Holiday traditions are like snowflakes. No two are exactly alike. Except one and that being holiday gift shopping.
There's lots of options to avoid the malls and big box stores, but for some seeing those sparkling lights and fancypants displays at the mall is a tradition in itself. But don't get too distracted as you can still save a lot of money while oogling those displays. Here's my favorite tips and tricks for pinching your pennies at the mall.
1) Shop at outlet stores. This tip may be the most obvious as outlet stores are nothing but great deals. Make a day out of it and shop an outlet mall to maximize your savings and save on gas. Just be sure the stores are easily accessible in case items need to be returned.
2) Sign up for store savings. With social media all around us stores are taking advantage to offer you some sweet savings. Be sure to sign up for your favorite store's email list as well as check out and like their facebook page. Shops like Old Navy, Kohls and Boston Store are notorious for sending out store coupons via both avenues. If you're shopping at a particular mall check out their mailing list as well as they may have some secret savings to send you.
3) Go unconventional. A great place to find fun stocking stuffers is office supply stores. Join their store savings club and you can usually get free items. For example, Office Depot has a program called "Worklife Rewards" where they offer 100% rebates back on your card for particular items each week. That rebate is turned into store credit to use later on items you need. Also check out drug stores for everything from electronics to home decor. It's those little nooks and crannies where you can uncover some great deals.
4) Take advantage of layaway. In recent years stores have brought back the vintage notion of layaway. Shop now for all the items on your list, put it on layaway and pay a little each week. This is the perfect way to budget your holiday spending easily, just sure to pay attention to the rules as each store has a different set that may include service fees and minimum payment amounts. Kmart, Walmart, Sears and ToysRus are a few stores that offer great layaway programs this year. In most cases you can make payments online and you can lock in low sale prices.
5) Keep your eyes peeled. Prices will fluctuate all throughout the holiday season. Make sure the store you've shopped from offers a refund if prices fall after you've made your purchase. Many stores will give you the difference if the price goes down within a certain time frame. Be on the lookout and you could score some unexpected dough to put towards another gift...or a little something for yourself to reward your thriftiness!
I hope these tips will help you navigate the stores this season while assuring your bank account will still be your friend after the holidays are though. Just remember, time is money so take an extra minute to assure you're getting deal your bottom line deserves.
Happy shopping and happy holidays!