We’re so thrilled to be teaming up with our sponsor Harris Bank who’s asked us to offer up some of our smartest money-saving tips just in time for the holiday shopping season.

As self-proclaimed shopaholics, the holiday shopping season might just be our favorite time of year. But before we plunk down our hard-earned cash, we want to be sure we’re getting the best deal possible. There’s just nothing like scoring a discount, especially when it doesn’t take too much extra work to get it.

To help you save a little cash this holiday, we’ve rounded up five of our favorite ways to save money on some of the coolest gifts out there.

1. Shop Online

We’re partial to online shopping as a way
to avoid the hassle–not to mention gas, tolls, parking and overpriced
food court charges–of stores during the holidays. It’s also so easy to
compare prices online easily, especially with tools like Priceblink.
Or check out the
top coupon sites
on the web for discounts and free shipping.

There are already online discounts to be had, believe it or not. If
you’re an online shopper, Amazon has just launched a Black
Friday Deals store
, which, contrary to its name, is already
offering consumers (like us!)
awesome deals on products. We’re seeing lots of
discounts on electronics, toys on sale for the kids, and two-for-one
video games, and if you’re a Prime Member you get free shipping.

2. Shop Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals

We know that the idea of getting up at 4AM to score a huge discount on that special toy or cool gadget can be a bit of a pain, unless your baby is awake anyway, but still the prices can make it worth it if you’ve got a lot of people to play Santa for. Do a little research on sites like BlackFriday.info first, which compile all the info from Black Friday ads so you don’t have to.

Also check and see if the deals apply to online purchases; all things being equal, it might be better not to be in the store at dark o’thirty.

3. Sign up for Those Flash Deals Sites!

These days, you’ll find no shortage of flash deals sites that offer their subscribers amazing discounts  on great items from clothes to accessories to toys. While it’s not the place to shop for a particular item on a wish list, it can be great for general requests like “a cool jacket” or “something fun for the baby.” And don’t forget those holiday hostess gifts.

A few of our favorites include Fab.com for modern home decor and gifts; Pure Citizen for eco-goods; Heartsy for handmade; Ideeli for designer splurges; Giggle Deals for baby gear; and for everything fashionable, the original trifecta of Rue La La, Gilt, and Haute Look.

They’re all designed to help keep money in your pocket–often up to 70% of it.

4. Head Down Under

Since our winter is their summer, some of our favorite Australian online boutiques, like Elk Accessories, offer fantastic discounts on their winter items. Perfect timing! Be sure to check exchange rates and shipping charges, which still can make your purchase worth it. And best of all, you’re pretty much guaranteed that no one else will have that same item under the tree.

5. Create a Budget–and Stick to It.

One of the best ways not to overspend is simple: don’t overspend. Set a budget, then document all your purchases. When you’ve hit your limit, you’ve hit your limit. Stop the shopping, and refocus energies on gift wrapping, cookie baking, and spending time with those kiddos.

Thanks to our sponsor Harris Bank for sponsoring this series. They’re really committed to helping families make good financial decisions and we love them for that.

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