Make a list, check it twice - and use social media for deals! Shopping expert reveals genius tips for saving money this festive season, as FEMAIL shares a guide to the perfect presents for every type of person
- RetailMeNot's shopping guru Sara Skirboll has detailed a variety of tips and tricks to help you with gift buying
- Her tips include stacking different savings, signing up for retailers' emails and using social media for deals
- FEMAIL has put together a gift guide to help you find the perfect present for everyone on your list?
- From fairy tale fans to impossible-to-buy-for Secret Santa selections, the guide has everything you will need?
It's the most wonderful time of the year for everyone and everything - except, perhaps, your wallet.?
While the holiday season brings festive cheer to many, it can also take a rather severe toll on your bank account, with parties, festive gifts, and holiday dining all combining to take a very large chunk of change from your savings.
Thankfully, FEMAIL has some top tips to help you make the most of what money you have to spend - and ensure in particular that you don't waste a single penny while picking up your presents this year, leaving you with more money in the bank to use on other things.?
And, to make the gift giving experience even easier for you, FEMAIL has also put together the ultimate gift guide to help you pick up the perfect present for every person on your list, from unicorn-obsessed fairy tale fans to health-obsessed wellness gurus - whether they've been naughty or nice!
Save money this season with these top shopping tips
Shopping for gifts can be stressful at the best of times, but during the holiday season, things tend to ramp up and get all the more manic.?
Thankfully, RetailMeNot?shopping expert?Sara Skirboll is here to help with a host of tips and tricks to ensure you have the easiest and most enjoyable gift buying experience, from picking up the presents and scoring some superb deals - to returning any unwanted gifts at the end of the holiday season.
Plus she will ensure you save more than a few dollars along the way...
- Plan ahead:?A big mistake made when holiday shopping is to making a purchase without doing research beforehand. Oftentimes there are deals or even lower prices for the same item. I suggest searching the web for the items on your shopping list first to see which retailer is selling them for the lowest price.
- Email alerts: Sign up to receive email newsletters from all your favorite retailers now to keep track of the latest discounts, flash sales and crazy good deals. And as a bonus, retail sites typically send you a first-time subscriber discount for your next order.?
- Stack those savings: To maximize savings, combine offers or coupons with discount gift cards for your favorite retailers. For example, purchase a $100 gift card to Macy’s for $90. That’s $10 of savings on top of 30% off your entire purchase.
- Stay at home:?Shoppers who wish to avoid the crowds can opt to purchase gift cards, make DIY presents or give an experience like wine tasting or cooking classes.?
- Turn credit card points into gifts:?Watching your credit card points build up may be fun, but if you’re like many folks, you’re not sure what to do with them. Consider using those points to order gift cards to give as gifts or to fund your holiday shopping trips.
- Use social media:?Some retailers offer exclusive savings to people who follow them on Twitter and Instagram or 'like' them on Facebook. Find out if you can save by following some of your favorite retailers. (You can always unfollow them later.)?
- Stay organized with a list:?When presents are wrapped or stowed away, you might forget what you’ve already bought. To avoid overbuying, create a list of the gifts you’d like to purchase and highlight the ones you’ve already bought.
- Return unwanted gifts at the right time:?If you can’t hit the mall before noon, wait until after January 1st to wait until the post-holiday sales die down.?
- Tick tock: Make sure that you are returning within the stores return window. Most are in the 30-90 day range, but there are some stores like Athleta, Nordstrom, Kohls and Bed Bath and Beyond that have unlimited return windows.?
- Keep notes:?Have return and exchange policies in hand. These can be found on the receipt or on the store’s website.?
- Save receipts and order confirmations:?Keeping a record of purchases and when they are expected to arrive is crucial to staying organized. You never know when you may need to do an exchange or return. If you are an online shopper - make a folder specifically for your holiday shopping order confirmations - they are easier to find later.
- Pass it on: If you receive a gift card you don’t think you will use, you can sell them on websites like Raise for either cash or you can purchase a new one to one of your favorite retailers.?
FEMAIL'S HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2017?
For fairy tale fans?
Add a touch of fun and whimsy to someone's everyday life with these mermaid-inspired notebooks.?
Perfect for any list lovers, students, or budding authors who have a love for the mythical and magical.
Who says grown-ups can't love fairy tales? Well thanks to this very adult alcohol, you can now combine a love of unicorns with an over-21 activity.
Plus the bottle will make for a very pretty addition to any bar cart.
The phrase festive takes on a whole new meaning with this sequin stocking.?
