Get It for Less: Christmas Decorations

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Editor’s Note: This piece is part of an ongoing series called “Get It for Less” that will appear every Wednesday on MainStreet, so check back for more shopping tips on your favorite products.

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — If you haven’t purchased your Christmas decorations yet, there are a few tricks you can use to ensure you don’t spend so much money on ornaments that you have nothing left to buy presents to put under the tree.

MainStreet asked Michelle Madhok, a shopping expert and founder of SheFinds.com, for her tips on how to find the decorations you need this holiday season for less.

Shop At Off-Price Retailers

The best places to find big discounts on decorations are off-price stores like T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, which sell overstock items from other department stores for roughly 70% off.

“These stores get 10,000 new items every week from department stores who worry their decorations aren’t moving and decide to send them to these stores instead,” Madhok says. “They are the same items, but for much less.”

She also recommends shopping at Overstock.com, which is essentially the Internet version of these stores, as well as other e-commerce sites like Rue La La and One Kings Lane, which often have holiday promotions. Browsing products offered by independent sellers on sites like Etsy can also be a great option since they may be more willing to negotiate a better price with you just to make a sale before the holidays are over. The only downside to shopping on these websites is that the longer you wait, the less likely the decorations will be delivered in time to your home.

Follow Your Favorite Retailers

Many retailers and e-commerce sites will likely offer some promotions between now and Christmas, but these bargains may only be available for a short time and in a limited supply. That’s why Madhok recommends signing up now for newsletters from your favorite stores and following them on Facebook and Twitter for instant updates about sales. Alternatively, you can sign up for shopping alerts on sites like PricegGrabber to get notified when the price of a particular decoration drops. This way, if a good promotion takes place, you’ll be among the first to know.

Don’t Be Afraid to Buy Secondhand

If money is really a concern for you right now, your best bet may be to shop secondhand at stores like Goodwill or online on websites like eBay and Craigslist. As Madhok points out, there are countless homes with leftover decorations in their homes who may be willing to sell it for a fraction of what you’d pay in a department store. Of course, this raises an important question that shoppers should consider: Do you actually need to buy decorations at all if you only need them for a few days a year?

Neighborgoods and Share Some Sugar are two particularly good online services that make it easy for users to list and borrow items from people in their neighborhood. So before you open up your wallet for decorations, check to see if anyone near you already has some they can spare.

Buy It the Day After Christmas

It may not help you for this holiday season, but one surefire way to save money on Christmas ornaments is to shop on Dec. 26.

“The day after Christmas is when you really want to shop for these items because stores don’t want to keep it around,” Madhok says. “Anything that’s Christmas themed will be 70% off.” Just keep in mind that there is a narrow window of time of perhaps a few days before the stores ship what’s left to outlets, but if you can pick up something for cheap now, you’ll save that much more money next holiday season.

Take Advantage of Price Adjustments

Finally, one of the lesser-known tricks that Madhok strongly recommends is to pay close attention to the price adjustment policies of the retailers you shop at. Many retailers promise to match the price on a product if it drops within a certain time period after the customer purchased it. Considering that most stores will be slashing prices on Christmas ornaments after the holiday is over, there’s a good chance you could make a significant amount of money back on your purchase.

For those who still have to buy a Christmas tree, check out MainStreet’s tips for how to find one for less.

Seth Fiegerman is a staff reporter for MainStreet. You can reach him by email at Seth.Fiegerman@thestreet.com, or follow him on Twitter @sfiegerman.

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