We've got seven great holiday shopping tips and hacks that are sure to save your time, money, and sanity this holiday season! Plus, you'll earn some money, too!

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Ho ho ho, and happy holidays, Freebs Nation! The trees are going up, the epic Christmas sweaters are coming out, it's that time of year again… Time to get yo' holiday shopping on, what what!

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It's the mooooost wonderful time of the year (sing it, Andy Williams!). It's also the most expensive time of the year. Dun dun dunnnn. Luckily for you, I've got seven great holiday shopping tips to keep from breaking the budget. They'll make your shopping so easy and so affordable, you won't know what hit ya! So, are you ready for this?

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See what I mean? The best holiday shopping tips that will save you some time and monay monay! Keep on reading for a summary AND for the Rakuten info…

SET A HOLIDAY SHOPPING BUDGET

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You've heard me say it time and time again… You need to set a holiday budget and stick to it! Use my tips on how to budget for the holidays and get that holiday spending in check. Set an overall budget for the holiday, and then break down that budget into different categories. Some categories may be gifts (by person), decor, entertaining (get some great tips for entertaining on a budget HERE), and travel.

The best time to figure out your holiday shopping budget is in January. This allows you to save monthly rather than trying to come up with all of the money at one time once December hits.

But where do I put that money that I'm saving for the holiday budget?

Good question! You should have a Family Regular Savings Account you're putting that money into monthly. Easily figure out saving for your holiday budget in this post.

MAKE YOUR LISTS EARLY…

But don't start shopping too early! Say what now, Mama J?! Okay, okay, let me explain! Some people may swear by starting their Christmas shopping in the summer so they're not having to do it all at once in November and December. However, you'll find the best prices and save the most money starting in November. (Hello, early Black Friday sales!)

Keep your eyes on the sales. Look at the mailers that come in your “junk” mail, or the emails you get from your favorite stores. Watch deal sites, such as Groupon, to see when things on your list go on sale. (Just make sure you're only buying things that are on your list or else you'll end up blowing your budget on things you didn't need!)

SHOP ONLINE TO SAVE MONEY

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Seriously, what did we do before we could shop online?! I don't know about you, but I definitely love being able to do ALL of my holiday shopping without having to get out of my comfy pants! It's so convenient to shop wherever you are without fighting the crowds or traveling to multiple stores. Save your sanity, save your gas, and prevent having to pack up your kids to go to the store!

Doing your holiday shopping online also helps to prevent impulse buys! There's no getting caught up in buying all of the great deals at the store that you don't necessarily need. Your holiday budget will thank you! ๐Ÿ˜‰

USE RAKUTEN WHEN SHOPPING ONLINE

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You've heard me say it before, and I'll say it again for the people in the back. If you're doing any shopping online (it doesn't just have to be for holiday shopping), use Rakuten!!!

I've been using Rakuten (formerly eBates) for years. It's the largest cash-back site, and it allows you to get cash back when you're shopping both online and in stores. If you're shopping online, then Rakuten probably has those sites covered! Why not earn a little cash back in your wallet if you're already shopping those sites, anyway?!

Sign up with Rakuten, which is completely free, and start getting cash back NOW! Receive a $10 welcome bonus when you spend your first $25 shopping online. All you have to do is go through Rakuten's site or app, click on the online store you're going to shop, and start earning money while you shop.

OTHER WAYS TO SAVE MONEY WHILE HOLIDAY SHOPPING

In addition to shopping online and getting cash back, follow these handy tricks to save the ultimate amount of money!

  • Price Match – There are a number of stores that will price match their competitors, even online! Go online and figure out which store carries the most items on your shopping list. Consolidate your shopping list so you're doing your best shopping on the cheapest site! If you buy enough, you're practically guaranteed to get free shipping. Score!
  • Get on Email & Text Lists for Your Favorite Companies – During the holidays, all your favorite companies are sending out deals and coupons, notifying you when sales are going on. You may get tired of all of the emails clogging your inbox… But you can easily unsubscribe from those lists later! It's totally worth it to save money.
  • Add Things to Your Cart Online – …And then let it sit! Some companies will notify you if the items in your cart have dropped. Other companies will notice if you've put an item in your cart and will email you an exclusive discount or incentive to complete your purchase. This will save you even more money and you'll be checking items off your holiday shopping list!

Pro Tip: Create a separate email solely for shopping deals! This way you don't clog up your regular email inbox, and you won't be tempted with deals when you're not actively shopping!

BUY EXPERIENCES, NOT THINGS

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I'm sure we all have that one person in our life who is so hard to buy for. The men in my life are impossible to shop for. (Seriously, I'm talking to you, Dad!) Rather than trying to think of things to buy for them, I like to gift experiences, such as:

  • Something you do together as quality time.
  • A way for them to try something new.
  • Massages or something relaxing.
  • A new hobby.
  • Tickets to events.
  • A weekend away.
  • Services, such as house cleaning (if they would enjoy that and not be offended!).

Groupon is a great site where you can find discounts or coupon codes for experiences. And even better? Rakuten partners with Groupon, so you can earn some cash-ola while you're buying the experiences! For those who really have it all, buy them the gift of something new, exciting and fun in the way of experiences rather than just another thing they don't need.

So there you go! My best holiday shopping tips and tricks that will save you time and money. What's your best shopping tip to save time and money? Let us know in the comments!

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Happy holiday shopping! XOXO

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