Now that the holiday shopping season is officially underway, it’s time to consider what’s next for your finances during this time. I always get a little depressed about the whole holiday shopping thing because, once you get beyond buying gifts for your loved ones, it just seems like it’s too easy to get caught up in the frenzy of buying things just to buy things.

No matter your plan, or your holiday budget, there are some ways to make the most of your holiday shopping experience:

Look for Coupons, Promos, and Special Codes

Holiday ShoppingOne of the best things you can do is look for ways to spend less this holiday season. Take advantage of coupons, promos, and special codes. At the very least, there is a good chance that you can save on shipping. Many sites are offering free shipping codes (check for plenty of savings on shipping).

You can also use sites like Ebates to help you earn cash back, and find coupon codes and other special promos to use. Look for special deals in-store, as well as online, and remember to stack your coupon use when you go to the store. Do whatever you can to save a little extra this holiday season, and you could find yourself spending less.

Take Advantage of Credit Card Rewards

Now is a great time to take advantage of your credit card rewards. I put all of my Christmas shopping on the cash back rewards card. As a result, I’m getting some of the money I spent back. It’s only going to be 1% to 5% back, depending on what I buy, but it’s still cash back, and it still matters. Every little bit helps. Use your credit card rewards along with your special discounts, and you can spend even less overall.

Remember, though, that you have to pay off the balance in order to have this work out properly. Otherwise, you will end up paying a high rate of interest. That can completely offset any rewards you earn, and put in a worse position. You need to be careful when you use your credit card to make holiday spending purchases.

Avoid Spending When You Can

Of course, the best way to make the most of your holiday shopping season is to avoid spending money when you can. There are a number of ways to enjoy the holiday season without spending a lot of money. Have a homemade Christmas so that you spend less, but still offer unique and personal gifts.

You can also avoid spending by taking a step back and asking yourself if the spending you are doing is really necessary. Too often, it’s tempting to buy something because it’s a “deal” or because it’s “on sale.” Really evaluate your purchases, and determine whether or not you are actually going to make solid use of the item. A little conscious spending can go a long way toward helping you avoid wasting your holiday dollars.

What are some of your best tips for making the most of your holiday shopping?



Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.