Crafted with special sequins that change color and make it look like a mermaid's shimmering tail, there can be no better holiday gift for any water babies on your list.?
The Little Mermaid may have used a fork to comb through her tresses, but this shell-shaped brush is a much more appealing option in our eyes.
Available in a host of colors, it will make hair brushing feel so much more magical.
Whether your favorite mermaid is planning to sip on an alcoholic cocktail, or glug down a few Shirley Temples this festive season, they will no doubt love this fun-filled sippy cup.
Complete with a handy straw to avoid any spillages - and the subsequent telling off from mom - this pretty pink shell is a cute budget-friendly option for anyone on your list looking for a bit of magic in their life.?
We all have a friend who loves to get a bit crafty at Christmas, and this knit-your-own unicorn couldn't be more perfect for them.?
Aimed at beginner to intermediate knitters, the hand-assembled kit comes complete with chunky acrylic yarn, step-by-step instructions, and even a handy wooden back board so the person can mount the finished product on the wall when they're done.
What's better than buying a unicorn-themed gift? Buying a gift that can actually turn someone into a unicorn.?
And that's exactly what this incredible set from Frank Body will do; complete with a shimmery body scrub, illuminator and body oil, the recipient of this sparkling set is sure to end up looking like a real life mythical creature.?
For food nuts and cocktail connoisseurs
The only way you'll ever want to drink your tequila again.?
Carved out of pink Himalayan salt, these reusable shot glasses look like they have been crafted using rose quartz, but will add an oh-so-subtle salty kick to your liquor.?
For the fun-loving cocktail fan on your holiday gift list this year, look no further than Hooch, a handy membership service that offers users a new cocktail every day at one of hundreds of bars across the country.?
A year-long membership is the ideal gift for anyone who loves to find new drink spots, and test out new beverages.
The real question is, who wouldn't want to receive an entire trunk of candy this holiday season?
No we didn't think so.
Maybe one of the handiest items in the gift guide, this SodaStream allows you to whip up your own fizzy water, cola, fruity pop - or even a sparkling cocktail - at home.?
Whichever you prefer, it's the ideal addition to any kitchen.
Any food-loving millennials will get a real kick out of this avocado toast ornament that is both amazing and awful all at once.?
And if this Australian-inspired treat doesn't do it for you or your favorite foodie, there are plenty of other delicious decorations to choose from.
Welcome to the modern day cookbook.?
Project Foodie is a brilliant app that offers a host of recipes, tips and tricks - and all with their own step-by-step, chef-guided videos to help even the most useless of cooks become truly talented in the kitchen.
For travel junkies
Usually a bulky electric toothbrush is the last thing that anyone wants to take on their travels, but this handy option from Quip comes complete with its own slimline carry case - which transforms into a holder - and it is powered by batteries so no charger required.?
Plus it's available in a host of fun metallic shades, from rose gold to silver.?
Forget a traditional globe, this scratch-off map offers a much more satisfying way for travelers to track their progress across the planet, and works just like a scratch card, allowing you to scratch away the brown-colored coating for every country that you have visited.?
Then you can either mount it on the wall, or roll it up and take it on your next adventure.
Perfect for the person who has seen it all - or who wants to.?
This coloring book features some of the most spectacular sights from across the globe, and allows the user to put their own colorful spin on each attraction.?
From the Taj Mahal to the Eiffel Tower, there are 100 pictures to choose from.
Each of these three 24-page books contains a handy guide to reading menus in Spain, Italy, and France, and come complete with a handy carry case for ease of use.
From translating complex local phrases to listing clear ingredients in both languages, they are a must-have for any food-loving travel fans.?
Traveling long distances can be an uncomfortable experience at the best of times - but when you know you have to look semi-presentable at the other end, it ends up being a real nightmare.?
Thankfully this comfy, chic hoodie will help to ensure you look and feel your best in- and post-flight.
As well as the inevitable fashion faux pas that come with flying, traveling also takes a serious toll on a person's skin, causing acne, dry patches, and exposing it to a host of unhygienic bacteria.?
Thankfully this skincare set from Lumion will help to tackle all of those aspects and leave you feeling fresh after any length flight.?
Know a person who always forgets those must-have essentials when they travel??
Thankfully travel brand Away has come to the rescue with a series of different gift sets for every kind of traveler, including the Wellness Set, Amusement Set, and Beauty Set.?
For the person who loves to keep their suitcase nice and organized - or the traveler who struggles to make everything fit - look no further than this packing system from Herschel.?
