The following is a paid advertisement written by a member of the Mustang Media Group advertising team.
The holidays are here, are you ready? Here are five tips for your holiday shopping strategy:
1. Take inventory
As students of Cal Poly we are used to learning by doing, but in holiday shopping we learn by studying. Specifically, study what items you already have. Before spending money on extra duct tape, wrapping paper, or Christmas decorations, check what items you don’t need to buy again. And on the other hand, make sure you know which items need to be replaced.
2. Make a budget
Holiday shopping can quickly spiral out of control without a proper budget. Set a limit on how much you want to spend this year, and be sure to include expenses other than gifts. When planning your spending, be honest and open about what you typically spend money on. Don’t forget costs like food, decorations, or gasoline when budgeting for the vacation. Don’t be afraid to set aside a little extra cash to cover unexpected costs.
3. Keep a list
The holiday game plan works best when you stick to a list. Many stores are super designed to make you spend money. The best way to combat this is to make a fully planned list. Sales and discounts might push you over budget for things you didn’t want in the first place. Lists combat this by encouraging you to stick to the plan.
4. Buy strategically
Once you’ve made a list, you can create a buying plan to get everything for the best price. Search coupons, sales, and rewards programs from different stores to find hidden discounts. Make every purchase count by paying with cards that earn points for purchases to maximize your purchasing power, like your SESLOC HomeFREE Checking ™ debit card. Plus, you can stretch your vacation budget by using your debit reward points. You can redeem your points for merchandise, gift cards, or use Pay With Points * to get reimbursed for qualifying purchases in real time.
5. Buy local
The best gifts are the ones that make the most sense. What better way to show it than by going off the beaten track and shopping at local stores. Supporting small businesses not only helps the community, but also shows that you have spent time finding the best gift for your loved ones. Buying locally can also mean providing experiences that will be cherished forever. A kayaking trip off the central coast or a zipline adventure could be the perfect gift for those you love.
* See Pay With Points terms, conditions, restrictions and eligibility at sesloc.org.