On Christmas Day, we sit under the tree and open our gifts. We want to appreciate everything we’ve received and celebrate the joy of the season. Then comes the day after Christmas, and once the euphoria has passed, we find that we have gifts we don’t want or need.
At the same time, there may be items on our Christmas list that we want but couldn’t afford on this year’s budget.
The good news is that with a little planning, we can have our cake and eat it too.
Here are five easy ways to get what you want after Christmas.
1. Get the Receipt
With any luck, when you receive a gift it will include a gift receipt or at least the giver will keep the store tags on the gift. If the giver neglected to include the information, there’s nothing wrong with asking the giver where the gift came from. If you’re concerned about hurting their feelings, here are some easy ways to broach the subject.
“I love the sweater, but it’s a little loose (tight) on me. Can you tell me where you got it so I can exchange it for one in my size?”
“I love the gift you got me, but someone else got me the same thing. They got it online, so I don’t know how to return it.”
While having the store receipt is ideal, it may be enough to know the name of the store. Even if you can’t get the receipt, many stores will accept returns without a receipt in exchange for store credit.
2. Have A Return Plan
Once you know the store, ask what their return policy is. Many stores have a 14, 15 or 30-day return policy, but for items purchased between November 1st and December 24th, they won’t start the countdown clock until December 26th.
If you’re returning gifts, make sure you do it with a plan of attack. Try to return as many items as possible at the same time and build up your store credit. When you know how much credit you have available, make sure you know what you’re planning to spend it on before you get to the store.
Also, make sure you have a valid I.D. with you. Stores are more cautious than ever about fraud, so being able to prove that you are who you say you are can make things easier.
Don’t forget to be patient and polite, after a long holiday season the store managers will appreciate it, and they will be more likely to want to help you.
3. Shop the Day After Christmas Sales
Many items that were priced at a premium before December 25th may suddenly be deeply discounted the day after. This is especially true for holiday-centered items like Christmas lights, but clothing, cameras, and electronics will also be discounted as retailers try to make space for the new year’s upgrades.
Want to get started on those New Year’s health and fitness resolutions? Retailers know this and will offer deep discounts on sports and fitness gear as well as gym memberships. So if you’re planning to get fit this year, do it. Just wait until after the holidays.
4. Consolidate Gift Cards
Gift cards are a great way for friends to let you get the gifts you wouldn’t get yourself. But what if you get a gift card to a store or restaurant that’s inconvenient, or that you wouldn’t normally frequent?
You don’t have to be stuck with a useless card, or buying something you don’t really want or need. Services like Cardpool.com or Walmart’s cardcash.com will let you sell gift cards for up to 90% of the cash value of the card.
Have a favorite store? This works both ways. You can buy gift cards through these services and save up to 35 percent off the face value of the card.
It may not be classy, but re-gifting is a time-honored way to share the joy of a gift that you don’t want with someone who does. Feel embarrassed? Don’t. A recent survey indicated that 83 percent of those asked would be okay with a re-gifted gift.
Just remember not to re-gift to the original sender.
Looking for a great way to plan your own gift giving, or want to see how to apply your savings toward your holiday budget? Take advantage of the Ultimate Holiday Budget Spreadsheet.
This resource is detailed, easy to use and allows you to set a holiday budget that fits your income before the start of the season.
Want to create a budget for after the holidays?
Schedule a free counseling session today or call us at 800-920-2262.