6 tips for making your holiday shopping efficient and productive

Elevate your holiday shopping game. Get practical strategies for budgeting, finding deals, and using tech for smarter spending.

6 tips for making your holiday shopping efficient and productive

Christmas is fun, sure, but why does holiday shopping feel like an extra side hustle without the extra bag? 💀 Yes, it’s the most wonderful - and expensive - time of the year. But that’s where smart budgeting and some shopping hacks come into play.

No, we’re not just talking about stalking Black Friday deals like that person who ghosted you. It’s time to turn holiday shopping into a game of how much you save rather than spend. Because, let’s face it, your bank account shouldn’t look like it’s been on a sleigh ride through a blizzard.

So, how do you max out your shopping cart without maxing out your card? From leveraging tech to making your credit card do double duty (hello, building your credit score while buying gifts), we’ve got the tips and tricks for a successful holiday shopping experience that doesn’t leave you eating ramen in January. Let’s get into it.

Streamlining your shopping process

You’ve got your holiday playlist on, a cup of something warm and you’re ready to tackle that shopping list. But before you dive into the digital aisles or brave the actual ones, let’s arm you with some holiday money tips for a successful trip.

Set a budget

Without a budget, you’re up the creek without a sail 🫠 Instead of wandering into the wilderness of online shopping and adding too many little treats for yourself to your cart, use a budgeting app (yeah, like ours) and set a spending limit.

That way, you have a shopping bestie that doesn’t kill the vibe but keeps you from going overboard (no, your dog doesn’t need that $200 camera that throws out treats).

Get a list together

Winging it is great for a weekend adventure, not so much for holiday shopping. Create a gift list and stick to it like it’s the recipe for your grandma’s secret Christmas cookies recipe.

Having a list makes you far less likely to stray from your budget as you’ve already made the decisions. We stan anything that lightens the mental load - especially if it means cutting back on random expenses.

Use price comparison tools

In the words of RuPaul, reading is fundamental. So is shopping around before you buy. 

Before you hand over your credit card, quickly compare prices online. There are tons of apps and websites, like Honey and Rakuten, where you can check if you're getting the best deal or if you're about to pay for a gold-plated version of something that should be way cheaper.

Use apps and extensions

In a world where you can find your soulmate with a swipe and get tacos delivered by a drone, why are you still holiday shopping like it’s 1999? With shopping apps and browser extensions, you can take your money-saving game to the next level. 

These apps consolidate deals, track price drops, and some even reward you for walking into stores (we're looking at you, Shopkick). And they save you time, too - apps like ShopSavvy or Google Shopping do the legwork, letting you know where to land the best deal. 

So, if you’re using a credit builder card and picking up extra deals or cash back via apps? You’re basically like a shopping Steve Jobs 💅

Avoid the last-minute panic

We get it: planning ahead when you’re juggling work, a side hustle, and school? Total killer. But the feeling of sprinting to the store on Christmas Eve, fighting through a sea of fellow procrastinators, only to find the perfect gift is sold out, is way worse.

Early shopping means more time to spread out your spending. It’s easier on your wallet than dropping a month's rent in one go. You get first dibs on the best gifts, avoid the dreaded "out of stock" nightmare, and hey, you might even catch some early bird deals.

Team up for group gifting

Sometimes, the best gifts are the ones that are just a little (or a lot) out of our solo budget range. That’s where group gifting comes in handy. You can pool your resources with friends, family, or coworkers to get something the recipient actually wants - and cut down on needless consumerism at the same time.

Planning a group gift means collaborating, sharing ideas and a few memes over the group chat. Bonus points for using Cleo to track contributions or a group payment app to collect funds.

How to make holiday shopping efficient AF

So, you've got your game plan, your budget is set, and your shopping list is ready. But it’s time to take things a step further by adopting some new shopping habits to save the planet and avoid a mountain of ‘meh’. Here are some holiday shopping tips to add the wow factor to your holiday gift-giving strategy.

Quality over quantity

Instead of buying a bunch of forgettable gifts, focus on finding that one thing that'll make your friends and family’s eyes light up. 

Know if your music-obsessed pal has been after that vintage vinyl for ages, or happened upon a noughties thrift find your sibling would love? Unmatched. It’s the thought that counts, not the price tag. 

Shop local

Amazon might be easy, but let’s not forget about the little guys. Shopping locally means you can find unique gifts and support your community at the same time. 

It’s a win-win: you can get an awesome gift and make a small business owner’s day ✨ Get out there and discover which awesome small brands are in your own neighborhood.

Eco-friendly choices

Our planet could use some love, and your shopping choices can make a difference. Going for upcycled fashion accessories for your bestie from Etsy or picking up a reusable coffee cup for a caffeine-obsessed parent is the way to go.

These gifts show you care—not just about the person you're gifting to, but also about the world we all share. Plus, it's a great conversation starter about sustainability and conscious living.

Cleo’s here to help 👀

Turning your holiday shopping into a financial W doesn’t have to be painful. With nifty tools like budgeting and saving features, Cleo is your right-hand gal in helping you get better with money.

Using a credit-building card is the ultimate plus during the holiday season: you’re shopping for gifts and building your credit score. Just remember to keep your spending within your budget and pay off your balance on time, and the benefits soon add up.

Cleo’s your savings wingwoman, too. Use the round-up feature to set aside a little bit each month automatically. It’s putting your savings on autopilot. When the holidays roll around, you’ll have a nice stash to dip into, making your shopping spree a guilt-free adventure.

As for budgeting, Cleo’s packed with a suite of tools to help you manage money like a pro. She helps you track your spending, categorize expenses, and even gives you a nudge when you’re about to overspend.

All of this is rounded off with an AI-powered assistant that can roast or hype you up any time you need a motivational boost. Budgeting and saving for the holidays is a piece of (Christmas) cake.

Make holiday spending simple

Wave goodbye to holiday shopping stress and hello to smart, savvy spending with Cleo. Download the app today to save your sanity 🎉

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