Tips for Shopping Online and Staying within Your Budget this Holiday Season
- Gift yourself with a game plan. Sounds more fun than "set a budget" right? Before you start shopping, come up with a ballpark figure of what you want to spend. Visualize how happy you'll be in January once you've followed through with your plan!
- Start shopping yesterday. Traditionally, the deals get better as the holidays grow closer, but things are different this year: Retailers are carrying less inventory, so you might be better off shopping early for those hot products (toys especially). I'm actually looking forward to getting all my holiday shopping done ahead of time for once!
- Never shop without a coupon. Check out sites like RetailMeNot.com, which I've mentioned in the past as one of the best sites to get reliable coupon codes. They've even set up Black Friday and CyberMonday deal pages with countdown clocks to those two huge shopping days.
- Try "stacking" coupon codes. Some online stores like Victoria's Secret actually let you enter more than one coupon code to get additional discounts, free shipping or free gifts.
- Comparison shop online even if you plan to buy in store. Online price comparison engines like BeatMyPrice.com make it easy to guarantee you are getting the best deal available.
- Be sure to scan for sale and return policies to make sure you can get a refund of the difference if the price drops after you have made your purchase. Take advantage of price protection services like PriceProtectr.com to keep track of your purchases so you'll know when you may be able to get a price adjustment.
Have you started your holiday shopping yet? What's your strategy?