Christmas time is an easy time to go overboard on spending, but practicality and the economy begs us to to be careful. And in truth, because of the current economic situation, it’s important that we watch every penny. Here are a couple of tips to save money but not deprive your loved ones of gifts this Holiday Season.
1. Create a budget that works and stick to it. Include all holiday items in your budget – gifts, food, wrapping paper, cards, etc. If you’ve gone over your budget, try to reduce it as much as possible – don’t turn down your sister-in-law’s invitation for the Thanksgiving dinner meal, and it’s okay if Santa didn’t get the Power Wheels Jeep Hurricane – a Playmobil toy will do just fine.
2. Try to use cash and not credit cards. It’s easy to go way over your budget when using credit card. Use cash and when it’s finished, it’s finished.
3. Don’t give in to the temptation of opening a Macy’s, Lord & Taylor or Bloomingdale’s credit card to save 15%. It’s worth it to give up the 15% and not spend more than you can afford.
4. When shopping in department stores, if you don’t have coupons, ask your fellow shoppers if they have. Most coupons can be used multiple times and shoppers are more than happy to help each other out.
5. Make an exact list of what you need to get. This will avoid impulse shopping. Stick to the list. You can replace items on the list as you’re shopping, but don’t add to it.
6. Try to get necessities as “stocking stuffers” so you can kill two birds with one stone. You can get new school supplies, socks, hair accessories, and toiletries.
7. Instead of buying that $30 cake from the bakery, why not bake one? If you add up all the ingredients, you will find that a gorgeous cake can cost you under $5.
8. Sign up online for email coupons from your favorite stores. You can also put yourself on their mailing list, so you can receive catalog specials and coupons in the mail.
9. Search through your wallet for credits and gift cards. Now is the best time to use them!
10. Try to shop earlier on so you don’t have to come up with a large sum of money. It’s easier to work smaller sums of money into your budget each month than one lump sum in November-December. Also, if you start shopping Spring-Summer time, you’ll find that you can get ornaments and gifts at half price!
Just remember that it’s important to stick to your budget. Don’t fall into the trap of “Just one more thing”. More often than not, that “one thing” turns into many more. Good luck!