Manager of Zion’s Bank Women’s Financial Group. Cece Mitchell, shares five ways to save money this holiday season.
1. Make a List, Check it Twice
You’ve heard me say it before but now, more than ever, planning how you spend can make you or break you this season. You’ve got to determine how much you can realistically afford to spend on gifts.
Make your gift list and stick to it. Zions Bank has a new Web tool, free to the public, to help you make a list and stick to a budget. You can find the website at myholidaygiftplanner.com. The site allows you to save and edit whenever you like and has space for notes, website addresses, and delivery confirmation numbers. With your overall budget in mind, make a list of people (and charities) you want to buy for, what you want to buy for them and the amount you want to spend for each person.
2. Shop Black Friday Sales the Smart Way
You should take advantage of the Black Friday sales. You can save a lot of money by getting up early the Friday after Thanksgiving. But be smart about it by looking for coupons and newspaper inserts to determine the best deals. Then, plan your trip to several stores strategically. That way, you won’t waste too much in gas money driving around that day.
3. Use Credit Card Rewards
You may be able to turn your frequent-flier miles or other points into decent gifts. If you’re not going to use your rewards for travel, you may get the best deals by selecting gift cards or certificates, and using those to buy merchandise from major retailers either in their stores or online.
4. Find Free Shipping Online
It’s competitive out there. That’s why lots of companies offer free online shipping. You can even type “free online shipping” into Google to find specific Web deals. This can be especially useful for those on your gift list who live far away. But be careful, often sites have minimum purchase requirements, so don’t overspend on a gift or get sucked into buying an annual membership just to get the free shipping. Be sure to read the fine print.
5. Use Store Credits and Gift Cards
If you’re like me, you have a few gift cards from your birthday floating around with some money still on them. This is “free money” to reduce the amount you would otherwise spend on holiday gifts. Many gift cards lose value or expire over time, so it’s wise to use them promptly. This is also a good way to use up gift certificates for stores at which you might not otherwise shop.