Jobs & MoneyMoney-Saving Shopping Tips

7 Non-Traditional Holiday Shopping Ideas To Save Money

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By Regina

We all know what the usual holiday shopping trip is like: you go to the mall, brave the crowds, and hope that you can find everything on your list.

Personally, I hate shopping that way.


While I love the idea of seeing all the beautiful decorations, and hearing the holiday music that’s played over the speakers in the stores, I don’t like the crowds, the pushing, the shoving, the lack of stock, and the trying to find parking. Black Friday shopping is the epitome of mayhem to me.

All of those things I can live without.

In my own personal quest for figuring out the best way to find gifts for the holidays, I came up with 7 money saving ideas for holiday shopping.

#1  Shop At The Drug Store

Strangely enough, many drug stores have some very nice gifts at quite reasonable prices.


In fact, in some cases they have , and you won’t have to deal with the crowds. That’s a big one for me — I hate the crowds!

Also, many drug stores have big discounts the day before Christmas, so if you don’t mind waiting until the last minute, you can find some really great deals.

TIP: Check out the Krazy Coupon Lady for drugstore coupons this holiday season (and everyday).

#2 – Purchase Duplicate Items

If you know a lot of people who love to read, and you know of a book they would all enjoy, why not buy the same book for everyone?


Providing it’s a gift that will work for everyone — it saves you time, energy, and money if the book is on sale. Check out the most popular paperback books this season.

#3 – Shop At Specialty Stores

Is there an artist in your life? Why not go to an art supplies store to look for their gift?


Maybe you know someone who likes to sew. A store that sells fabrics and all the little sewing supplies that a seamstress would need might be a good choice.

TIP: You can always purchase a gift certificate for a class as well and wrap it up with a class schedule for a neat gift idea.

In my case, one of my hobbies is 3D art. I use the program Poser and I love it.

However, some items are very expensive, and I have a hard time for example justifying a dress for my Victoria 4 character that costs more than I’d pay for a dress for myself.

For someone like me, purchasing 3D content I’ve had my eye on in online stores, and saving it to a CD, and then giving it to me as a gift would absolutely make my year! I also enjoy beading, and last year my mom, bless her, sent me a bunch of beading supplies for Christmas.

#4 – Shop At Local Thrift Stores

I know it sounds tacky, but not all gifts have to be new. I’ve found some wonderful presents at local thrift stores.


Let’s face it, if the item is still in its original packaging, who’s going to know except  for you? The year one of my girlfriends got married, I found a beautiful crystal picture frame for her wedding photo.

It was still in the original box and she loved it! Apply the same idea when holiday shopping.

#5 – Make A List

No, this is not a joke. Have you heard of “decision fatigue“? The more decisions you make at once, the worse your judgment becomes.


One way around grabbing too many gifts or overspending is to make a simple list of specific gifts you’re looking for and referencing it throughout the day.

TIP: Download Santa’s Bag if you’re an iPhone user, or the Christmas Gift App on Android for money-saving holiday list builders.

#6 – Shop Online

I’m a big fan of e-Bay, and often when I need an item that is more expensive than I might want, I’ll go there to see if I can find a new version for less. Holiday shopping online can save lots of time and money.


I bought my computer that way, and boy did it ever pay off!

An enterprising person could buy all their gifts on eBay (or any other shopping websites) and really come up with some cool things. Don’t forget about Amazon, Etsy, Wish, and others for collectibles and other great gifts.

#7 – Shop At Dollar Stores

I know that sounds cheap, but I have actually found some very nice stuff at our local dollar store.


When I lived in Portland, you could get sets with body lotion, body scrub, shower gel and so on for $5 and it was quality stuff.

If you’re looking for presents for young girls or teenagers, there’s no better place to shop. You can get beautiful costume jewelry and hair things (such as jeweled barrettes and ponytail holders, to name a few) for nearly nothing.

Since I’ve moved to Seattle, the little dollar store in my neighborhood doesn’t have as much as the one in Portland, but I’ve still been able to find some nice things for gifts.

Knowing exactly who and what you’re shopping for will save lots of time and money.

These are just a few of the more non-traditional ways that you can get your holiday shopping done. Fortunately, many of them save you money, time, and make great gifts as well!

More Money-Saving Resources For Holiday Shopping

In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some additional resources to help you save money this year on your holiday shopping: