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7 Expert Tips For Holiday Shopping On a Budget (With FREE Printable Gift Guide)

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This may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the most stressful season for your wallet. The good news is that is doesn’t have to be that way. Here are the top 7 saving tips from shopping experts that will help keep you out of the red this holiday season.

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Click Here for the Free Guide

1. Make A Shopping List. Real Simple magazine recommends that you write down everyone you plan to buy a gift for, no matter how small the gift may be. Include ideas of what to give each person, along with the maximum amount you’re willing to spend. (More money-saving advice from Real Simple available here).

Note: Did you know that you could download helpful gift planners for free? Our favorite free gift checklist is from Life in Yellow, and it can be downloaded here.

2. Manage Your Budget. The most reiterated and important money-saving advice is to set your holiday spending budget, and make it non-negotiable. $10 means $10, not $12. Be sure to keep a running log of what you spend, and stick to your budget.

3. Pre-Shop. Do some research before you start shopping. Call around and go online to find better deals. Why should you pay full price when savings are everywhere during the holidays? All it takes is a little extra effort and research.

4. Find Free Gift Wrapping. If the store you are shopping in has a free gift-wrapping service, take advantage of it! You can save money by not buying fancy gift-wrap that you can put your savings toward other gifts. (More helpful holiday shopping advice from ABC News is available here).

5. Be Digitally Savvy. Now more than ever, you can find great mobile apps that can save you time and money when holiday shopping. Check out this helpful roundup of apps from ALL YOU magazine with features for optimal savings.

Santa’s Bag: This app allows you to create individualized budgets for each person on your holiday list, and you can track how much you’ve spent per person. It also has a password feature so no other family members can access your list.

Shoeboxed: Never lose another receipt again. Within this app, you can photograph receipts and store/categorize them digitally.

The Christmas List: Color coding and gift buying have never been as easy as with this holiday app. Assign colors and pictures to family and friends you need to buy for, while also prioritizing budgets, stores for particular items and must-have presents.

See more app ideas from ALL YOU here.

6. Don’t Pay for Shipping. The Budget Fashionista recommends waiting to complete your online shopping. FreeShippingDay.com has announced that this year’s popular and successful shopping holiday will take place on Wednesday, December 18th, 2013. 620+ stores have signed up to participate, with an awesome commitment: free shipping with guaranteed Christmas Eve delivery. On top of that, there are NO minimum orders required.

7. Stock up on Free After Rebate items for holiday gifts. Coupon Mom reader Betsy Kiger of Arlington, Virginia says, “Review the ads for Staples, Walgreens, CVS, and other office supply stores that advertise “free after rebate” items each week. Last year I got a paper shredder, free software, and other small useful items that were perfect for making gift baskets or using for stocking stuffers. They are a great way to stretch your holiday gift budget!”

As one final tip, be sure to look for hundreds of deals on fansrave.com and save the best ads to your saving tabs for easy reference. We hope these tips make your holiday shopping easier and less stressful.

Wishing you a happy holiday season!

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