I did a big chunk of my holiday shopping over (American) Thanksgiving weekend, which most people I know do as well. With Black Fridays deals, it’s the best way to get the gifts you want for low prices. (and, um, treat yourself, right?)
Buuuut at the end of the sales rush, I always end up with those few presents I still have to get. Usually my brother and grandfather are hold-outs—they never say what they want or they wait until the week before Christmas. *sigh*
If, like me, you still have gifts to purchase AND you like to make holiday shopping as easy on your wallet as possible (or you just want to add some presents for yourself under the tree, haha) then this is THE GUIDE for you! I’ll be imparting my best tricks for budget-friendly gift purchasing.
*Reminder that I, Sha, am Canadian and some stores may only be in Canada.
Obviously I was going to start here!
1. Book Outlet. Book Outlet offers books at bargain prices (down to $1 a book!). The bulk of your shopping would be done through the website (they ship internationally), although there is a physical store in Ontario, Canada. Examples:
2. Book Depository. If you shop books online, be thorough! BD is quick to get new YA releases. It’s even better if you want to send an international friend a gift certificate. With BD gift certificates, you only need to email the code you will receive upon purchase, and they can redeem for the respective amount! Suuuper easy and the site is available to many different countries. Examples:
3. Value Village. This goes for all second-hand stores that also stock books. I stop by the Value Villages in my area (there are two) from time to time to see what books have been donated, and recent finds include The Apollo Trials #1 by Rick Riordan, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, and Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin. Books are priced $1.79 to $5.99 and they usually run a buy four get one free promo.
4. BookBub. I’m still learning about BookBub, but the feature I enjoy most are the eBooks deals. BookBub compiles a ton of great deals for eBooks as low as 1.99 or even free. For people that love to read but can’t afford the prices of physical books, BookBub is a great option.
Other options: Check the sale section at your favourite bookseller. Ask your friends if they have any books they are donating. Buy an eBook version instead of a physical copy.
MAKEUP & BEAUTY
I have seriously slacked on the beauty posts, and even in RL I wear less than I used to, but I still know a few ways to save!
1. TJX Companies. That sounds so official and corporate. I’m talking about all the companies working under this corporation which focus on selling “off-price” merchandise—AKA high quality goods at reduced prices. Winners, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeSense. You can find discounted perfume, skin care, hair products, and all kinds of makeup with the same quality as if you bought at the original price. The only catch? You can’t walk in expecting such-and-such to be in stock, and they have limited quantities. You cannot shop online, either.
2. e.l.f. cosmetics. If you’re an expert beauty queen (or shopping for an expert beauty queen), you’d probably turn your nose up at e.l.f. BUT if you’re shopping for someone who is neither an expert nor planning on being an expert (or just wants low-priced makeup to practice) I suggest e.l.f. They’re cruelty-free, well-made products and a lot of the skin care is really good. If you’d like recommendations, let me know!
Other options: Check the sale section at Sephora/ULTA, but be wary: often discounted items are there because of low product reviews. Make your own DIY beauty products (but make sure your recipient is someone who appreciates hand-made gifts). These are fun to do, organic, and heartfelt!
BOOK MERCH / DECOR
Here, I have little on ways to save. But I will impart the wisdom that I do have, and share some book merch faves.
1. Amazon. It’s everything in one place, of course it would be on this list. I’ve found a lot of my book decor on Amazon (indirectly, after abstractly typing things like “book kleenex holder” and “book phone case”). You can price match by checking to see if there are other products listed as well as easily see customer reviews. Examples:
2. Etsy. Etsy hosts thousands of artists. There is no average price, so it really depends on what you are purchasing and who you are purchasing from. The worst aspect (in terms of pricing) is shipping. I have found success with local Etsy markets, where I can physically buy from the artists. The quality of what you get is often amazing and knowing someone spent actual time putting their heart into what your get makes your gift even more special. Also consider other artisan markets! I would share some, but they’re all local, and not much use, haha.
Other options: Create your own! Here’s my own guide to making DIY Bookmarks. (Again, make sure the recipient likes DIY gifts.) You can also win book merch through publisher and author giveaways (via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and newsletters).
No matter where you are shopping *online*, here are options for you to save at check-out and get some extra cash back.
1. Ebates. Get an account on this site, and every time you make a purchase online, you will get cash back. You need to make sure you go through the site first (or download the toolbar) and then you will get a payment every six months for the money you’ve made.
1. Honey. Add this to your toolbar and it will automatically search to find coupons to add to your shopping cart.
Do you still have gifts to buy? Are the holidays a money-crunch for you, too?