With the shopping days until Christmas winding down, holiday shoppers may be feeling crunched for both time and money.

If you still have names to cross off your list and only a little money left in the bank, it may be time to move past the traditional savings strategies and try out some lesser known options.

1. Check your closets for gifts from last year’s sales. The absolute fastest and cheapest way to finish off Christmas shopping is to look for giftable items that may be lurking in your home already. Too often people buy items during the after-Christmas sales or during the summer, intending for them to be gifts, only to forget about them in December.

2. Shop with discounted gift cards. When shopping, make the most of coupon codes and use them along with a discounted gift card. Many websites verify the value of a card before its sale, but if you’re purchasing from a private party or off eBay, check the seller’s past customer feedback before handing over your money.

3. Always buy through a rewards portal. This strategy may not save you money upfront, but it can help you earn cash back for your savings account or gift cards toward future savings or purchases.

4. Layer on the discounts. Look for ways to combine existing coupons or discounts with other spending strategies that will keep more money in your savings account.

5. Make the most of store loyalty programs. With the holidays nearly here, online shopping may not be an option, given some shipping times. In that case, store loyalty programs may be your best bet to increase overall savings.

6. Buy refurbished goods. If electronics or appliances are on your list, buying a refurbished item is one of the best ways to get a bargain. While refurbished goods sometimes get a bad rap as being defective, these aren’t necessarily items returned for being faulty. In some cases, they are simply open box returns from people who changed their mind. What’s more, many companies test refurbished goods thoroughly prior to sale.

Source: http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/personalfinance/7-unusual-holiday-shopping-strategies-to-stay-in-budget/ar-BBnGk3k

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