I get asked every year how I get so many gifts within the set limits for my family and friends. I am almost always accused of overspending, but I take on gift purchasing with the same conviction that I would completing a project for work. This case just means that I work hard to find the best holiday gift prices. I will tell you right now I did not accumulate 100+ pairs of shoes by paying full price (yes, I needed all of them).
This post is not about stock piling groceries you don’t need to get free food by working the convenience store system. We will leave that to the extreme couponers. This is about finding items you need for your loved ones for the best price.
The key to any successful gift giving campaign is to research all of the online and physical stores that have the product you want. I’m not going to lie this takes time and dedication, but in the end very worth it.
Sign up for Coupons and Email Promotions
Sign up for email promotions from stores your friends and family members like so that you can be notified first when your item goes on sale. I start bookmarking items in late October/early November and check for pricing trends to make sure I get the best price. My husband likes Under Armor brand shirts so I will sign up for coupons from Dick’s or Academy that carry that brand.
Retail Me Not is your friend
I will not place an order online without checking Retail Me Not. 9 times out of 10 you will be able to find a coupon that you can add to your online order. You can also check Dealigg and Brad’s Deals, but Retail Me Not seems to be the most comprehensive list of online coupons.
Shop With a Purpose
I am a big Black Friday shopper, but I always review all of the ads prior to a shopping excursion and make wishlists that I can bring up on my phone while in the store. This is a good rule of thumb any time you are Christmas shopping (not just on Black Friday) to ensure you don’t forget someone on your list or miss a deal.
Be Careful with Cyber Deals and Cyber Monday Week
Several articles have been published in the last year stating that the sales are not necessarily that much better on Cyber Monday than they are online any other given time. If you do see a specific deal that is amazing, you will have to act early to make sure you get the product while it is in stock.
Always do the Math
On sites that allow multiple coupons like Shutterfly make sure you calculate the order with each promotion if they cannot be used together. Sometimes a 25% off regular priced items coupon will end up being more expensive than a 20% off the entire purchase.
You should ALWAYS get free shipping (in the continental US). If you are not getting free shipping, look for alternative stores that carry the same product. There are exceptions like Evasive Motosports for specific car modification kits, but for most inexpensive, highly desirable gifts free shipping should be standard.
Don’t be Ashamed of Coupons
I have saved coupons all month to use on one or two products making them almost free (no one has to know). Also look for promotions where you get free gift cards or rewards certificates later in the month like Victoria’s Secret Reward Cards, Kohl’s Cash and Target promotional Gift Cards.
If you don’t want to buy anything for your family and just get away on vacation for the holidays, you can use the same rules to get a great vacation and flight deal. You just research the travel sites (Orbitz, Expedia, etc.) and find the lowest priced hotel. Southwest offers discounts and promotions through their Southwest Vacations program as well. The most important trick here is math. Make sure you add up all the extra fees to ensure you are getting the best price.
Happy shopping and have a wonderful holiday!