Whether it’s the Holidays, weddings, high-school graduations, or birthdays—there will always be the opportunity to give someone a gift. Yet, too often gift shopping turns from a well-meaning, thought-out stroll through the mall into a stressful, money-draining frenzy. At times it seems one has to ultimately make the decision between a gift that is super-expensive and one that will just ‘get by.’ Fortunately, there is a third option: Getting the best gift at the best price. Here are 4 hacks for getting better gift prices.
Plan a year in advance.
Most of us get caught in the heat of the moment with the stress of having to find the right gift ‘right now.’ This usually means settling on the gift that will ‘just do’ or in paying an exuberant price for a gift that could have been cheaper elsewhere. By planning a year in advance, you can take advance of the huge annual sales and clearances and do your shopping with less pressure. Season clearance sales include after-Christmas sales, New Years sales, back-to-school sales, Memorial Day weekend sales, and, if you’re feeling really brave, Black Friday sales. The point is to purchase high quality items that will have a general appeal as gifts for the upcoming year; no need to over-think it.
If you want to turn into a pro, it would be wise to plan your shopping by the month, as different products go on sale during different times of the year. For example, January is the perfect month for finding better gift prices on winter attire, motorcycles, and fitness gear (think New Year’s resolutions). Similarly, August will be your month for office and school supply shopping, as companies are offering incentives in view of the upcoming school year. Click here (http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2014/09/01/the-best-months-to-buy-everything) for a month-to-month breakdown on deals for the entire year.
Let them come to you.
An easy way to take advantage of special deals is to go online to your favorite stores and subscribe to their email promotion list. You will save tons of time and energy in searching for deals and allow the companies themselves to fill you in on when’s the right time to shop. If you see a coupon, print it out and file it. If you see a buy-one-get-one-free deal, take advantage of that. Remember, the point is to be kept up to date; so don’t overdo it and subscribe to dozens of emails that you will never open. Be selective.
There’s nothing that businesses love more than loyalty from customers. That’s why many retailers offer special deals for customers who’ve chosen to stick with them through the thick and thin. Some offer special rewards VISA cards with a special point system that discounts off of every purchase. If you already use credit, why not be approved for a small retail-sponsored credit card? You will not only build credit, but will constantly be getting the better gift prices your favorite stores offer. Your faithfulness will definitely pay off.
If you’re one of those super organized, binder-keeping coupon junkies, this tip may not impress you. For the rest of us, it may come as a surprise that using a search engine can be a simple but highly effective tool for quickly finding coupons for better gift prices. Simply log on and search the word ‘coupon’, followed by a product or name of a retailer and bam---let the coupons roll in! Another point of interest is special websites designed specifically for customers to get deals. Try out a few places like Groupon (Groupon.com); Plum District (Plumdistrict.com); and Gilt City (Giltcity.com). May the deals be in your favor.