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How to save money and get the best deals while on vacation


The holidays are a special time of year, but with higher prices for most everyday items, many people are trying to find ways to spread holiday cheer on the cheap this season.

Retail analysts say consumers are extending their holiday shopping and looking for deals to stave off inflation. Buyers are being helped by excessive orders from some retailers earlier this year, a misstep that led them to cut prices early to move bloated inventory.

“Consumers should expect deep discounts as retailers continue to work through inventory and try to differentiate themselves amidst all the inflationary pressures on discretionary spending,” said Chris Walton, co-founder of the sales lab at the Third Haus retail in Minneapolis and a retail blog called Omni. Talk.

Here’s a look at how you can get the most out of your money this holiday season:

Plan ahead

Budgeting is an easy way to make sure you’re not overspending. Not only do you need to budget for gifts for other people, but you also need to plan how much money you plan to spend on items for yourself, like that coffee maker you had your eye on that eventually went on sale. , said Lisa Baker, founder of the blog TwinCitiesFrugalMom. .com.

“Know your budget and what you’re shopping for now and stick to it,” Baker said.

Baker recently released its site’s annual Black Friday price comparison sheet to help shoppers plan and compare prices for many freebies.

Keep track of receipts

Many consumers are expected to start their holiday shopping earlier this year. Already, Amazon, Target and Best Buy have started their holiday sales. With so many promotions spread over such a long period, it can be hard to know if you’re really getting the best deal, said Anne Mezzenga, the other co-founder of Omni Talk blog and retail lab Third Haus. .

His advice is to create a folder in your inbox to store receipts for your vacation purchases. You can take these receipts to most retailers that match prices if they drop by the end of the year in their stores or if another retailer has the same item cheaper.

“If you have the time and the patience, having a place to reference prices will be helpful,” Mezzenga said.

Shop unusual places

Morgan Molitor, of Minneapolis-based interior design and renovation firm Construction2Style, hunts down vintage stores once a week. Some of his favorite spots are the Goodwill in Chanhassen and a string of vintage stores in Elk River. She also suggests buying your own house for the holidays for a quick decor refresh by moving rooms around and reusing items for decorations.

Need cheap table decor? You can often find it in nature, Molitor said. She sometimes grabs pampas grass from the ditches and hydrangeas from her garden to add to her centerpieces. Pro Tip: Spray plants with hairspray to help them last.

Give gifts that others can give

One of the best holiday gifts Molitor had recently received were some lovely lefse containers that his friend had made and given as gifts with enough stuff for Molitor to give away anything she didn’t use as a gift. ‘other people.

Putting things like puppy food, cookies, and even soup in multiple giveaway containers so the recipient can have some and share with others is a cheap and thoughtful way to ensure your gifts are not wasted, she said.

Don’t buy a lot of cheap toys

“If you’re feeling budget constraints this year, resist the urge to buy a lot of cheaper products,” said Erika Olson Gross, co-owner of Kinoko Kids in Minneapolis. “Kids don’t need a million presents.”

She suggested that it would be more cost-effective to purchase a limited number of quality open-ended toys, such as wooden blocks, which could provide a longer period of developmental play time and engage children beyond the holidays.

Take advantage of free activities

Don’t forget that over the next couple of months the Twin Cities will be hosting lots of free events that can keep your family entertained. Cities often host festivals, markets, and park celebrations that are free to attend. Last month alone, Baker’s website posted dozens of free events on its calendar, including a Halloween celebration at St. Paul’s Union Depot and a Nickelodeon Universe dance party at the Mall of America.

Different dates, different savings

Each month, different sales themes are offered. For example, in November, Halloween items are on clearance, as are party baking supplies and wedding dresses that boutiques are trying to remove, Baker said. In December, retailers like Target often offer discounts on gift cards. December 14 is National Free Shipping Day, which takes place every year in mid-December. Not only do shoppers need to be aware of sales, but they also need to keep track of what’s in season when preparing holiday recipes.

Handmade gifts do the job

There are so many inexpensive, handmade gifts kids will love because for many kids, the experience of opening a gift is half the fun, Baker said. She said people should consider giving bubble wrap or wrapping a variety of small gifts in layers of plastic wrap that the recipient has to unwrap. Another suggestion is edible gifts like homemade hot chocolate bombs.

Shop locally

“I think people are focusing more and more each year … on buying locally made and locally sourced products,” said Mich Berthiaume, a local retail expert who has helped organize pop-up markets in cities. twins for years.

This season, Berthiaume is in charge of hosting local markets at Dayton’s Project in downtown Minneapolis, Viking Lakes in Eagan, the Four Seasons Hotel in Minneapolis, and the Market at Malcolm Yards near University Avenue near the border between Minneapolis and St. Paul. .

Berthiaume said to prepare in advance for seasonal markets by visiting Facebook and Instagram to check festival and fair times and see which vendors will be at which market. Berthiaume said she wouldn’t haggle at markets, but manufacturers often run promotions that shoppers can find on social media. Many local stores also wrap gifts for free.

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