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10 Ways to Maximize Sales and Stretch Your Dollar This Holiday Season

Christmas carols are playing on the radio, decorated trees and presents line window displays—the holiday season is quickly approaching. If you’re stressed about all the holiday shopping you have left to do, you’re not alone.

Between finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list and fighting crowds at the mall, holiday shopping isn’t always a pleasant activity. But doing some of your shopping before the holidays are in full swing could help alleviate some of the shopping-related stress and can be financially advantageous. With all the hustle and bustle around the holidays, staying ahead of your shopping can be difficult.

Doing the bulk of your holiday shopping online could end up saving you a little bit of money, especially when you’re taking advantage of Black Friday sales or other holiday deals. Here are 10 helpful tips so you can get ahead on your holiday shopping and make the most of your money.

1. Set a Realistic Budget

It’s never a bad idea to set some spending limits. But when it comes to holiday shopping, maybe you’ve never thought about setting a budget. Gifts for friends, family, and even coworkers can really add up, so it’s smart to set a game plan before the holiday season gets underway. Setting a realistic budget for what you want (and can afford) to spend on gifts can help you avoid over spending.

2. Start Saving Early

Once you’ve set your target for holiday spending, take the time to assess your income and determine how much money you’re able to save each month to reach that goal. The earlier you start saving, the better. No matter what timeline works best for you, setting even a small part of your paycheck aside can make funding the holiday season easier.

3. Prioritize Your Gift List

Once you’ve set your budget, you’ll need to prioritize the gifts on your list. This means two things—allotting enough money to the most important gifts and finding the gifts you’re after at the right price. Organize your shopping list and gift ideas so that you keep track of where you can get the best deal on certain gifts.

4. Do Your Research

If there is a big-ticket item on your gift list—do your research so you can understand what that item normally costs. Having a baseline for pricing will make it easier to know when you’ve found a good deal and prevent you from getting ripped off by a misleading SALE sign.

5. Take Advantage of Black Friday Sales

Paying attention to holiday sales, especially Black Friday sales, can make Christmas shopping more economical. If you don’t want to fight the Black Friday crowds at the mall, there are plenty of sales online.

So much holiday shopping is done online that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have practically merged into one giant weekend of amazing sales. If you do decide to hit the stores on Black Friday, prioritize which deals are most important to find in-store and get an early start.

6. Do a Price Comparison

Another helpful tool to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck is a price comparison app. There are several apps out there like ScanLife or RedLaser .

If you come across a perfect gift in a brick and mortar store, you can scan the barcode using one of these apps to see if there may be a better deal online. If you don’t see yourself utilizing an app like this, even just a simple search online can save you some money.

7. Buy Discounted Gift Cards

If one of the items on your list is a gift card for a friend or coworker—try buying one at a discount. You can often find gift cards for retailers and restaurants online at a discounted rate. Sites like Cardpool or Gift Card Granny aggregate some of the best deals on gift cards, so you can stretch your money.

8. Take Advantage of Free Shipping

If you’re Christmas shopping online, don’t forget to factor in the cost of shipping and handling. One of the best ways to save a little money is to shop at sites that offer free shipping.

While some retailers offer free shipping year-round, more and more retailers offer holiday shipping specials, where you can get free ground or two-day shipping, depending on the retailer. Wherever possible, taking advantage of free shipping is a smart way to cut your expenses on holiday shopping.

9. Find Experiential Gifts

Christmas shopping online does not have to be exclusive to ordering material gifts—you can also find some amazing deals on experiences online.

Experiential gifts could be anything from a flight or vacation, to a gift card for a nice dinner or a massage. Sites like Groupon often have deals for fun activities, like wine & paint nights, concerts, or exercise classes.

10. Use (Reputable) Cash Back Shopping Sites

Another way to save a little cash while shopping this holiday season—take advantage of cash back websites. This way, you can get a little bit of money back on all of your spending. Sites like Ebates or Mr. Rebates offer cashback for shopping at a variety of retailers. While getting 5% back may not sound like much, it could add up to a substantial amount.

Simplify Your Money

Use these tips to set yourself up for a successful holiday shopping experience. While the holidays can be financially taxing, planning for them can be a huge help. If you’re looking for a way to simplify your shopping even further, consider opening SoFi’s new checking and savings account—SoFi Checking and Savings®.

With SoFi Checking and Savings®, you can save, spend, and earn—all in the same place. There are no account fees (subject to change) and all ATM fees are reimbursed, even internationally.

Learn more about how SoFi Checking and Savings® to help you stay on track this holiday season.

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External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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