holiday presents, how to save on presents, holiday shopping
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Saving & Spending

This blogger wants you to save a buck on holiday shopping

Destiney Green of "Mom Crush Monday" shares her tips for buying awesome—and affordable—presents.

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'Tis the season for some shopping.

Many of us spent our childhoods sending super-long, imaginative wish lists to Santa Claus, but thankfully we've since learned it's often better to give than to receive. There's no better feeling than seeing a friend, colleague or family member's eyes light up when they receive a gift they really love.

Of course, giving a great gift feels even better when you got it for a steal.

As a mother of one and founder of lifestyle blog Mom Crush Monday, Destiney Green knows a thing or two about finding great deals. Here are some of her tips on finding awesome—and affordable—holiday presents. Go ahead, use the money you save on presents to plan a last-minute holiday getaway or intimate dinner with friends and family.

1. Shop ahead of time

Want to buy great gifts? There's no better time than right now to get started.

"Finding thoughtful gifts is all about timing," Green says, adding she once started her holiday shopping as early as July. "We're often rushing to get gifts in the last minute, but wind up spending a lot of money."

Getting a head start on your holiday shopping will not only give you some peace of mind, but it'll help keep costs down. When you have some time to spare, you can track prices and buy items once they're on sale. Green estimates early bird shoppers can save between 40 and 50 percent on their holiday spending.

2. Take advantage of big shopping days

If you weren't able to buy presents months in advance, mark your calendars for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which are famous for their big savings.

Instead of aimlessly scrolling through websites or roaming around brick-and-mortar stores, Green recommends creating a shopping strategy beforehand. "You'll save a lot of stress and time by looking ahead to find out what's going to be on sale," she says. "Narrow down what you are looking for and compare the best deals across several stores."

3. Make a list (and check it twice)

For Green, the secret to great gifts is purchasing items that remind you of the people you're buying them for.

"I take note throughout the year of what they have and what they like," she explains." I pay attention to their favorite colors and animals. I start early so I can get thoughtful gifts at the best price."

Thinking through each gift will pay off when you see the look on their faces, plus you'll save recipients the hassle of returning unwanted gifts.

4. Broaden your search

Malls, boutiques, and websites aren't the only places to buy a special something for your loved ones. According to Green, grocery and dollar stores also sell creative presents at a reasonable price point. Not only can you pick up presents on your weekly errands run, you can take advantage of your grocery store's coupons and save even more.

Speaking of supermarkets, here are five other ways to stretch your dollar at the grocery store.

5. Get crafty

Fancy wrapping paper won't make or break your present, but it does serve as a thoughtful finishing touch. Many sites and stores offer gift wrapping for a few dollars per present, but you can keep costs down by doing it on your own.

"Make your own labels and purchase ribbon in bulk," Green says. "You can buy brown paper and have fun with ribbon and embellishments to really personalize."

You can use a large roll of wrapping paper for several presents, and it'll only cost you a couple dollars at drugstores or wholesale clubs.

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