Shopping tactics to save money (and maybe Christmas)

Small stack of gifts with heart decoration and Christmas greeting.

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It’s the kind of scenario only Scrooge could enjoy: Consumers are itching to spend money this holiday season, but they’re facing product shortages due to the global supply chain crisis, and many of the products they find have high price tags due to inflation.

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If ever there was a holiday shopping season to strategize, this is it. A good time to start is Black Friday and then Cyber ​​Monday, when there are plenty of deals available. But deals shouldn’t be your only goal, especially if you want to avoid all the other shoppers coveting you and looking for the same gifts as you.

More than 60% of holiday shoppers said they’ve already seen items marked “out of stock” when searching for gifts, according to Deloitte’s 2021 Holiday Retailer Survey, which was released before Thanksgiving. three quarters of Shoppers are concerned about stockouts, the survey found, especially with electronics, accessories and toys.

About four in 10 (39%) respondents said they might spend more this year because of higher prices, up from 20% last year. But for low-income groups, it’s the opposite: They are likely to spend less this year because of higher prices.

There are ways to increase your chances of finding affordable gifts, even in today’s environment. Here are some tactics that could help you save money:

1. Go all-in on Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday

Although many shoppers have been searching for Black Friday deals since the beginning of November, you can still find plenty of deals. Plus, these could be your last chances to find big discounts, especially on popular gift items.

“If you don’t shop on arguably the two best shopping days of the year, Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday, it may be too late to get a big discount until the Christmas sale,” Edgar Dworsky, Advocate for consumers and founder of Consumer World, told USA Today.

two. Check out refurbished items

It’s hard enough to find the latest electronics during a normal holiday season, but it’s especially hard this year due to a global shortage of microchips. If you can’t find a new laptop or smartphone as a gift, one option is to buy a refurbished one at a lower price. Major retailers like Walmart and Best Buy sell items that have been refurbished by manufacturers like Apple. Many work just as well as new models and come with the same warranties.

3. buy used gifts

This is a surefire way to save money this holiday season, and many Americans are expected to do so. An estimated $160 billion will be spent on used merchandise this year, according to an October survey by online marketplace Mercari and retail consultancy GlobalData. That’s nearly 15% more than in 2020. Good places to look are thrift stores, consignment stores, and online retailers like Poshmark and Tradesy, which sell used clothing and accessories.

See: This is how much I would save if I didn’t buy Christmas gifts
Find: Gifts Nobody Wants, and What to Buy Instead for the Same Price

Four. Bypass the supply chain altogether

If you can’t find gifts on your shopping list because they’re out of stock, consider giving something that doesn’t have to be shipped across the country or the world. Options here include tickets to concerts, sporting events, theater productions and amusement parks, or restaurant gift cards. These options can also help you save money because you can control how much you want to spend.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who has previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work has also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He has a bachelor’s degree in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting garnered awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards, and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting, and restaurant management. A North Carolina native who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story “Saint Christopher” came in second place in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories are featured in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His first novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.