Unless you complete your holiday shopping before Halloween, you might be enticed by Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. These tips may help you save time and money.
Create a budget. Before you start shopping, establish an overall budget. Make a list of gifts you will need to buy and decide exactly how much you can afford to spend on each person.
Beat the crowds. If you shop early in the season, items are more likely to be in stock and you may face fewer shipping delays. Sales often start well before Black Friday, so keep an eye out for special promotions at least a week or two ahead. Signing up for online or social media deal alerts can help.
Research pricing. Knowing whether a deal is truly good can be tricky, but many websites and phone apps are available that can help you compare items and prices as you shop.
Set up accounts. To complete purchases quickly, consider saving your information and shipping addresses on trusted online accounts with your favorite retailers. Make it a habit to search for promotional and coupon codes that you can use at checkout. Review shipping costs, too, to avoid paying more than you expect.
Track purchases. To help you stick with your budget, keep track of what you spend. If you’re shopping with credit, try using one card for everything so you can quickly review your spending. A rewards card may give you cash back, points, or miles that you can redeem in the future, but watch out for high interest rates if you can’t pay off the balance in full.
Use cash. Consider using a debit card or cash for in-store purchases. Carrying only a predetermined amount of money in your wallet may help you avoid overspending.
Pay attention to the fine print. Retailers may have special policies in place for the holiday season. Knowing the time limits for exchanges or returns is especially important when you’re shopping early. Ask for gift receipts and keep your own copies.
Watch out for exclusions. Promotional prices might be limited to certain items and may expire quickly, so understand the details.
Look for price guarantees. If you buy an item that later goes on sale, some retailers will refund the difference within certain time limits. Retailers may also match a competitor’s price on an identical item (you may need to provide proof of the purchase).