This is part of the 30 Days to a Debt-Free Christmas Challenge. You can sign up to join!
I remember lying on the berber carpet in our living room with a JCPenny catalog. My parents asked my brothers and I to cut out pictures of things we wanted for Christmas and place them in an envelope. The promise of Christmas was in the air, and this tradition gave us hope we would actually get something we wanted rather than a shirt or coat we needed.
Catalogs are still around, but technology is making it easier, faster, and more efficient to find what we want online. Amazon.com’s Wish List feature has replaced the envelope with pictures torn from pages of a catalog and reduces the risk of a toddler cutting themselves, or their siblings, with scissors.
Anyone with an Amazon.com account can create a Wish List or multiple Wish Lists. There are lists for Wedding or Baby Registries, Kids’ Birthdays, and one called “Friends and Family Gifting.” The list can be kept private or shared with others – and it can save you hundreds of dollars at Christmas.
Almost Always the Lowest Price
First, let’s save money by using Amazon.com to buy Christmas gifts. I personally use Swagbucks.com to earn gift cards and save them up until Christmas time to use them.
While it may be possible to find a better deal in the stack of Black Friday ads coming to a mailbox near you, there is no quicker way to find the best price than to use the internet. And while everyone’s online stores will be offering some “doorbuster deal,” it’s even faster to use Amazon to locate a great value.
Let us use the example of our nephew. He wants a rock tumbler set. We could open an internet browser tab on the computer and do a search on Walmart.com, open another tab to search Target, and a third to search eBay. As I am writing this, each website lists it for the same price as Amazon.com, saving $10 dollars off the list price.
It’s hard to beat Amazon’s prices, and I am certain they will be competitive during the Holiday season, but knowing what is on his Wish List helps me save time and money to buy him the right gift.
Save on Shipping
With Amazon’s Prime membership (you can get a free trial here), you get free two-day shipping. If you don’t pay for the membership (currently $99 for one year) you can still get free standard shipping on many items when placing orders over $35. This saved us $7.99 to have the rock tumbler shipped to our house. Another option is to pick your purchases up at one of the many Amazon Locker locations around the U.S.
Is this a gift for someone you won’t be visiting in person? Save another $7.99 by having the present shipped to their house instead! As an additional feature, Amazon can gift-wrap it for you (at an additional charge).
Regardless of how they are delivered, using an Amazon Wish List makes it easy to compile a list of gifts throughout the year, order them at one time, and save on shipping costs.
Avoid Exchanges, Returns, and Frustration
Do you wander around the mall aimlessly looking for “just the right gift” for Aunt Judy? It’s maddening! What if you were to add to your Wish List that nifty kitchen gadget she was enthralled with during her summer visit?
I’ve done this for my daughter. She wanted a very specialized set of Copic markers. I put it in my Amazon Wish List and ordered it before her birthday. She was ecstatic! No returns, no exchanges, no “this is the wrong one, Dad.” Only joy!
The beauty of the Amazon Wish List is it helps us remember what specific item our loved ones want – and prevents the awkward “Oh, Steve, you shouldn’t have. I mean, really, you SHOULDN’T have” statements that always accompany a poorly-chosen gift.
A few years ago my brother purchased a wood-carved bird as my Christmas gift. While it truly is the thought that counts, there is nothing even remotely close to resembling something like that on my wish list!
Save Money with an Amazon Wish List
Do we need some of those unusual trinkets from time to time? Sure, I guess. But if you want to buy something your loved ones won’t and save hundreds on Christmas this year, then have them share their Amazon Wish Lists with you.
We saved $10.00 on the purchase of a rock tumbler kit, $7.99 in shipping, time at a specialty store, and a couple of bucks on gas while scoring huge points towards becoming my nephew’s favorite uncle.
So, how much would you save by using Amazon Wish Lists for all your Christmas gift-giving?
Read more from Steve Stewart at www.SteveStewart.me.
Steve Stewart is a husband, father, and long-time believer. For the past several years he has made it his mission to help everyday Americans like you learn how to pay attention – not interest. You can learn more about personal finance by following him on Twitter @SteveStewartMe or his blog https://SteveStewart.me/blog