Ready or not, the holidays are here

little girl peeking out from inside a Christmas gift

This time of year reminds me of playing hide-n-seek. You know, the part that says, “Ready or not, here I come!!” And you are terrified and thrilled all at the same time. You knew this time was coming. Just like you knew that you would eventually be found and have to run for your life, the holidays sometimes have the same kind of terrifying yet exhilarating excitement about them. I know they are coming… EVERY SINGLE YEAR yet some how they tend to sneak up on me and then I am scrambling to find the right gift for everyone. It’s like when I was 10, looking for the perfect hiding spot when the seeker would say, “Ready or not, here I come” and I would just dive behind the first thing I saw. This year, don’t let your holiday shopping be like that. Have a plan and a budget, then stick to it.

Between inflated prices, the rising cost of gas and the urge to splurge, it can be tough to stick to your budget. Here are eight holiday shopping hacks to help keep your spending under control:

  1. Make a list and check it twice. When you shop with a list in hand, and you’re careful to stick to it, you can make responsible shopping decisions instead of buying every shiny thing that catches your eye.
  2. Compare prices. All it takes is a few quick clicks or taps to check if the item you want is available somewhere else, and for less. You can also use a price-checking app, like ShopSavvy, to make the search for the hottest deal.
  3. Don’t shop alone. Grab a friend to help keep you on track as you shop. Share your budget with them, or let them know which gifts you’ll be looking for on this trip. Ask them to gently remind you to stay within budget and on-plan as you browse. And more importantly, who wouldn’t rather shop with a friend than braving the crowds alone?
  4. Take advantage of rebates and refunds. Want to get paid to shop? When you make a purchase through a rebate app, like Earny or Rakuten, you get cash back for every purchase you make.
  5. Buy discounted gift cards. You can find discounted gift cards on sites, like Raise and CardCash, for big-name brands like Lowe’s, Starbucks, Amazon and more.
  6. Shop with coupons. Before completing an online purchase, do a quick search of sites, like RetailMeNot, to check for available coupons that can bring down the price. You can also use a browser extension, like Honey, which will automatically find and apply coupons while you shop.
  7. Shop early. This year, with anticipated delivery delays and supply shortages, it’s best to tackle your holiday shopping early. Shopping with a clear head, and when the stores are well stocked, will make it easier to stick to your budget.
  8. Buy electronics on Black Friday. The Black Friday deals you’ll find on TVs, laptops, audio equipment and other electronics will likely be the best you’ll find all year.

Follow the tips outlined above to save big on gift-shopping this year.

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