Money-Saving Tips: Buy Gifts Way in Advance and Save Massively
While most of us look forward to the annual Boxing Day sales as merely an excuse to spoil ourselves with all that Christmas cash we got from grandma, December 26th is actually the ideal time to shop for cheap Christmas gifts for other people.
What’s that you say? Boxing Day is clearly a day too late to buy presents for Christmas. But not if you’re buying gifts a year in advance.
Super-thrifty consumers save a significant amount of money by buying cheap gifts for friends and family on peak sale days like Boxing Day, even if it means shopping months, or even a year, ahead of time. As someone who practices what she preaches, I’m one of those frugal Canucks who looks at Boxing Day sales as a not-to-be-missed opportunity to stock up on deeply discounted items for the upcoming year.
All it takes to make the most of the Boxing Day bonanza (or any other big sale event throughout the year) is a bit of forethought and planning. So before you assume that I’ve been overdoing it on the eggnog this year, hear me out and give these reasons consideration:
Save Money. Lots of Money.
It’s a huge waste to pay full price when you can easily avoid it. The most obvious benefit of buying gifts in advance is that you save big by not paying full price for products.
Money-saving expert Andrea Woroch is a fan of taking advantage of clearance and post-holiday sales. “You can get big discounts on a variety of merchandise, from seasonal items like decorations and wrapping supplies to clothing, toys and electronics” says Woroch. “Basically, items that didn’t sell will be marked down to move them off shelves to make room for new merchandise. Plus, retailers will be offering store and site-wide sales to entice shoppers to spend their gift cards.”
*Tip: stay organized. As Woroch says, when shopping at post-holiday and clearance sales for presents in advance, “make sure you take the same approach you would when shopping for gifts normally. Use a list and track spending so you don’t overbuy!”
Imagine what it would feel like to know that, come December 27th, you’ve finished most of your gift shopping for the next year and saved a bundle of cash by buying everything on sale.
As much as we look forward to the holidays, they can also be among the most stressful times of the year. Having your gifts all ready to go in advance will take a lot of weight off your shoulders.
Of course, you could argue that simply buying most people a gift card is an even faster and easier way to reduce the stress of gift shopping. Though that argument has some validity, it certainly won’t save you money the way buying a physical gift at a highly discounted price will.
*Tip: When you buy ahead, be sure that your inexpensive Christmas gift or birthday present will still be relevant months after the date of purchase. For example, if you’re buying winter clothing for kids for next December, take their growth into account.
Even if you miss out on Boxing Day sales, shopping ahead of time throughout the year is a smart tactic as well.
Professional money-saver Woroch underscores that looking in advance for gifts also allows you to do some cost-cutting comparison shopping. “Shopping early gives you more time to shop around for the perfect item at the perfect price—the ultimate bang for your buck! With more time, you can compare prices among different retailers of the same product or similar products…(and) many retailers also price match.”
*Tip: Aside from exploiting seasonal clearance sales, tack on an extra 2-6% to your savings by purchasing your items with the right credit card.
Spend More Time with Family and Friends
The above money-saving tips aren’t just about keeping cash in your bank account. Shopping early means that you’ll have more of the most valuable resource of all: time.
Holidays are often when family and friends you haven’t seen in a while travel across the country—or even the world—to come together. Wouldn’t you prefer to spend your precious time with those you love most rather than last-minute gift shopping online or in a mall?
*Tip: Speaking of friends and family, when you shop early it’s essential to write down whom you bought gifts for and where you’ve stored said presents. I’m embarrassed to admit that there are times when I’ve forgotten that I’ve already bought someone a present only to buy them another gift—thus negating my money saving efforts!
Serious About Saving Money? Think Ahead
For many reading this article, I’m sure the notion of buying birthday presents and inexpensive Christmas gifts ahead of time may seem like it requires way too much effort and planning. But trust me, it’s well worth the small amount of planning you’ll need to do for the big benefit your bottom line will reap.