It’s that time of year again—Black Friday and Cyber Monday are upon us and every retailer is gearing up to offer their best deals. It’s also a time many of us (myself included) get overwhelmed by how much information is out there, but with a little prior planning, we can all score the best deals with minimal stress. Below I’m sharing my top tips to set yourself up for holiday shopping success and I’ll be breaking down each one throughout this post.
5 Top Tips to Get the Best Deals and Stay Organized While Holiday Shopping
- Set a Budget
- Make Gift & Wish Lists
- Check for Credit/Store Card Incentives
- Sign Up for Mailing Lists
- Research Early
Pictured: Williams Sonoma Mug
Set a Budget
Think about how much total money you have to spend during the holidays and then consider how many people you plan on buying gifts for; this will make it a lot easier to narrow down how much you can afford for each gift. I think a lot of retailers want us to get in the mindset of ‘Tis the season to spend’ but in the end, the last thing you want to be stuck with is a credit card bill you can’t pay off (you’ll spend even more as interest adds up!)
** Pro tip: The next time you’re online shopping, try searching items within a price range. Many websites allow you to do this by clicking a dropdown menu at the top right of the page and choosing how you’d like to sort items (high to low, low to high, etc.) I use this handy feature a lot for my own shopping!
Make Gift & Wish Lists
It’s always a good idea to make note of gift ideas for everyone on your shopping list so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute to come up something to give them. I actually do this all year round: if I think of something, I’ll make a note in my phone. Otherwise, I’m bound to forget when it’s actually time to start my holiday shopping. Additionally, I always keep wish lists going on my favorite websites including things I have an eye on for myself and gifts for others. Then if they happen to go on sale, I’ll know and can grab them before they sell out. That said, the key is to make sure you check your wish lists regularly.
** Pro tip: Keep gift lists in the notes section of your phone; that way if you leave your handwritten list at home, it won’t matter. Plus, you can ‘jot’ down a gift idea the second you think of it since you’re more likely to have your phone with you.
Check for Credit/Store Card Incentives
Before you start shopping, make sure to check with your credit card company and find out what incentives they offer (i.e. points per dollar, airline miles, etc.). If you don’t want to sign up for a credit card but there’s a particular store you shop at all the time, ask if they offer a store card. Most of the time store cards have little to no strings attached because they’re linked to your bank’s checking account, but you can still earn shopping incentives.
** Pro tip: Did you know many credit card companies offer additional points per dollar by going through their website to shop at other retailers? For example, with our Chase Visa, when we shop online at Walmart.com through Chase’s site, we earn an additional 2 points per dollar—that’s a total of 3 points/dollar versus 1 point/dollar if we didn’t shop through our credit card’s website! It took us a few years to start getting into the habit of shopping through our credit card, but now that we have, the extra points are racking up so much faster. In fact, we’re about to start planning our next vacation with all the points we can use towards airline tickets!
Now that you’ve set a budget, made your lists, and know how to rack up those credit card points, let’s dive into the shopping portion of this post! If you want to know about upcoming sales before everyone else, the first thing to do is make sure you’ve signed up for your favorite retailers’ mailing lists. Most stores are already sending out their Black Friday sale ads, which are very handy for making your shopping game plan (remember that part about sticking to a budget?!)
** Pro tip: It never hurts to keep note of which retailer is offering a great price for something on your list and when you can take advantage. With so many sales going on, it’s easy to see the advertisement once and forget where you saw the best deal.
Pictured: Brahmin Leather Journal
Don’t wait until the last minute to start browsing for gifts. Even if you prefer to shop at a physical store, it’s never a bad idea to do some online research before you head out (some stores will even reserve items for you to come pick up at the store). Check around to see which stores carry what you’re looking for so you have an idea about the prices before you shop.
** Pro tip: I do most of my shopping online and always do a Google search of my favorite items to see which retailers have what I’m looking for in stock at the best price. Many companies will price match with their competitors, so never hesitate to ask if they’ll honor a lower price you saw somewhere else. Usually they’ll do whatever it takes to make the sale! Nordstrom and Zappos both have fantastic customer service when it comes to this.
Thanks for sticking with me through this lengthy post and I hope you found it helpful! Don’t forget to check back here for my massive Black Friday sale roundup that will be going live bright and early on 11/24! Happy shopping!
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