1. Use Social Media and Technology To Your Advantage!
Do you know that many of your favorite stores have Facebook pages and that if you “LIKE” those pages they will offer you discounts on products they carry? That’s right, the world of finding deals has changed, so sign on to your Facebook page, you probably are there already anyway, and plug in some store names and see what deals you can find. Start with this one for Sears! http://www.facebook.com/sears
Now for all you anti-Twitter people, you’re missing out because there are deals to be found! Follow your favorite stores on Twitter because many of them are offering deals. Also follow @BFAds and @BlackFriday for updates on all your favorite retailers as well!
Now here’s something else you can do to save money… I’m sure many of you have heard that expression, “There’s an app for that!” Doesn’t there seem to be an app for everything these days, well here are some more and these can help you save money this holiday shopping season! The first one is called the ‘Red Laser’ and of course it’s an app by Apple and it’s FREE! The ‘Red Laser’ basically scans items’ barcodes and then searches the web to find you the place where you can get that item for the lowest price. Pretty cool, huh! Another great one for Androids is Barcode Scanner by ZXing Team. The other money saving apps are by eBay and Amazon. eBay’s app is called the ‘eBay App’ (how creative) for iPhone and the ‘eBay App’ for Android. Amazon’s also has an app called the ‘Price Check App.’ Both of these apps use the iPhone or iPod Touch camera to check the price of an item against the price of the same product on the company’s respective websites. Oh yes, comparison shopping has become so futuristic!
2. Buy Your Holiday Decor Close To The Holidays or After The Holidays!
Let’s face it, the closer to the holidays we get, the more desperate retailers are wanting to get rid of their holiday decorations. If you shop for your decor close to the holidays or after the holidays are over (to get stocked up for the following year), then you will find slashed prices or even better, clearance prices!
3. Don’t Send Out Holiday Cards; Send Out E-Greeting Cards Instead!
I love sending out holiday cards too, but trust me when I say that if you skip a year in sending them out, especially in these difficult financial times, your family and friends will understand. If you don’t want to skip it, then E-Greetings are a great alternative to traditional holiday cards. You can get them and send them out for free. Also, don’t you think it would be fun to Elf Yourself? Well if not and if you absolutely have the need to send out those traditional holiday cards via snail mail instead, then wait to buy them in December because that’s when they go on sale, or send out New Years cards instead!
4. Practice Smart Gift Buying and Gift Giving!
A) Start your holiday shopping early, really early, like 6 months early! You’re probably thinking, “Are you crazy?” Well maybe, but in doing this you can buy slowly and not have to worry about spending large sums of money all at once. Also, imagine not having the stress of buying a bunch of gifts during the month of December, while you’re also trying to decorate, give parties, travel or host tons of family at the same time.
B) If you don’t want to shop early and you can tolerate crowded malls and packed parking lots (unlike me), then take advantage of Black Friday. There will always be great deals on this day, so why not take advantage of them if you can handle the crowds.
C) Don’t shop for your friends with children, just buy their children a gift, or better yet, buy one gift that the whole family can enjoy!
D) Don’t buy couples individual gifts, buy them a “couple” gift instead.
E) Big families should consider picking a name out of a hat for gift exchange or consider doing a Secret Santa instead.
F) Shop online! You’d be amazed at the comparison shopping and deals you can find online. Many times you can even go to a store and find a price on an item that is high, but then if you go to that stores’ website, they have that same item at a much lower price!
G) Make a gift! Some people may think this is an old fashion idea, but a homemade gift is usually the most thoughtful one.
5. Scrapping the Expensive Wrapping!
Instead of buying expensive wrapping paper, use recycled wrapping paper instead. Always hold on to left over wrapping paper and gift bags, so that you can use them later. If you don’t have left over holiday wrapping paper, then take any type of wrapping paper you may have, flip it over to the plain side and use that side instead. You or your kids can decorate that side to make it look festive. Also, instead of buying pricey bows, look around your house to see what you already have. You will be surprised by what beautiful items you can find around your home to decorate your gifts with. Or take advantage of what’s outside and see what beautiful decor nature has to offer for your gift or your house (pine cones, leaves, etc). Here’s another idea! Buy inexpensive large reams of packing paper and use that as wrapping paper. You can decorate it yourself or make it a creative art project for your kids to do. You can also use newspapers or magazines to wrap gifts!
6. Grocery Shop With A Purpose!
When you go grocery shopping make sure you have a shopping list. That way you don’t end up shopping for things you don’t need. Also take advantage of coupons, you can find them online at places like www.coupons.com and www.couponmom.com. Also check out local deals from the newspaper or just pick up a free ad flyer from the market. In addition, make sure to take advantage of the deals that the grocery stores may have to offer, they have these especially during the holiday season. Here’s another tip, ditch the name brand snobbery. Don’t be so stuck on name brands because sometimes the store brand item is just as good as the name brand item, but at a much lower price!
7. Entertain In Town, Not Downtown!
During the holidays it’s always great to be able to take in a nice show downtown, but this can be extremely pricey, so here are some alternatives. Take in a holiday show at a local high school, college, or church instead. They are much less in price and the ticket sales go right back to the school and/or church. Sometimes these shows are even free! Here are also some other free entertaining activities you can do with your family. Join a school or church caroling group, or make your own caroling group with your family and friends!
Have a holiday cookie baking party and exchange recipes and cookies at the end of it. You will leave with an assortment of holiday cookies to eat and share. Here’s another favorite thing I love to do for the holidays that’s free…Take your kids for a drive to a nearby neighborhood or town to see holiday lights. It’s a festive activity that will put almost anybody in the holiday spirit!
Follow Michelle Rivera on Twitter @MichelleRivera5
LIKE Mommyhood to Hollywood on Facebook!