With the holidays quickly approaching, I figured I'd share some of my secrets to becoming a savvy shopper. Being that I'm a person who thoroughly enjoys shopping and puts a lot of time and effort into buying gifts, I know that it can also become quite costly.
Before I list my tips, my first suggestion is to set a budget. With the economy being the way it is people will understand if you have less money to spend on them this year. If you only have $20 to spend on someone, it will just require a little more creativity. I know I appreciate thoughtful gifts more than ones that you could tell someone just picked up without any thought. Let's not even talk about giftcards to places where I don't even shop.
Sources for deals:
1.) Use Your Network
Today most people have a PT job or a "side hustle". Find someone who works for a retailer where you like to shop (i.e. Bath & Body Works, Saks/Neiman's/Nordstrom, Victoria's Secret) and ask if you can use their discount. I'm not saying ask any random stranger, ask someone you know. You can typically save anywhere from 20% - 50% off of the retail price.
2.) Shop Online
If you have an idea of what you're looking for, GOOGLE it. I'm sure someone will be selling it online. When buying online look for offers such as free shipping & returns or codes to save a certain percentage. I usually visit http://www.retailmenot.com/ to find coupon codes for just about anywhere.
There's always eBay. I've gotten some amazing deals on eBay. My most recent deal was buying a pair of brand new (with the tags still attached) pants that retailed for $228 for only $9 + $4 for shipping. What they say about one man's junk being is another one's treasure is so true. I've been buying and selling on eBay for nearly 10 years.
3.) Deal of the Day Websites
I get emails from Living Social DC every day with all kinds of promotions. I've seen everything from deals on restaurant gift certificates, to yoga lessons (I purchased 8 hour long yoga classes for $50 at Vida Fitness), to discounted facials & massages to tours around the city. The best part is these deals can be used for yourself or given as gifts. No one would ever know you didn't pay full price. Another website that's been in the news recently is Groupon. Groupon is similar to Living Social but they have a larger client base and more locations across the US. They pride themselves on having ...exclusive, unbeatable deals on the best things to do, see, eat, and buy in Washington DC.
4.) Just Be Creative
While it may sound cheesy photo gifts are always nice. If the person's a writer use a nice photo and turn it into note cards with envelopes. If they like to travel, have their vacation pictures compiled into a photo book, make sure to add captions. Buy a photo storage box that has room for a picture on the front. Make sure to add in a photo to personalize it, then they can add whatever pictures they want inside of the box. My favorite photo sites are Kodak Gallery, Snapfish, and MyPhotoAlbum. They always have special offers for new users.
Hopefully, my tips will help someone. There are still 17 days left until Christmas. Happy shopping!