I’m putting together our holiday shopping checklist. No, not a gift list yet, but my preparation list to optimize sales and get the best deal on all of our shopping.
Buying gifts at the holidays is something I enjoy, but I also like to see how much I can possibly save on every item. It allows us to stretch our holiday budget even more and becomes a fun exercise in personal finance.
Here are tips and tricks to save on your holiday shopping!
Holiday Shopping Tips and Tricks
- Sign up for Amazon Prime. Get it free with a student account  or Free Amazon Prime for Parents . Amazon Prime is the cornerstone of my holiday shopping, since you get free 2-day shipping with no minimum order. That way I can scoop up the lightening deals  at any time!
- Activate Cash Back Programs. Get signed up for your cash back accounts and have them ready to go. Ebates  is rolling out the holiday double cash back. I also like Mr. Rebates . Don’t forget to check for the highest amount on each purchase with evreward .
- Enroll in Rewards Programs. Make a list of the Rewards Programs  you have and activate any new ones you’ll use during this shopping season.
- Browse Black Friday Ads. The Black Friday  ads are starting to leak, and I’m keeping my eyes out for what I’m going to shop for this year on the big day!
- Use Cash Back Credit Cards. Enroll in all of the 4th quarter rotating 5% programs  to optimize each of your purchases. You can see a picture of the cards in my wallet  to see how I keep track of which card to use while I’m out shopping.
- Get Gift Card Discounts. Plastic Jungle  is a great way to get gift cards for less than face value. If you know where you are going to make holiday purchases, you can also order gift cards ahead of time and use them for your holiday shopping.
- Check Online Purchase Coupons. Don’t forget to check Retail me not  for any valid coupon codes while shopping.
- Install Phone Apps. Install the personal finance apps  that will be of use during the shopping season, like the ShopSavvy Barcode Scanner , so you can compare a deal you find on the spot.
- Celebrate Winter Birthdays. If you or your shopping partners will have a birthday during the holiday months, sign up for Birthday freebies  to score free meals to use while you are out shopping.
- Order Early. Check the Christmas Shipping Deadlines  for standard delivery dates. You’ll save on the extra costs for expedited shipping.
- Get Organized. With all of the various deals, discounts, and cash back programs, it’s easy to confused. I put together a little notebook where I’ll write down all of my purchases and every program I use to score the deal. That way when the holidays are over, I can follow up and make sure I get credit for all of my hard work.
What other tips and tricks do you have to maximize the deals for holiday shopping?