Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Thrifty Thinking: Holiday Shopping Tips from Strongbark

US consumers spent over $42 billion shopping online during the 2013 holiday season alone. This spend is expected to rise for 2014. 

Jillian Pandav, Marketing Coordinator at Strongbark, a new private social shopping site launched in September with over 2,500 retailers and 75,000+ offers available daily, can offer tips for this year’s savvy holiday shopper on how to save the most on gifts for family and friends.

1.    Use coupon codes when you shop. We really can’t express the importance of this enough – companies put out deals every day offering everything from Free Shipping to discounts on a specific product, to site-wide sales.  Don’t miss out – always check for coupon codes on sites like before making your purchase.

2.    Participate in Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. I can almost hear you silently groaning to yourself, but a lot of companies save their biggest and best promotions for these two days. And with the huge emergence of online shopping, you no longer have to deal with the massive crowds at your local shopping malls in order to benefit.

3.     Start your shopping as early as possible.  While there definitely are benefits to some last minute shopping (more on that in a minute), the early bird really does get the discounted worm in most cases. As soon as Halloween is over, the sales begin (and sometimes even before).

4.     Look up some ideas for DIY gifts. Websites such as Pinterest offer some great inspiration from people all over the world who make their own gifts, which can potentially be a lot cheaper and sometimes more meaningful than purchasing a gift outright. We would suggest using Pinterest as a search engine to find what you’re looking for, and then purchasing those basic items you need to make it happen.

5.    Subscribe to Deals newsletters and blogs.  It’s nearly impossible to keep up on all the deals yourself, especially if you’re a busy person. The solution? Subscribe to blogs that curate and showcase deals (such as the MyBark Blog) and sign up for their newsletters, so you can get the deals delivered right to your inbox.

6.    Use store credit cards if you have them.  Some companies will really ramp up their Rewards programs around the holidays, so if you got it, use it.

7.    Dig up old gift cards you may have laying around. This might sound a little odd, but it’s easy to forget that you have a gift card sitting at home, just waiting to be used. Maybe it’s from last Christmas, or maybe it was from your birthday. Either way, check to see if you have any and if so, use those towards your purchases.

8.    Buy in bulk when purchasing ingredients for your Holiday recipes. Stores such as Sam’s Club or Costco are great for buying ingredients in bulk for a great price. Once you figure out your recipes, buy in bulk as opposed to doubling up on single items at your local grocery store.

9.    Save the stocking stuffers for those last-minute deals. While we definitely wouldn’t advise saving ALL of your shopping until the last minute, certain items, such as stocking stuffers,  DO tend to go on clearance the closer the holidays approach.

10.  If you’re hosting a holiday dinner, make it a potluck or a BYOB (or both). Food and beverages can definitely be expensive, so if you’re hosting a holiday party this year, we suggest telling people to bring a dish or beverage to contribute.

Check out and instantly gain access to more than 75,000 offers from over 2,500 companies, including the big-name brands you know and love.

Want more advice on how to save money? Check out our MyBark Blog for some great ideas on how to save.

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