6 Low-Cost Ways to Save on Holiday Gifts

  • Plan now for the holidays It's never too early to start preparing for the holidays.

    "Now is the time to think about who is on your gift list this year," says Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Phoenix operations for Freedom Debt Relief LLC. "Then build your budget around that list."

    Without a budget, you're apt to spend more than you want to and if you use credit, you could end up paying for those gifts well into next year.

    To help you spend less this year but still give quality presents, here are some tips that might give you some direction and help you save money on holiday gifts.

  • Buy gifts online Purchasing holiday gifts through the group-buying sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial can help you stay within your allotted budget and save money, says Bruce McClary, a certified financial educator for ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions in Seattle. The sites sometimes let you buy multiples of their deals as gifts.

    "It's good to follow your favorite retailers on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, too. You could land yourself some good bargains that way," McClary says. "But remember you're also putting yourself on that retailer's marketing radar."

    Think twice about whom you "friend" on social media if you don't want your inbox filled with unwanted offers.

  • Shop locally Small-business owners have some ideal holiday gift items to offer -- custom, one-of-a-kind items, Gallegos says. Shop at farmers markets for handmade crafts or food products, craft fairs for unique jewelry and home decor, and small boutique shops for something your loved one will love.

    Kristen Hagopian, who hosts the radio program, "The Brilliant Frugal Living Show," says you also can find treasures at your local thrift stores. Sometimes you'll run across new pieces with the tags still on them.

    "Bring back sensible gifts like a gorgeous thrift-store basket filled with delicious coffees purchased at your local discount grocer, and add flavored creamers," Hagopian says.

    Use your imagination to save money.

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