Like most things this year, your holiday shopping might look different this time around. With more shoppers than ever opting to avoid crowds and buy from the comfort of home, retail analysts predict a large surge in online sales. It’s a good idea to prepare for a few extra hassles this year, like more items than usual selling out of stock and potential shipping delays. But the best news is, more deals are available too, especially online.
Try these tips to make your holiday shopping less stressful and more affordable:
- Start out with a plan and a budget. Make a list of each person you need to buy for and set a spend limit for each gift.
- It’s a great year to start a group gift exchange. If your family or group of friends doesn’t already do an exchange — where each person buys only one gift — consider trying it. Besides being more affordable, it’s also a great idea for a virtual get-together, when family and friends can open the gifts on a video call. It’s free and easy to coordinate with a site like drawnames.com* or Elfster.com*. (Elfster also has a free app.) No one will know who drew their name, and you can keep it a secret until your gift exchange to add to the fun. Remember to ship your gift early to get it there on time.
- There’s no need to wait until after turkey day to find deals. Most major retailers have “Black Friday” sales already in full swing. To see the latest ads and sign up to receive alerts, visit blackfriday.com*.
- Use a price comparison app to find prices from different retailers. There are several apps to choose from, including apps with a barcode scanner to help when you’re shopping in-store. (ShopSavvy** and BuyVia** are a couple of examples.) Scan the barcode from an item off the shelf to see if another store offers a lower price. Bonus Tip: If you find a lower price, remember it doesn’t always mean you have to drive to the other store or order online to get the savings. Many stores will price-match competitors’ ads! Just show them the lower price listing on your phone.
- When you’re tempted to buy extras, take a break before deciding. Whether you’re shopping in a store or online, retailers are experts at keeping your buying momentum going by placing desirable items in your path. Before you add anything extra to your cart, try stepping outside the store, or getting off your device, for a break.
- A heads-up for last-minute shoppers! If this is you, you’ve probably pulled off some down-to-the-wire ordering feats in the past. But it may not work so well this year. All the extra fulfillment demands could strain some companies, as well as postal and delivery services. So you may not be able to rely on speedy delivery options the last week before Christmas (or even two weeks before). This is the year to finish early!
- It may be too soon to choose gifts for next year, but it’s not too early to plan your 2021 holiday budget. Keep these tips in mind for a fresh start in the new year: Get ahead of the game by saving a little at a time throughout the year. The easiest way is to set up a recurring automatic transfer from your checking account into a savings account. Set the amount and frequency you prefer — every month, every week or each pay period, for example. Responsible use of a rewards credit card, like the Arvest Flex RewardsTM cards, can add extra dollars to your budget through rewards points you redeem for cash back. (To protect your credit and responsibly manage debt, remember to always make payments on time and only charge what you can afford to pay off each month.)
A good head start, a little shopping savvy, and a lot of patience can help you check off your list this year. And once you do, don’t forget to reward yourself with some downtime to relax!
Our Arvest associates are here to help with your banking and financial needs. Visit arvest.com to schedule a convenient appointment. Or call (866) 952-9523.
**Third-party products and services are listed for informational purposes only and are not endorsed by Arvest Bank.