Shop Smarter, not Harder

Sarah Jagnow, Eyes on Owls Editor

Everyone wants to get their friends and family an amazing gift for the holidays, but the best gift can sometimes end up being a pricey one.  Here are a few tricks and tips for holiday shopping.



Sales can be appealing, but often times stores can hide the price in shipping costs or raise the price right before they put it on sale.  Looking for sales can be a great way to save money while finding a perfect gift for your BFF, but you might not be saving as much money as you thought.  Try shopping for what your friend would want, and if it happens to be on sale that’s great, but don’t let it be the deciding factor.

Set a price range-

If you set a price range for each person you are planning on buying a gift for then you are less likely to spend too much money on one person.  Also, never put on a minimum amount of money spent on a single person.  If you think they’d like it don’t write it off because it’s inexpensive.  


Searching by price-

When online shopping it is easy to find the perfect gift, only to find that it is too expensive.  Many websites including Amazon, GameStop, Claire’s, and many other online stores have an option to search by price.  This guarantees that you won’t fall in love with something that is out of your price range.



Quality over quantity.  Never be worried about a gift being too small.  Just make sure that the packaging for a small gift isn’t large because that just kind of looks funny.  Sometimes when shopping for younger kids (ages 3-8) larger gifts can be more fun to open, in that case it makes sense to get a large sized gift.


Build up-

The longer it takes to open a gift, the more memorable it will be.  If you really don’t have much money for a gift, buy a few small gifts from a dollar section of a target, walmart, or other stores.  With those gifts you can make a fun scavenger hunt or even wrap them in several boxes, all wrapped up with colorful paper.  

Shopping in person-

Shipping costs, and returning costs, can be really expensive.  Especially when buying from a store like Amazon or Ebay where you are not guaranteed the product that you are expecting.  If you shop in an actual store you are able to see, feel, and sometimes even smell the product you are buying.



DIY gifts are everywhere, and honestly lots of them aren’t ones that people would want.  Making your own cards is a good way to add a special flair to your gift, and it is often cheaper than buying cards from a grocery store or online.  You can even decorate a box for the gift using clips from magazines and modge podge.  

Buy one get one free always sounds like a good deal, but you always pay for the more expensive items and get the cheaper ones for free.  If you want to save the most money possible, try to buy two items of similar price.

Today Only!-

Today only deals often are stretched out to more than one day, so don’t feel pressured by deals that are said to only last for 24 hours.  These can often give you a false sense of urgency and cause you to buy something you don’t need!


Do an activity-
Instead of giving a gift to a friend or parent, do an activity with them!  Quality time can be an even better gift than anything bought with money.  Window shopping, looking at the pretty lights, or even a promise for an awesome sleepover sometime soon can be a popular idea.


Love language-

The reason for giving gifts during the holiday season is to share love, not money.  By knowing the love language of a friend or parents you can better guess what kind of gift they would like.  It might just be the gift of a card and hug or some quality time.


Group gifts-

If you find a gift for someone that is perfect, yet out of your price range, consider teaming up with a friend to get the gift!