BY HEATHER KENNERY
Every year around this time red and green lights flicker in store windows while shoppers busily march from store to store holding onto their frothy hot drinks that fog up the window displays. Being a student means that for most the piggy bank is not clanging as much as usual and thinking about Christmas may make your wallet feel more like a feather.
This year my own purse is carrying more school books than money so buying Christmas presents is going to be quite difficult. I want to give something to my family, my boyfriend, his family, my friends and even my dog. I have been searching for ideas on how to spend my money wisely and maybe still have a little for a large glass of heavily spiked eggnog, and these are what I have come up with.
Top 10 tips to save you money this year:
1. Give as a group.
If you can get your friends or family to all go in on one gift. You will be able to give a large gift with a divided price tag.
This website, like many other similar discount websites, gives you getaways and daily deals that allow you to purchase something at a large discounted price. You can add the free app to your smartphone which will send you notifications on upcoming deals that you can instantly purchase using a credit card. But read the fine print – most items have an expiry date.
3. Online beats the line.
Most people don’t realize that many stores offer less expensive pricing if you buy online rather than in-store. It also helps you skip the lines and browse in your pyjamas. With a minimum purchase most websites offer free shipping or you can pick your purchase up at a predetermined store location. A great example of this is Chapters. Their website, www.chapters.indigo.ca, has a pricing difference of anywhere from 10-50 per cent off the in-store price.
4. Get crafty.
This can be anything from calendars and photo-related crafts to hand-sewn pyjama pants. Think outside of the box and get your hands dirty in some glue and sparkles.
5. Change the date.
Most people expect to see a mountain of parcels peeking out from under the tree on Dec. 25. Celebrating Boxing Day means you can get the same things at a much better price. Try to convince your loved ones that shopping a day later could mean more for less.
6. Cross the border and cross off your list.
Black Friday is a holiday that comes after the U.S. Thanksgiving and is very similar to Boxing Day. This year it’s Nov. 23. With Canada Customs increasing the amount of goods we can bring back home if staying in the U.S. for 24 hours from $50 to $200, you have the chance to take a mini vacation and get some crazy deals on everything from electronics to clothing.
7. Card it.
If you have a points card, cash them in. Or, if you are a student there is a discount card called Student Price Card or SPC. For a low price of $11 with tax you can get discounts at over 100 stores by just flashing the card.
If an upcoming concert or event is happening sometime next year and the tickets aren’t on sale yet you can always leave a nice little note stating that you will be taking your loved one on a night out on you. It allows you to save up and pay for it later so all your money isn’t leaving all at once.
9. The match game.
With many stores boasting how they price match other stores’ offers, taking the time to dig through the flyers and clip out the better deals allows you to get the best price without wasting gas by driving all over town.
10. Shhh, it’s a secret.
Secret Santa is a perfect way to get a group of friends or a large family to decide to purchase a single gift for only one member of the group rather than getting a gift for every single person. This way a price limit is set and you don’t feel guilty for having to choose who to buy for. It also can be a great new tradition for your family or friends to start this year.