The set comes with three packing cubes of varying sizes that will keep different items together in your luggage - plus a very handy tarpaulin roll-bag for any wet items that need storing separately, from bikinis to damp beach towels.
Name a millennial (or anyone for that matter) who doesn't love living in their sweats.?
Well thanks to this oh-so-comfortable onesie, they don't even need to bother adding a top and a bottom.?
Plus the fun festive print makes it perfect for this time of year.
Millennials are at that age where skincare is all the more important - and wrinkles are all the more apparent.?
Thankfully this silky pillowcase helps to prevent any overnight creasing, will also offering an incredibly luxurious and comfortable place for anyone to rest their head.?
Described as a step-by-step guide to 'how to go from flat-broke to financial maven', this book is a must-have for any cash-strapped 20- and 30-somethings.?
Covering everything from investments to credit card debt, it will help even the most over-the-top spenders to start saving their money.
Selfies are essentially a daily part of most millennials lives so why not help your favorite member of Generation Y to give their picture-taking a boost.?
The LuMee Duo Case features light strips on both sides, to enhance pictures taken with both cameras - plus the marble pattern is so on fleek.
There can be few millennials out there who don't remember slap bracelets - and what better way to nurture that childhood nostalgia this festive season than with a rather grown-up take on the old favorite.?
These faux fur covered bracelets from Charlotte Simone perfectly combine that youthful whimsy with high-end fashion.
It wouldn't be a millennial gift guide without at least one millennial pink product.?
And as well as filling that must-tick box, these holiday-inspired will also help to fill the home of any recipient with a host of festive-inspired fragrances, making them the perfect present for any Christmas fan, no matter their age.
A slightly more sophisticated take on the neon sign, this wall art adds a little something special to a bedroom, without going over-the-top.?
Whether you're buying for a friend or a family member, this sweet gesture is sure to go down a treat with any person who finds it under their tree this year.?
As much as every millennial loves Instagram and iPhone pictures, there is something special about the feeling of printing out a photograph that just can't be replaced.?
This handy gadget from HP allows you to print directly from your smartphone without any ink (how handy!) and it's handy enough to simply pop in a bag alongside a phone.?
For the hard-to-please host
For the host who has the most stuff - and the pickiest personality - it is important to find something unique and special, but not too over-the-top.?
This match strike achieves that fun balance between quirky and classy - plus at just $42 it won't break the bank. ?
If you're looking for something a bit more luxurious and extravagant, you can't go wrong with this oh-so-soft throw from Ugg.?
Perfect for any kind of interior, it can be used both as an elegant accent for a room and as a warm way to snuggle up in the evenings while watching a movie.
The nice thing about a host gift is that you can have fun with items that people wouldn't normally buy themselves.?
And this incredibly pretty address book is the perfect example. While not something someone might buy themselves, it makes for a lovely and thoughtful gift to receive.?
Another lovely-to-receive gift is a small vase that can be placed anywhere in a home, and if your host is someone who loves having people over, will likely never go un-used.?
Plus you can fill it with your own flowers for an extra special touch.
This soap is ideal for those savvy spenders looking to keep their costs down but still want to make a nice gesture.
A fun, festive, and budget friendly item, this product will no doubt put a smile on even the most formidable of hosts' faces.
Hosting people during the holidays can be incredibly stressful, no matter how easy-going the guests are.?
Give your host the chance to relax with these calming bath salts; hand them over, then offer to do the dishes while he or she relaxes in the tub.?
Another elegant addition to the kitchen, this agate cheeseboard is sure to be unlike anything most hosts will already have.
Plus if you want to win extra brownie points, take along a selection of delicious cheeses that you can display on it - and then enjoy - at the dinner table.?
Something fun and colorful that will no doubt come in handy for any hosts who plan to spend a lot of time in the kitchen this holiday.?
Plus there are plenty of other products in this collection - so you can keep adding every time you return to the host's house.
For someone who prefers a personal touch?
Something special for a more traditional person in your life, this marble and wood serving board comes complete with a beautiful monogram detail.
Upon purchase, Le Labo's products are printed with a label featuring the date, and the location of wherever it was picked up, as well as the name of the person it was made for.
Although one of the pricier personalized items on this list, these beautiful lockets will make for a truly unique gift for a loved one.?
Pick your locket shape, and your preferred metal, and then fill it with charms that mean something special to you and the person you are giving it to.?
Pop & Suki is an adorable brand that offers a host of customizable accessories, from handbags to keychains.?
