Christmas carols have started playing throughout the mall. Holiday dinner meals are being planned. The photo for the annual holiday card has been taken… And, special Christmas lists have been sent to Santa. Yes—Christmas is right around the corner. The holidays will be here before we know it, which means it’s time to begin Christmas shopping.
Although we’ve all sworn in the past that “this year will be the year I start my shopping early,” this year, we’re actually doing it. We want to avoid long lines and overly crowded stores filled with last minute buyers. Shopping early also allows time to more thoughtfully considered holiday gifting and prevents from the dreaded rush to buy something.
Getting an early start to holiday shopping also allows one to check out prices before committing. While we wish we could spend without limits for our family and friends, we all want to be conscious about our spending. We came together to share our favorite budget-friendly stores with each other and wanted to share them with you. So, here is this year’s guide to holiday shopping that doesn’t break your budget.
Kris… The older I get, the crankier I get when it comes to Christmas shopping. Sure it’s fun to wander around downtown San Francisco and look at the adorable kittens in the shop windows, but when you’re getting down to business and really looking to cross off the items on your list, it can just be plain stressful! As a result, I have become like most 21st century Americans and turned to online shopping.
This past year a good friend of mine introduced me to EBATES. All I knew is that it had some weird cheesy commercials talking about getting money back for spending money. It just seemed gimmicky. But after a brief tutorial, I learned that it really is that simple…you get money back for whatever you buy online. Sure it’s not that much 3% – 8% on your total purchase, but when you’re buying a lot, it really adds up! At a certain point EBATES sends you a check—yes a real paper check—in the mail and voila…money, money, money!
Consider checking it out—making an account is free. Beyond Christmas shopping, you can put things like an Expedia trip purchase (hello flights!), as well as purchases for regular items like makeup from Sephora or that cute pair of Uggs from Nordstrom.
Bri… One of my favorite stores for holiday shopping is Nordstrom. Known for its fabulous customer service, it makes holiday shopping (and subsequent returns and exchanges) less stressful. Plus, have you ever had a Nordstrom salesperson process a return with anything but a good attitude? I haven’t!
One of the main features of Nordstrom that I like is their price filters. For the budget-minded, they have an under $25 option and a $25-50 option, which supplies fabulous ideas if you’re trying to stay within a specific budget. Additionally, they offer free shipping on your online purchases, which allows you to avoid the holiday madness in the mall but not have to add minimum amounts of merchandise into your cart to avoid high shipping rates.
Lastly, they offer free in-store gift wrap. For the lazy or the rushed, this is a nice option. I love to wrap the gifts myself at home, so the salespeople have always cheerily just handed me the box and tissue, which I then gussy up with my own paper and trimmings when I’m having a gift-wrapping-party-of-one (hot chocolate steaming, seasonal tunes blaring) before the holidays..
Mere… HomeGoods is one of my favorite go-to stores for affordable designer items. From home décor to kitchen gadgets to gifts, I never leave empty handed. I was recently referred to TJ Maxx by a HomeGoods employee while on a hunt for a particular item, so I checked it out. I was surprised to find many designer items (hello adorable Kate Spade placements!) at discounted prices. And pleasantly, I found exact the item I was looking for. Once I found what I wanted, I couldn’t help but scope out the aisles. I saw great deals on brand-name and designer everything. From kitchen appliances to home and holiday décor to bathroom accessories – the store definitely lived up to its commercial slogan.
We hope we’ve inspired you to start your holiday shopping early too. And we hope you enjoyed our tips for budget-friendly holiday shopping. So let the shopping begin! What are your favorite budget-friendly stores and tips for saving during the holidays?