Home > 2015 > Personal Finance

Tis the Season Already? How Holiday Shopping Now Can Save You Money Later

Advertiser Disclosure Comments 0 Comments

It might be hard to come to terms with, but the holiday shopping season is only a few weeks away due to so-called Christmas creep. While the holidays are typically filled with friends, family, food and fun, it’s also one of the biggest spending periods of the year. However, there are some things you can do now to help alleviate the strain it might put on your budget.

1. Start Making a List

When it comes to holiday shopping, staying organized is key. Taking the time to sit down and write out a shopping list can help you avoid making costly, unnecessary purchases. You can even take non-gift related purchases, like decorations or meals, into account. With this information you should be able to keep track of your holiday-related expenses, build yourself a budget, and keep yourself focused in a hectic shopping environment. Proper preparation now can wind up saving you tons later on.

2. Subscribe to Newsletters

If you already have a pretty good idea of where you’ll be doing your shopping, consider subscribing to those store’s mailing lists and social media channels. Retailers tend to provide their subscribers with special deals and early alerts on upcoming sales. And if that wasn’t enough, some brands will even reward you with a coupon (typically anywhere between 10%-15% off one purchase) for signing up or subscribing. All of this can provide you with some great opportunities to knock out some of your holiday shopping for less.

3. Sign Up for Layaway

An often overlooked tool, layaway allows consumers to spread out the cost of big-ticket items over the span of several months. When opting to place an item on layaway, you’ll be required to make some sort of down payment (the amount of which will vary from store to store) and then make smaller payments over time. Unlike credit card purchases however, layaway payments are interest-free (though there may be fees, always read the fine print before signing up). Buying something on layaway will also ensure that it will still be around come the busy holiday shopping season. Just keep in mind that not every store offers layaway and policies vary from store to store. That said, if you’re looking for a way to make that new TV or video game system a little more affordable, layaway might be a good option for you.

4. Buy Some Things Early

Despite the massive amount of savings buzz Black Friday generates year after year, there are some items that rarely (if ever) get marked down on the big day. Gift cards, vacation packages, furniture, designer clothing and high-end electronics are all examples of products that typically don’t receive any special treatment during the holiday season. This means you could find some savings by purchasing these items ahead of time, whether when they are on sale, or by financing them through a credit card or the previously suggested layaway option.

If you decide to use a credit card to finance your purchases, consider coming up with a plan to pay it off so you don’t have to deal with the dreaded holiday debt hangover, and wind up carrying that debt far into the next year. This calculator can help you come up with a plan to pay it off. Also, be careful about using too much of your available balance, as doing so can have a negative impact on your credit scores, especially if you’re maxed out. You can see how your debt is affecting your credit by getting your credit scores for free on Credit.com, and watching them update monthly.

While the holidays might be a stressful time for shoppers, you can opt out of the madness by planning ahead and getting your shopping done sooner. Not only will you find yourself more relaxed, but you could greatly decrease the chances you take on debt this holiday season. Remember, the holidays are about spending time with your loved ones, not scouring the aisles for expensive gifts.

More Money-Saving Reads:

Image: iStock

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team