One of our personal favorites is this beautiful make-up bag that is available in a variety of colors and leathers, making it ideal for any and all people on your list this year.
Another awesome accessories brand that allows you to add a personal touch to every item is Poolside, which just released a host of new silhouettes and styles.?
Of all of them, however, this one truly hit it out of the park; you can opt for the fun 'Out Of Office' phrase - or pick your own.?
Putting a personal touch on something doesn't necessarily mean adding a word or name. Instead, why not create something unique for that special someone in the form of a custom-made dress from Frilly.?
You can truly play the part of designer and pick everything about the product, from the style to the material, even the length, making it a truly one-of-a-kind.
Another slightly cheaper - but equally sweet - option is this journal from Anthropologie which can be accessorized with a host of patches, stickers, and charms.?
Simply pick the color and design that you want and then go to town with whatever you think will best suit the recipient; from initials to fun phrases to cute beaded animals - no design is out of your reach.
For the ultimate beauty lover on your gift list, there can be no cooler present than their very own custom-made haircare.?
Tailored to suit their individual needs, and then colored to fit their favorite shades, these funky products truly do have it all as far as personalization is concerned - they even come with a special named label for the user. ?
For health and wellness lovers?
Health food brand Sakara Life not only offers a whole host of detox items, it also has products that make you glow from the inside out, in the form of these items from its beauty collection.?
This pack has everything your favorite health nut needs to get that glow, from collagen-filled chocolates to anti-aging tea.?
Any wellness nut worth their salt has a collection of crystals in their possession - but have those crystals been given the seal of approval from lifestyle guru Gwyneth Paltrow??
Well never fear, because these ones have - making them the ultimate in must-have wellness gifts. ?
Because smoothies and juices just aren't healthy enough, wellness expert Amanda Chantal Bacon released these supplement powders through her popular Moon Juice brand.?
Claiming to enhance everything from your appearance to your sex life, they'll give any health fan a real kick.?
Apparently drinking plenty of water is not enough these days - in order to make it truly beneficial, that water must have been cleansed with the power of crystals.?No, really.?
Decide what your favorite healthy-living loved one wants to gain from their hydration, and then pick the crystals that most suit that need, from romance to a stress-free life.
Consider this pricey product for your favorite person - or for someone who needs a starter pack of wellness must-haves.?
Created in collaboration with Free People, this gift basket contains a whole host of self-care must-haves, from a jade face roller to a silk eye mask to a tea strainer and floral tea that helps to promote a peaceful nervous system.?
For the gym-goer who truly has it all, look no further than these spectacularly sparkly Swarovski-encrusted leggings.?
Created exclusively for high-end workoutwear retailer Bandier by popular brand Ultracor, these star-patterned pants are the be all and end all in luxury athleisure.?Just be sure to snap up a pair for they sell out (really).
Anyone who already has made a good start on their crystal collection and wants to add a few more unique items to the mix will no doubt love this subscription service that delivers a selection of stones to your doorstep every three months.?
And not only that, the crystals in the collection are picked especially to ensure that they 'align with the Moon, Stars & energies of each month'.
There is no end to the benefits that one of these salt lamps is said to offer, from cleansing and deodorizing the air to reducing the signs of sickness and asthma.
It is also said to help boost energy levels, which tend to dip during the holiday season, making it the perfect festive pick-me-up.
With so much going on during the festive period, from parties to travel, it can be near impossible to find time to hit the gym.
So if your favorite fitness fanatic feels like they are missing out this holiday season, help them out by stashing a few of these witty booty bands under the tree. Created by personal trainer Bec Donlan, they make the perfect partner for an at-home workout that will leave even the fittest of friends feeling sore.
For the person who likes gifts that give back
Sourced by The Little Market, a nonprofit founded by former reality star Lauren Conrad, this guacamole gift box not only makes a great gift for your loved ones - it also gives something back to those who made it.?
For every one of these amazing reversible bomber jackets - which feature the First Amendment in both Arabic and English - that are sold, Slow Factory will donate $20 to the ACLU to help with the organization's ongoing 'fight for civil liberties'. ?
State gives back to American children in need with every bag that is purchased; for each of its products that are bought, like this stylish red accessory, the brand hand-delivers a backpack filled with vital tools to an American child in need.?
All of the products created by essential oils company Vitruvi are ethically sourced from around the world - and the brand supports a host of women's cooperatives in Kenya, as well as organizations such as One Girl Can and the Obakki Foundation.
