Still haven't written your shopping list? Slept in on black Friday? Even for last minute shoppers, it's not too late to cut back on holiday spending! Check out these 10 Smiley tips:
Still haven’t written your shopping list? Slept in on black Friday? Even for last minute shoppers, it’s not too late to cut back on holiday spending! Check out these 10 Smiley tips:

1. Say No to Retail Price

‘Tis the season…of sales! So as you purchase gifts for your loved ones, there is no need to pay full price. Whether you’re shopping online or in person, most stores are offering good discounts this time of year. Be careful not to fall into any traps—although there are a lot of sales, the full priced items can sneak up on you.

2. Gift of Art

If you have the gift of being artistic, then why not give it as a present? DIY gifts are becoming more and more popular, and with the great sentimental value they hold, it’s no wonder how this holiday saving tip made our list!

3. Shopping Online: Don’t Pay for Shipping

You might be a little late on holiday shopping, but not too late to order online and receive your gifts on time! Check out this list of stores that offer free shipping until December 20th…

Amazon.com 
(orders of $25 or more)

Apple.com
(orders of $50 or more)

Barnesandnoble.com 
(orders of $25 or more)

Bloomingdales.com 
(orders of $150 or more)

Drugstore.com 
(orders of $25 or more)

DSW.com
(with free membership, or orders of $35 or more)

Kohls.com
(no minimum)

Landsend.com
(orders of $50 or more)

Macys.com
(orders of $99 or more)

4. Homemade Gift Wrapping

Let’s be honest, presents aren’t the only expense this season. Buying wrapping paper, gift bags and holiday cards also adds up! Save money by making these things yourself. Buy cheap plain bags and cards and decorate as you please, we guarantee your loved ones will be charmed by your creativity.

P.S. Smiley Bonus Tip: Check your local stores for this product from one of our current missions: BIC® Mark-It® markers, they come in 36 colors and would be great to put this tip to practice!

5. Special Discounts

If you’re a student, veteran, senior or even member of certain clubs you are eligible to get discounts in different stores. For example, J.Crew offers a 15% discount to teachers and college students and Old Navy offers a 10% discount to active and veteran members of the military. When you’re checking out at the register, ask if any of these special discounts are offered. They just require for you to show identification that proves your status, piece of cake!

6. Holiday Gift Exchanges

Got a big family? Instead of buying a gift for each member, propose organizing a gift exchange. The best part is, you no longer have to pick out of a hat since there are websites that make this process simple and fun! We recommend Elfster, a platform that secretively assigns the names for you. It makes the gift exchange an experience by incorporating features like wishlists, anonymous Q&A (think “what is your favorite color?”), activity updates, group discussions, and more.

7. MIY: Make it Yourself

One of the nicest parts about the holidays is spending time in the kitchen making old and new recipes for everyone! Whether it’s with grandma, your children or a friend, the process of making something from scratch is a special bonding activity. Save money by sticking to this instead of buying your holiday dishes elsewhere! Apple pie, spinach dip, lasagna…yum, tastes better homemade!

P.S. Smiley Bonus Tip: Checkout these dip recipes you can make at home with Frank’s® Red Hot®, a delicious product from one of our current missions.

8. Cash your Gifts

Out of the $48 billion in credit card points cardholders rake in each year, about $16 billion go unredeemed. If you have a rewards card with points building up, you can and should turn them into presents. Don’t have a rewards card? Check out Ebates, a website where you get a percentage  of cash back for purchases in all your favorites stores!

9. Create a Budget

No matter how late you start, it’s important to make a shopping list and budget. Make sure to to stick to the list as much as you can. You might be tempted to add a few extra names, but remember not every single one of your Facebook friends needs a gift from you. A budget is also very important, if you don’t give yourself a limit there’s no telling how much you might spend!

10. Track your spending

Last but not least, keeping a spreadsheet of your holiday expenses will definitely come in handy next year. You can look back and see where you went wrong, or if you follow these Smiley tips, incredibly right!