for items on sale.
I would love to know what’s on your shopping list. What gifts are you planning to buy for family and friends? Where do you plan to shop? How much money do you intend to spend this year? Sound off in the comment section below. Happy shopping!
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