Holiday shopping may have some of its biggest days on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but there are ways to save money all through winter season. Today, I’ll cover a few strategies for winter shoppers in several categories.
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Seek Out Winter Travel Bargains
A lot of people spend extra to visit family and friends over the holidays, but if you’re looking for a less expensive getaway, winter might be a good time to escape. Even if you can’t take off for two weeks, you can still refresh yourself with a long weekend at a nearby destination. Call around to hotels or spas within a few hours’ drive and ask if discounted rates are available. A lot of places will welcome visitors during a season that’s less hectic than summer.
If you’re looking to warm up, then Fodor’s recommends cities like San Diego, Savannah, and Charleston, among others. You probably won’t run into the crowds that summer can attract, and hotel rooms and restaurant reservations might be easier to come by.
On the other hand, for those who enjoy wintry destinations, New York Magazine recommends various sites in Vermont, Colorado, and British Columbia as well as certain European locations. Keep an eye out for extras like discounts on equipment rentals for skiing or snowboarding, lift tickets, lessons, or other amenities.
Popular tourist destinations like Las Vegas or Hawaii tend to offer a lot to visitors all year long. Check out the official tourism site of your favorite destination to see if they have discounted packages or recommendations for attractions.
While you’re at your hotel, check your room or the lobby for magazines or brochures catering to visitors — they’re often full of discounted offers. Take an Entertainment book with you if you think it will pay for itself. For even more savings, check our article on when and where to go for the cheapest travel rates.
Find Savings For Your Home
Another area where you can save is by making sure you prepare your home for the winter. Winterizing your home by having the right inspections, repairs and cleanings done before winter sets in can save you a bundle and help you avoid mishaps caused by the cold weather and possible weather disturbances: for example, cleaning the gutters before storms head your way should be on top of your to-do list! This may be a time to whip out your Home Depot credit card.
Save On Clothes & Things to Buy in Winter
If I hunt around, I might be able to find bargains on out-of-season clothing. Who knows… maybe even items intended for the back-to-school season might still be lingering on the clearance racks during early winter.
When it comes to things to buy in winter, I always think of those white sales the department stores have on linens and bedding. Bankrate.com says that there are a lot of sales to be found at this time, including groceries (think turkey and items for baking after the holidays), outdoor gear from gas grills to bicycles and boats, air conditioners, hardware, carpet and flooring, and furniture. Also, take a look at electronics like DVD players and TVs.
Traditionally, the day after a holiday is a great time to pick up lots of seasonal stuff on sale, such as discounted decorations, gifts, themed decor, or partyware like paper plates and napkins. If you have the storage space, stock up for next year’s Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s, Valentine’s, or other celebration. Snap up the greeting cards and gift wrap if they’re available, too.
Have a Frugal Winter Wedding
If you’re a bride or groom willing to risk the weather, a winter wedding can be cheaper than one at the height of June. According to MSN Money, you can save on banquet facilities, flowers, photography, and limos if you plan for weddings in January, February, or March. That’s because demand is down among vendors during this time.
It’s hard to forecast the weather that far ahead, but you might want to come up with a contingency plan in case snow or storms make travel difficult for your guests or attendants. For winter weddings, The Knot suggests having the ceremony and reception at the same location or to have your phone ready to dial up a car service to escort guests home.
Keep Entertainment Costs Low
Once the holidays wrap up, you can keep family and friends in touch in several ways. Invite people over for a night of potluck dinner and movies, or fire up the video games or board games everyone got as gifts during the holidays.
If you and several friends are hosting different Super Bowl parties, split your costs by making a joint run to Costco or another place where you can buy in bulk together. Trade recipes for the best buffalo wings, pizza, flavored popcorn, or other treats.