I know how much work it is to get the best deals on holiday shopping. Today I am sharing the worst holiday shopping mistakes so that you can avoid them when you’re buying those gifts this year!
9 Worst Holiday Shopping Mistakes
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Mistake #1: Not having a plan
Before you buy anything you should create a basic holiday shopping plan. This will help you stay organized, be efficient, and stay within your budget.
Your simple plan should include:
- A list of who you’re shopping for.
- How much you want to spend on each person.
- Some ideas of what you may want to get for each person on your list.
Mistake #2: Only shopping in stores
Generally, all of the same in-store deals are also available online. Stores offer the same deals on their website as they offer in their stores because, put simply, they want your money and they don’t really care how they get it from you.
Better yet, those same deals are usually available for a longer period of time in the online store. Brick and mortar businesses are limited by the hours that they’re open. Online stores are open 24 hours a day. Some stores even offer deals online for the whole week or month that aren’t available in the stores.
There are many other reasons to do at least some of your shopping online. You can read more about the benefits of online shopping in my related post, 5 Reasons to Shop Online for Black Friday. (It applies to regular holiday shopping, too!)
Mistake #3: Not using cash back websites, like Ebates
There are a lot of cash back websites out there that can save you tons of money.
My favorite cash back website is Ebates. If you don’t know, Ebates is an awesome cash back website that pays you (in a check or PayPal deposit) for shopping online. This is FREE MONEY, folks.
Mistake #4: Not using coupons
Some shoppers assume that if they don’t get a Sunday Newspaper that they won’t be able to use coupons. Other shoppers think that couponing has to be a time intensive, extreme hobby.
In reality, using some coupons here and there can save you a ton of money and it doesn’t take much time. And there are some super easy places to find coupons.
Here are some of my favorite ways to find coupons:
- Sign up for emails from your favorite stores. They often send out coupons to their email list. I created a separate email account just for these types of emails. You can also sign up for text message coupons.
- If you use Ebates (mentioned in Mistake #3) you can find coupon codes organized by store right on the Ebates website.
- Simply, Google “store name + coupon code” and you will usually find a coupon that you can use online. This doesn’t work for everything, but it works more often than you’d think.
Mistake #5: Not knowing the regular price of the item
If you don’t know the regular price that item has been sold for, it’s hard to know if the sale price is actually a good deal. Especially because many retailers increase prices before an item goes on sale just so they can mark them down to what seems like a great sales price.
CamelCamelCamel is a price tracker for all of the products on Amazon. It will help you see how the prices of those products have changed over time, so you can decide if the sale price is actually a good deal.
This tool can help you even if you’re not buying from Amazon. Amazon sells just about every product under the sun, so you can look up the product that you’re wanting to buy on CamelCamelCamel to see what the price history of that item has been on Amazon and then compare the price history to the sale price you’re seeing for that item on any store’s website.
Mistake #6: Not saving your receipts
It’s important to hold on all of your receipts, especially when you’re holiday shopping.
You never know when you’re going to have to make return an item or double check a price.
Even if you feel like you’ve found the perfect gift, the person you’re giving to may have received a similar gift from someone else.
You should also save your receipts in case you notice an item you purchased on sale for a lower price. You can return the original item and repurchase it for the lower price.
Mistake #7: Impulse Purchases
In-stores and online, stores do everything they can to get you to spend an extra dollar. They want you to buy things that you don’t need, and sometimes things you don’t even really want.
Resist temptation. Stick to your list. Do not give in to the impulse purchase.
Mistake #8: Waiting until the last minute
You don’t want the stress of having to rush your holiday shopping. You’re less likely to make smart choices when you feel pressed for time.
You will likely miss the best price for the items you’re looking for. Some retailers even raise their prices as holidays near because they know shoppers will be willing to overpay.
If you wait until the last-minute you will find that many of the items you’re looking for may be out-of-stock or unavailable. You can avoid this by getting your shopping done earlier in the season.
Mistake #9: Forgetting about yourself
While it is the season of giving, it’s also a smart idea to take advantage of the holiday sales to buy yourself something (or even a few things) that you’ve really been wanting.
Truthfully, if I’m shopping for others and I find something that I really need or want for myself, I get it. Then, I have my husband give it to me for Christmas. I know many people would think this is unromantic but I’d prefer to get something I really want at a great price. And my husband doesn’t mind me taking the pressure off of him.
I hope you’re able to avoid all of these mistakes during your holiday shopping this year!
Do you have any other mistakes to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.
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