How to Maximize Savings This Holiday Shopping Season

Share Article offers consumers tips on ways they can take advantage of Christmas-season sales to save money all year long.

The days from Gray Thursday through Cyber Monday are a great chance to build an evergreen gift closet, so you’re always ready for a special occasion.

With retailers across the country having sales as early as Thanksgiving Day or even before, there are plenty of opportunities for consumers to save this holiday season. However, with so many flyers, circulars, websites and displays to parse through, it may be tough to know where to start. Personal finance site and contributor Donna Freedman offer several tips on how to make the most out of the holiday shopping season to save now and later.

One of the biggest ways that consumers can save this season is by stocking up on the things that they know they will need all year round while prices are at or near their lowest points. While it may seem like every store is decked in red and green for the Christmas season, great deals on staples for other holidays/celebrations abound – if you know where to look:

  •     Birthday Presents – While toys grab the headlines, plenty of adult presents will be on sale as well. While crossing off that Christmas list, snag a few extra things that are great gifts, no matter the season. (This includes a few loss-leader toys for birthday presents for the children in your family; if you’re a parent, pick up some toys for the birthday parties your kids will attend in the coming year.)
  •     Easter Baskets – Coloring books, crayons and little gifts to fill the baskets will be discounted, and those that don’t have a Christmas theme can easily be repurposed for Easter.
  •     Valentine’s Day – With red being a predominant color in both Christmas and Valentine’s Day, now is a great time to stock up on wrapping paper and also on loss leaders like watches, jewelry and picture frames, all of which make nice gifts for your valentine.
  •     Mother’s Day – Many gifts such as jewelry, handbags and books will be on sale this holiday shopping season, so stock up while discounts are deeper than they might be in May.
  •     Summer Sports – Retailers may use this time of year to put a low price tag on gear or equipment that is out of season, making it a bargain compared the summer when demand is highest.

“The days from Gray Thursday through Cyber Monday are a great chance to build an evergreen gift closet, so you’re always ready for a special occasion,” Freedman says. “That includes those last-minute needs: the Saturday birthday party your child tells you about on Thursday night, the ‘hang in there’ gift for a friend going through a tough time, or a present you’d like to give someone who’s helped you a lot lately.”

Life events can also be planned for during the winter holiday shopping season, and unlike many of the national holidays mentioned above, they don’t have accompanying sales, making the bargains even bigger:

  •     Showers and Weddings – If you know someone who is expecting a baby or having a wedding in the coming months, take advantage of Black Friday savings to buy new toys, clothes or wedding gifts.
  •     Graduations – Whether it’s high school or college, now is a great time to grab things they might need for college, graduate school or life after school like sheets or dishes.
  •     Retirement – Someone you may be deciding to call it a career, and a sentimental gift can easily be found during the Christmas shopping season.
  •     Housewarming – Many people buying their first home will want to decorate it to fit their taste, but staples like tools and vacuums may be something they need that’s at a low price.

These sales can also be a great way to purchase items for a household, whether they’re small things like board games and loss-leader DVDs or big-ticket items like electronics and appliances. For example, one of the Friday doorbusters at Sears is a Kenmore washer-dryer set for $800 total and with free delivery.

“If your machines are on their last legs, why not replace them now, at a deep discount?” Freedman says – but only if they really are good deals. Price comparison websites like NexTag and PriceGrabber will let you know what those items cost elsewhere.

For more tips and tricks on how to save this holiday season, please see:

About is a personal finance blog that has provided readers with a forum for sharing and discussing practical everyday financial strategies and helpful tools since 2006. is among Liz Weston’s “Best Money Websites” for 2011 and 2012, has been named "The Most Inspiring Money Blog" by Money magazine and was named one’s Best Blogs of 2011.


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Alex Bryant
since: 09/2009
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