Since its launch in 2006, TOMS has implemented a one-for-one intitative that sees people in need around the world being given vital products and services every time one of the brand's products are purchased.?
From shoes and water to birth control and bullying prevention services, each of your TOMS gifts this holiday season will go a long way towards helping someone in need.
Much like TOMS, charitable eyewear brand DIFF works around a one-for-one scheme that sees people in need given their own pair of glasses every time someone makes a purchase.?
And as far as fashion-focused gifts go, it doesn't get much better than this collaboration between DIFF and style queen Khloe Kardashian.?
In the words of the brand, 'In light of the current political climate, we’re empowering “Nasty” women across the nation.?We’re proud to stand with Planned Parenthood – 100% of proceeds will be donated to them.'
What better way to show you care for your favorite ladies - and all other women around the world - than by purchasing one of these empowering accessories from Stella & Bow.
For the White Elephant pile?
Officially a White Elephant present is meant to be an extravagant, but burdensome gift that cannot be easily disposed of, and this rather awful swimsuit certainly fits that bill.?
Spending $60 on anything with this face on it might certainly be considered extravagant - and we bet you will be hard-pressed to find anyone who will take it off your hands, let alone wear it in public.?
Another fun - and completely ridiculous - gift idea for the White Elephant pile is this plug-in Frogger game that turns any TV into an arcade.
Retro, clunky, and rather unnecessary, this game is sure to bring a bit of fun to anyone recipients - and potentially leave their closest friends and family feeling furious about that fact that you gave it to them. ?
To say we are confused about the purpose of this item would be a huge understatement, however given that this is the point of White Elephant gifts, the so-called Handicorn really is the perfect pick.?
Made of ?of five pieces that each slide onto a finger, thus turning your hand into a unicorn, it really is the gift you never knew you needed (and probably definitely didn't).?
Both scrunchies and sequins have seen a huge resurgence this past year - but mixing the two? We're not so sure it makes for the most fashionable statement - but perhaps you know someone stylish enough to pull it off... Or who will relish wearing it in all its rather garish glory.
Is it a sandal? Is it a cozy winter boot? Or - gasp - is it both??
Either way, this fuzzy-lined Croc is sure to make for a rather unique addition to one lucky recipient's wardrobe this winter season.
While nose hair trimming might normally be a rather mundane activity, any guys or girls in need of some nostril hair removal will surely find it a whole lot more entertaining with this ray gun-shaped nose hair trimmer, ?
Everyone needs a handy mug for their morning coffee, or their afternoon tea, but this one really will add something all the more unique to the mix thanks to its very bizarre silhouette.
For your Secret Santa (under $30)
Spice up Secret Santa this year with a fun-filled drinking game that will - in its own words - 'light you up like Christmas tree' this holiday season.
Festive fun that can be shared with the whole friendship group, making it the perfect budget-friendly gift for the office round-up - and the ideal way to melt the ice before the work party.?
Another hilarious game that is sure to put a smile on even the most Scrooge-esque of family members and friends comes in the form of What Do You Meme, a social media-inspired card game from the creators of viral account F**kJerry.
Full to the brim with funny images and phrases, it is a must-have for any and all festive gatherings this season.
A sweet new Christmas tree ornament is the perfect present to give (and receive) during the festive season, and we can't get enough of this adorable Nutcracker-themed decoration from Kate Spade.
The perfect present for a more special Secret Santa pick - or someone slightly more unknown to you who you feel needs a bit of a pick-me-up this holiday season.?
Did you end up picking a food-loving fashion fan for your Secret Santa this year? If so we have the perfect collection of presents for you in the form of Madewell's newly-launched collaboration with Milk Bar.?
Our favorites include the cute cookie-print bandana and the Blue(berry) Jeans Cookie Mix which makes up to 12 delicious baked treats - plenty to share around.
Jazz up your favorite phone addict's device this festive season with a cute phone case from Skinnydip.
Not only is this adorable option covered in cute emoji-esque fruits (or toned tushes, depending on your view), it is also covered in glitter, which makes it ideal for this time of year, when sparkles seem to be everywhere you look.
Give the gift of a relaxing pampering session to your Secret Santa pick this holiday season in the form of this sweetly-scented Lush gift, which contains a 'sweet?lavender lullaby' body wash, and a 'sleepy' lotion - the perfect products for any pre-bedtime treat.?
We all have a friend who struggles to make even the most simple of decisions - and now you can come to their rescue with this adorable 'spinner pin' which will take care of all their tricky decision-making for them with just one quick flick of the arrow. ?
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