I know, I know! We don’t really want to think about gift giving so soon. Heck, some of us may even have charges from this past Christmas sitting on our credit cards right now. And there is no way that we want to think about spending money on stuff for a holiday that’s 11 months away.
I know it goes against everything that most of us believe, but there are some REALLY valid reasons why you should start thinking about your holiday shopping. One of the best reasons is OFF SEASON SHOPPING.
Off season shopping allows you to stock on things at a fraction of the price. Essentially when retailers over project sales, and don’t meet the quota, then slap a sale sticker on it to get rid of the inventory. This is when you get to swoop in and save 50-80%.
Knowing when to shop is the biggest battle, and goes against most of our shopping habits. The short explanation is that you go out and buy things after the season is over. Along the lines of summer clothes in the fall, and winter gear in the spring.
For example, I tend to pick up all of my Christmas ribbons, and cards in January when most retailers discount them by 75%. Not only do my presents look fantastic, but I don’t have to worry about braving the malls around the holidays. I’ve also picked up a snowblower in April, and a lawnmower in September. Both offseason products, and both things that were on sale.
While most stores do have sales and keep slashing prices until they get rid of any unsold inventory, some have outlet stores where they house off season products. This is normally where you can score double discounts as most outlet stores have sales, too! I’ve saved an extra 40% on a purse at the Kate Spade outlet store resulting in a $250 savings. (I know you’re jealous!).
I’ll let you in on a secret. Most of the presents that I gave this year where designer items that I was able to buy by shopping smart. Just because you only have $80 to spend on someone doesn’t mean that you can’t make that money stretch.
Now if you’ve been reading any other personal finance site, you would know that there is always a way to save more.While I would love for everyone to go out and start stocking up on Christmas 2014 gifts right now, remember to set a monthly budget for what you can afford on gifts and keep your eyes peeled for sales throughout the year.
Just because you’re buying things offseason doesn’t mean that you can’t use your cash back credit card to get money back. In fact, being able to combine both is where you see the most return on your purchases. I know we don’t all want to put purchases on our credit, or carry a balance, but this is where doing a balance transfer to a card that has 0% interest for 12 months comes in handy.
There are tons of credit card comparison sites out there to help find the right credit card for you. I almost always use my credit card to make big purchase, because I either get cash back, or points for travel, and I would be stupid not to. The key is make sure that you’re not paying interest for no reason.
The biggest takeaway here is that having a list of things that you need on your phone, and a rough idea of when things go on sale is going to go a long way.
So go ahead and start looking at all the pretty holiday wrappers, and glittery cards that you see in the sales bin, and start thinking how great your set up is going to be. And please, post pics!
Do you off season shop? If so, what do you pick up?