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It's the most wonderful time of the year for everyone and everything - except, perhaps, your wallet. 

While the holiday season brings festive cheer to many, it can also take a rather severe toll on your bank account, with parties, festive gifts, and holiday dining all combining to take a very large chunk of change from your savings.

Thankfully, FEMAIL has some top tips to help you make the most of what money you have to spend - and ensure in particular that you don't waste a single penny while picking up your presents this year, leaving you with more money in the bank to use on other things. 

And, to make the gift giving experience even easier for you, FEMAIL has also put together the ultimate gift guide to help you pick up the perfect present for every person on your list, from unicorn-obsessed fairy tale fans to health-obsessed wellness gurus - whether they've been naughty or nice!

 

Save money this season with these top shopping tips

Shopping for gifts can be stressful at the best of times, but during the holiday season, things tend to ramp up and get all the more manic. 

Thankfully, RetailMeNot shopping expert Sara Skirboll is here to help with a host of tips and tricks to ensure you have the easiest and most enjoyable gift buying experience, from picking up the presents and scoring some superb deals - to returning any unwanted gifts at the end of the holiday season.

Plus she will ensure you save more than a few dollars along the way...

  1. Plan ahead: A big mistake made when holiday shopping is to making a purchase without doing research beforehand. Oftentimes there are deals or even lower prices for the same item. I suggest searching the web for the items on your shopping list first to see which retailer is selling them for the lowest price.
  2. Email alerts: Sign up to receive email newsletters from all your favorite retailers now to keep track of the latest discounts, flash sales and crazy good deals. And as a bonus, retail sites typically send you a first-time subscriber discount for your next order. 
  3. Stack those savings: To maximize savings, combine offers or coupons with discount gift cards for your favorite retailers. For example, purchase a $100 gift card to Macy’s for $90. That’s $10 of savings on top of 30% off your entire purchase.
  4. Stay at home: Shoppers who wish to avoid the crowds can opt to purchase gift cards, make DIY presents or give an experience like wine tasting or cooking classes. 
  5. Turn credit card points into gifts: Watching your credit card points build up may be fun, but if you’re like many folks, you’re not sure what to do with them. Consider using those points to order gift cards to give as gifts or to fund your holiday shopping trips.
  6. Use social media: Some retailers offer exclusive savings to people who follow them on Twitter and Instagram or 'like' them on Facebook. Find out if you can save by following some of your favorite retailers. (You can always unfollow them later.) 
  7. Stay organized with a list: When presents are wrapped or stowed away, you might forget what you’ve already bought. To avoid overbuying, create a list of the gifts you’d like to purchase and highlight the ones you’ve already bought.
  8. Return unwanted gifts at the right time: If you can’t hit the mall before noon, wait until after January 1st to wait until the post-holiday sales die down. 
  9. Tick tock: Make sure that you are returning within the stores return window. Most are in the 30-90 day range, but there are some stores like Athleta, Nordstrom, Kohls and Bed Bath and Beyond that have unlimited return windows. 
  10. Keep notes: Have return and exchange policies in hand. These can be found on the receipt or on the store’s website. 
  11. Save receipts and order confirmations: Keeping a record of purchases and when they are expected to arrive is crucial to staying organized. You never know when you may need to do an exchange or return. If you are an online shopper - make a folder specifically for your holiday shopping order confirmations - they are easier to find later.
  12. Pass it on: If you receive a gift card you don’t think you will use, you can sell them on websites like Raise for either cash or you can purchase a new one to one of your favorite retailers. 
 

FEMAIL'S HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2017 

For fairy tale fans 

Rifle Paper Co. Notebook Set $14.00 

Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-5138377/FEMAIL-reveals-tips-saving-money-holiday-season.html?ITO=1490

Make a list, check it twice - and use social media for deals! Shopping expert reveals genius tips for saving money this festive season, as FEMAIL shares a guide to the perfect ...
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