Our top holiday shopping tips and tricks for 2019

Some food for thought as to what are you willing to sacrifice in terms of your priorities to either set aside a budget this year or go over that budget and really be mindful about where that money is coming from this holiday season.

Key Points –

  • Shoppers will spend an average of $1,047 dollars this year up 4% from last holiday season.
  • Keep a batch of small ‘obligation’ gifts around. Pick them up in clearance isles at discount retailers such as Walmart.
  • Install the ‘Honey’ browser extension which scours the internet for any possible coupon codes before completing your purchase.
  • Leave items in your cart overnight for a possible discount in the morning by the retailer to entice you to complete the purchase.
  • Attempt to obtain price matching at your local brick and mortar store with a lower price from online retailers such as Amazon.

Episode 1, Segement 2 audio transcript.

AMANDA: I did not know this. We are in one of the shortest holiday shopping seasons on record this year. There’s gonna be a shorter period of time between black Friday and Cyber Monday and Christmas Day so there’s only like four weeks I think between Black Friday and Christmas this year and it seems to creep up and surprise us each and every year. So I thought I’d share with the group just some food for thought as as the season approaches thinking about things like what are you willing to sacrifice in terms of your priorities to either set aside a budget this year or go over that budget and really be mindful about where that money is coming from. 

AMANDA: Statistically, they did some reports this year. You see, the consumers are saying they’re going to spend an average. Of $1,047 dollars this holiday season which is up 4% from last year and of course last year was down a little bit because we had the Federal budget hold last year, so there were a number of people out of work during the holiday season last year. But spending is up this year and of that money $659 is expected to be spent on gifts for friends, families, coworkers and then the remainder of that would be spent on non-gift holiday items like food decorations … and I never think about food and decorations when I’m budgeting. So that was really helpful for me to think about. 

CRAIG: You said $659 dollars on family friends and coworkers. You know it Nintendo Switch costs $300. 

AMANDA: Well, hopefully you only have one friend.

CRAIG: What if you have kids though, that’s in I guess, you know average right? 

AMANDA: It’s an average, of course. I got you. I mean, I just have a dog so I’m not spending that much time. My kids grown so he doesn’t get a gift anymore. But you know what every single year it catches me by surprise these little surprise gifts you know last year. I had a new neighbor walk over and give me a gift and then you’re like, oh great thanks for giving me an obligation because now I have to give you that person I guess. You know keeping a little batch of extra gifts on hand is always handy, but you can pick those up, you know, the clearance aisle at Walmart. Here’s another Walmart plug. 

AMANDA: It’s often good for those handy little items. But the non-gift items really kind of take a dent in the budget like food decorations. I did not realize how expensive these blowups are that people put in their yards.

CRAIG: I don’t know how it is where you are but here in the DC area they have people putting them all over the roofs, they’re all over the I mean yeah things like a hundred dollars a pop each. 

AMANDA: Yeah that’s insane yeah. I thought about getting a Halloween one now that they’re all on clearance but even at half price I was thinking that price was too steep but, I’m a miser. So what do we do to combat all this unexpected spending? I love to shop online one thing that has been really handy for me is there’s a browser add-on called Honey that you just add into your Google Chrome browser and when you get to a check-out it just runs automatically and scours the internet for all sorts of discount codes and when it finds one automatically applies the best discount to your cart.

CRAIG: Wait a minute, so do you use honey?

AMANDA: I do. 

CRAIG: I see that the ads for that all the time and I never installed that. Have you encountered any spam or anything or pop-up say anything from that?


CRAIG: So how they making money on that? 

AMANDA: I don’t know. I don’t care if we’re saving money.

CRAIG: But your computer has not encountered any issues with that thing? That’s awesome. I have to try that thank you 

AMANDA: Now I can’t say. Usually when I install an add-on. I’m very careful about picking the privacy settings on it so I don’t always just click through the defaults so and this was years ago so I can’t tell you what I picked when I installed it but no that’s fine that might be something to look at. So using the add-on is huge the other thing the other little trick if you leave something in your cart and you think about it overnight oftentimes retailers can see that you abandon your cart and they’ll send you a discount code just to entice you to complete your purchase so if you’re not finding a discount sometimes if you just like wait overnight leave it in your cart kind of, you know, leave your browser before but making that purchase a lot of times will send you a discount code saying ‘hey we noticed you didn’t finish this purchase here’s 20% off’. Brick and mortar stores will often match prices, so if you want to get all your shopping done at one store, you know bring in the ads from the other ones and they’ll match those. 

CRAIG: I actually do that on a regular basis with Best Buy if I need electronics. Sometimes the game are from Amazon, they’ve been returned and they reship them. I go up to Best Buy show the Amazon price on my phone they easily price match and I know it’s a brand new item and I take it right back to them. 

AMANDA: The final little tip I’ll share today I mean, obviously there are a lot of other tips and tricks but one thing you might consider is not saving your payment information in your apps like Amazon, you know, there are these apps. They’ve gotten so good at removing all the friction points to have for you spending money, but that a few extra steps and minutes it takes to enter your payment information each time helps to give you time to think about is that’s really the decision you want to make are you overspending or is it a good purchase? 

CRAIG: Quick story 60 seconds put me on the timer the issue that happened to me with that I used to store my information in my Dominos account. I was in my office I think it was two years ago and I’m on the computer and I got a notification someone ordered pizzas in Texas, yeah. I immediately saw it called the store directly said, hey someone just used my credit card to order pizzas and they are coming to pick them up. They wouldn’t do anything about it. I spent the entire weekend going through all my user names, passwords, and accounts. Bought me one of those hardware keys. Yeah. So now I use Last Pass and a hardware key. I have no idea what my passwords are anymore. It’s that good and I love it. 

AMANDA: It’s also protecting your privacy and your financial information but it does buy you some time to think about how much money you’re spending as well. 

CRAIG: Oh yeah, because it’s annoying. I have it on my lanyard for my airline. It’s in my car and gotta plug it in my computer. I’m like, oh if I had time I feel guilty about buying something. 

AMANDA: Exactly. Yeah, that’s that extra little friction point.

What do you think?

Do you agree? Let us know and we’ll play or read your comments on the show. Call 989-888-ROCK (7625) and record your thoughts or just email us to

Join the discussion

Further reading