Savings influencer Edith Tapia shares tips on how to stretch your Christmas shopping budget.
With the possibility of being able to celebrate this Christmas with fewer COVID restrictions, many people are eager to festejar en grande.
But that desire doesn’t always go hand in hand with the ability to do so, since many people are also recovering from the economic havoc caused by the pandemic.
Edith Tapia, personal finance coach and creator of Cuponeandopr, said that people are willing to invest to have a good time this Christmas.
“Since October I have seen that people are eager to buy. I have also seen that many people are buying more online, than going to stores,” Tapia told Floricua. “On Black Friday, we saw that many people chose to stay at home, rather than to go to stores. The pandemic forced us to change the way we shop.”
The change in consumer habits has also forced stores to expand Black Friday offers. Now those offers last until the second week of December, the expert said.
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Every year, Tapia advises consumers to start buying Christmas gifts in October, so that the economic impact is not one and big.
However, for those who have not yet started shopping, the first thing Tapia recommends is to make a list of the people you are buying for.
“You are going to make a list of the people in your family, friends, neighbors that you want to buy a gift for. Then, you will check your budget to see how much money you are going to allocate for each gift. This is important because if you don’t, you will end up spending what you don’t have,” Tapia said.
The expert said that when buying you have to be strategic. If you plan to go to the stores to see what you find, it’s a plan for failure, she said.
She recommends first looking at the stores’ catalogs or look online to go with a clear idea of what you are going to buy and save money, time, and gasoline.
Tapia said that the closer it is to Christmas Day, the more expensive the most in-demand items will be. This applies to both online and in-store purchases. Buying online also gives you the advantage that you can compare prices between stores and pick the best offer.
The availability of the articles is another important element that must be taken into consideration. You should prioritize the most popular ones you have on the list.
“You are going to do it based on supply and demand. If, for example, you want a PS5, which everyone wants, you know that you have to buy that particular toy the moment you see it, because if you don’t pick it up, when you come back it won’t be there. Those less popular you can leave for later,” Tapia said.
Another way to save on store deals is to add discount coupons and use rewards apps.
“That is what will help you maximize savings. When you are looking for a gift, you will try to not pay regular price for it. When you see it’s on sale, you will look for any discount code that you can apply to it. Once you have the receipt, you will scan it in the different reward apps.”
Among the reward apps Tapia recommends are Ibotta, Rakuten, Be Frugal, Fetch, and Receipt Hog. The more shopping receipts from megastores you scan, the more discount coupons you’ll get.
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Tapia says that you also have to be aware of the options, because for example in electronics, clothing, and accessories such as purses, prices vary according to the color of the product.
“There are people who buy a more expensive phone for a color when you can buy the one with the lowest price and put the cover of the color you want,” she said.
If you need to buy clothes for the Christmas holidays, the expert recommends buying timeless pieces that you can wear at any time. You can make it trendier by adding accessories. This way, it is an investment that you can use all year round.
To save on food, Tapia recommends comparing prices in supermarket flyers. If you have a dinner party, you can have la fiesta del sorullo, en que cada cual lleva lo suyo, or a potluck.