Holiday spending in America is reaching epic levels. The National Retail Federation estimates that retail sales in November and December could top $650 billion, and online sales could total close to $120 billion. And those numbers don't include the non-holiday expenses you'll incur in the weeks leading up to the holidays.
The good news is you can keep your spending small with the right shopping plan. Here are 50 relatively painless ways to save up for the holiday shopping to come.
Step 1: Plan Future Shopping
One of the central tenants of personal finance is to spend less than you earn. And to succeed at smart shopping, you have to be willing to follow this principle. These tips can help you prepare for the coming shopping season.
1. Divide and Conquer
Before you do anything, you need to come up with a plan to allocate your finances in the best way.
"Determine how much you'll spend during the holidays, and divide it by how many weeks you have left," said Michelle Schroeder of MakingSenseofCents. "Then, save that amount each week. It'll make saving money for the holidays sting a little less."
2. Earn (and Stash) Cash Back
Shopping expert Kendal Perez of CouponSherpa.com encourages shoppers to turn their cash-back reserves into a holiday gift fund.
“You can earn cash back while grocery shopping or shopping online and stash that cash to offset holiday shopping,” she said. “Apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51 offer cash back on select groceries, while Ebates.com is an online shopping portal where you can earn 2 percent to 5 percent cash back from hundreds of retailers.”
3. Sign Up for Coupon Alerts Now
If you have a general plan for which retailers you’re going to visit on Black Friday, look at some of the best coupon sites and sign up for the stores' deal alerts