Surviving the Holidays – How to Save Money During the Holidays
The holiday season is fast approaching, and in today’s economy this is something that is dreaded when it should be something that is anticipated. But, the holidays don’t have to be hard on you or your wallet. Here are some great tips to help you when you begin to budget and start buying gifts for the holidays.
1.) Consider minimize your gift list. A great way to save money is to exchange gifts with fewer people. Maybe you could just shop for immediate family, and everyone else you normally buy gifts for you can offer to just get together with them and do something more personal with them, like getting together for coffee or going to a movie.
2.) Consider purchasing a gift for someone close to you with someone else. For instance, if your sister and you have decided not to exchange gifts this year, but you still want to buy something for your parents, maybe you and your sister could go in with each other on a bigger gift like a new coffee pot or tickets to a show. This way you can split the cost and save yourself so money.
3.) Create a budget. Write down each person you will be buying gifts for and the amount you are willing to spend on each person. Do not go over budget! While this will take a lot of will power, especially if you are a giving person. But, you are not helping yourself save any money if you keep going over your budget.
4.) Do your best to always pay with cash, especially if you are trying to eliminate credit card debt. The holidays will only drag you deeper into debt if you let it. By paying in cash, you are holding yourself accountable and you will see how much easier it is to stay within your budget when you are paying cash for it.
5.) Consider opening a Christmas savings account. This is a separate savings account you use to set money aside for Christmas gifts. This will make paying in cash a lot easier and accessible.
6.) Get an early start. The official holiday shopping season starts after Thanksgiving, but don’t be afraid to start earlier. This will allow you to get a head start on bargains, and buy your gifts as you see them on sale. Maybe you could commit to purchasing one or two gifts on your list a week, that way it’s not as much of a financial sacrifice to do it all at once.
7.) Consider gift cards. This will allow the people you are purchasing gifts for the opportunity to select something for themselves, and will keep you from spending money on something they might not enjoy.
8.) Be sure to get a gift receipt and know the stores return policy. That way gifts can be easily returned or exchanged if they need to be.
These are great tips for getting a great start on your holiday gift giving. By applying these tips, you will not only save yourself money, but you will allow yourself to once again enjoy the holidays. Remember to put your family first, don’t feel obligated to buy for everyone and their brother if you can’t afford it, but at the same time don’t expect them to buy for you. The holidays are about spending time with your love ones, and it shouldn’t be about who can spend the most money.