November 28th, 2012

5 Ways to Save on Holiday Shopping

Holiday shopping can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are 5 easy ways to save without breaking your budget.

1. Make a budget

holiday shoppingBefore you start your holiday shopping, you should determine the maximum amount you want to spend. Then, make a list of all the people you plan on purchasing gifts for. Set a dollar amount for each person, based on your budget, with several gift ideas that fit the price range for each person. Being aware of your budget will prevent you from overspending, and having gift ideas that fit your budget will keep you from splurging on items you can’t afford.

If you’re having trouble thinking of gift ideas for people on your list, SMCU Visa® Gift Cards are a great alternative.

2. Research prices

Technology has made comparing prices extremely easy for both online and offline shopping. For online shopping, you can go to the websites of multiple retailers to view prices, or simply use Google’s shopping feature to compare prices in a single page.

A mobile application called RedLaser can be used to compare prices while shopping brick & mortar stores, and it will even compare offline prices to online prices. To compare prices for the item you want, use your phone to scan the item’s barcode, and review the list of stores and prices that pops up.

3. Compare coupons

Coupons are an easy way to save on the items you want, but price matching can get difficult when each retailer offer different deals. Luckily, tools like Coupon Winner keep track of all the coupons for you, so you can quickly browse through current deals from thousands of retailers.

4. Have a Secret Santa exchange

If you have a large family, it can be unrealistic to purchase gifts for each person. A fun and cost-saving way to spread the holiday cheer is to have a Secret Santa exchange. Write each person’s name on a piece of paper and have everyone draw a name out of a hat. Purchase a gift only for the person whose name you drew. Everyone in the family will save money and still receive a gift.

If you want to get creative and cut costs even further, you can set a DIY (do-it-yourself) theme for your exchange, so each person is required to make a gift rather than buy one.

5. Use your rewards

If you have an SMCU VISA®, you’re automatically enrolled in the free rewards program CU Rewards. You receive 1 rewards point for each dollar spent. Points can be exchanged for travel or merchandise from the CU Rewards catalog, which is full name-brand goods.

If you use your SMCU VISA® regularly and haven’t redeemed your points recently, now would be the perfect time. It’s like getting your holiday shopping done for free!


Do you have additional tips on how to save during the holiday season? Let us know in the comments below.

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