Tis’ the season of giving, right? Wrong! It’s more like the season of shopping and buying things for others. If we were merely in the spirit of giving, then we could donate our time rather than money, or make a gift rather than purchase one. No, each and every year is about buying items that we won’t remember come this time next year, except for the monstrous credit card bill we will still be paying off. Don’t think of me as a scrooge, I am all about gift giving, and buying, but I just find a smarter way of doing it than most others. Pay attention to my tips below and you will be able to shop a little smarter this holiday season as well.
I’ve noticed that gift cards have become the go to present when we can’t think of anything else. Speaking as someone who has gone this route several times, there is nothing wrong with it. However, there is an issue if you are still going to the store directly and buying the gift card. There are several discounted gift card sites out there that let you buy cards for a fraction of the regular price. Sites like Card Pool offer steeply discounted cards to your favorite retailers, gas stations, restaurants, and home improvement stores. You need to think about this option a little sooner than December 23rd as it takes some time to ship and receive the item. Translation, go buy them right now!
People love paying with credit cards because they like to build up their rewards points, or at least that’s what they like to tell themselves. In reality, most people use credit cards because they don’t have the necessary funds to pay for all of the items that they want to buy. While you do build up your rewards points, you also build up massive amounts of credit card debt. This debt will in turn cause you to pay a lot of interest which will eat away any benefit you will see from rewards points. My solution to this is that you should only take cash with you when shopping. Go ahead and take your credit cards out of your wallet or purse right now. When you take a set amount of cash, and leave the debit and credit cards at home, you limit yourself to the buying power of the cash available to you. This will help you avoid debt, and hopefully smarter shopping.
Craigslist, Amazon, and Ebay. These companies pretty much say it all. Often times they offer the same products as brick and mortar retailers, but with discounted prices, free shipping, and the tax bill is on you to decide. Not only do I get favorable pricing, but I also get to avoid the hustle and bustle of the store. You can even make a case for saving money on gas and mileage on your car from shopping from the comforts of your own home.