5 Easy Ways to Save on Holiday Gifts

Posted by PartyWeDo on Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Save on White elephant gifts or the secret Santa this year

Saving money on white elephant giftsIt is an oft-repeated saying in the United States that one shouldn’t think about Christmas before Thanksgiving has passed, but the most seasoned holiday season shoppers know that isn’t true (or cheap). Economic times are tough, and many people want to plan ahead for this holiday season to save themselves money, especially when invited to a white elephant gift exchange party. Shopping online is almost always the best way to save money on white elephant gifts, but it takes more than a quick search on Amazon to get the best deals.

Here are 5 easy ways to save money on your holiday season gifts this year, helping make the season both special and inexpensive.
1. Take advantage of Black Friday (before and after)
Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving, has become something of a holiday itself in the US in recent years because of the tradition of massive sales on that day. Many retailers offer crazy savings on Black Friday, making it one of the biggest shopping days of the year in the US. However the problem with Black Friday is that everybody knows about it, so you’re competing with thousands of people to get the best deals. Yes, many online retailers offer great savings on the day but you’re likely to be fighting it out for hours against others to get the things you want. Try out the Black Friday deals, but don’t limit your focus to just that date.
Many people do not realize that the week preceding and following Thanksgiving tend to have lots of deals – not just Black Friday. Have a search around your usual internet shopping haunts and see if anybody has any ‘earlybird’ or ‘leftover’ sales you can take advantage of to save money.

2. Check out auctions
Just a few years ago eBay was the new craze and everybody and their uncle was buying or selling things at auction. However much of the madness has now passed, meaning that it is now much easier and cost-effective to use auction sites like eBay to get white elephant gifts. Another thing to note is that many independent retailers use eBay as their ‘shop’ to sell things: eBay isn’t just for auctions but also is a direct marketplace for picking up things you need. 

3. Take note of the way you pay
You might find the debit/credit card charges that some websites use to be nothing more than a nuisance, but in reality all those little changes can add up to a big bill. Different websites use different ecommerce solutions, meaning that it is worth seeing if there is another website that doesn’t charge for using your card that sells the product you want. Also consider alternate methods of payment: many websites now allow (or even prefer) you to use PayPal to settle your bill. If you can use PayPal to circumvent credit card charges then do it!

4. Don’t just go with the big names
A book is a book whether you buy it online from Amazon or from ‘RandomBookStore.com’. You might assume that you’re getting the best deal from big online retailers when in fact you can get great deals from smaller or independent online sellers. Amazon Marketplace is great example of people selling the exact same things as big names like Amazon at a cheaper rate. 
Next time you want to buy something, tap it into google and see if you can get it cheaper elsewhere on the web. As long as a website has an ecommerce solution that uses SSL and is secure (usually denoted by a ‘lock’ appearing in the bottom corner of your internet browser or address bar) then it should be a safe place to buy some gifts.

5. Haggle
You might think that haggling is just for the real world, but you can actually save a pretty penny if you contact online sellers and see if they’ll cut you a deal (especially if you are buying multiple items for a white elephant party). Even if it is as small as getting them to dropping shipping costs, the little savings you can make from online haggling can go a long way. Work up some gumption and ask if you can make a deal.

This is a guest post by Andras Deak, a part-time blogger and a full-time user experience developer and researcher. He currently works for Code23, a very innovative web development company providing one of the best ecommerce solutions on the market.

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