5 Tips for Holiday Prep

5 Tips for Holiday Prep

Did you know that 89% of Americans are planning to shop for presents this holiday season?

According to a recent survey conducted by TopCashback.com, it's true—and expected. But 70% of participants also said they typically overspend on gifts, which gets a thumbs down from us.

Our very own consumer expert Rebecca Gramuglia demonstrates why it's important to start your holiday prep today. It gives us a head start over everybody else, first of all. And it provides us a better chance at sticking to our pre-planned budgets. Below, she imparts five simple tips we can use to save more money this yuletide—and beyond!

It's important to start your holiday prep today.

1. Pre-order now.

If a gift is popular or a new item is being released, do your research to see when it's available for purchase. Buying it in advance may save you money and stress. And while pre-orders may seem like a guarantee that you’ll get the product, you’ll still want to purchase the item as soon as possible to avoid the pre-sale running out of supplies.

2. Create a list.

Draw up your holiday shopping list now. Not only will this help you determine your budget, but it'll also have you stay organized and avoid forgetting items or buying them last-minute. While the list doesn't need to include everything at this point in time, it’s good to get a general ballpark amount of how much you plan on spending.

A list allows you to monitor your gift ideas, too. Meaning, you can check if there are any noteworthy deals for each item and purchase them early on.

3. Budget (50/20/30) and create a holiday fund.

Whether you have an idea of how much you want to spend or not, it’s best to start building your holiday fund so you’re not overspending and dipping into your savings to purchase gifts. Consider adopting the 50/20/30 rule. You’ll need to spend up to 50% of your after-tax income on necessities (i.e., food and utilities); 20% on finances (i.e., debt repayments and savings); and 30% on personal expenses (i.e., holiday shopping and decor).

It’s best to start building your holiday fund so you’re not overspending and dipping into your savings to purchase gifts.

4. Have your money-saving tools ready to go.

When doing any holiday shopping, you should find ways to earn even more discounts. Be sure to shop through a cash back site, like TopCashback.com, to score a percentage of your money back on all qualifying purchases from over 4,000 retailers nationwide. And if you’re doing some online browsing, install the free TopCashback Browser Extension so you're immediately notified when a site offers cash back and coupons.

5. Know the sales.

Getting your holiday shopping out of the way early is nice, but it may cost you more in the long run. Holiday shopping is all about timing, so you’ll want to do your research on gift items and see where you can likely buy them.

From there, take a look at last year’s sale announcements and fliers from events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You'll be able to get an idea of what sales will be like this year. And you can compare last year’s pricing with the current markup to help you decide what's truly a “good deal” for the product.

 

Share your own tips for holiday prepping in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you.

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