LifestylePersonal Finance

Saving Money on Holiday Spending

For many, holiday season decorations include tinsel, twinkling lights and dollar signs. Christmas is a great time to spend with family and friends, but it can also break your budget if you do not plan and spend carefully. Here are a few helpful tips to keep your budget on track:

Shop Early: One of the best ways to save money during the holiday season is to plan ahead and shop early. If possible, get your shopping done throughout the year. You can catch items on sale and often pick up a hot toy before they become the “it” item of the year.

Stick to your Budget: Part of planning early includes creating a budget you can keep. Make a list of everyone you plan to buy for and what you want to get. This will help nix impulse buys and keep your budget on track. One simple trick to keeping your budget: pay with cash or only bring one card. This will limit how much you can actually spend when you are out. Learn to invest the savings you create, make savings and re-investing your #1 priority.

Protect your Identity: The holiday season is ripe with money-grubbing thieves, so keep a tight hold on personal belongings and personal information. Only take one card with you (preferably a credit card or a bankcard that acts as a credit card) or better, pay with cash. Know where your wallet is and keep an eye on it as you travel through to stores to avoid pickpockets.

Create Homemade Gifts: If your budget is thin this year, consider making homemade gifts. Not only will you save some mullah, you will avoid the busy crowds, skip impulse buys and create a unique gift your friend or family member is not likely to get elsewhere. Fun ideas include baked goods, vinyl record bowls, picture frames and quilts.

Draw Names: Once your family starts to expand, purchasing gifts for your entire family can get expensive quickly. Instead, consider instituting a name-drawing system. Simply put everyone’s name into a hat and each person draws a name. If you get your own, toss it back in. If the last person gets his or her own name, everyone tosses the name back and starts over. Now you only have to buy for one.

End of Christmas Sales: Christmas decorations are a great way to add festive cheer to your home, but they can be pricey. Shop end of the season sales to stock up on decorations for the following year. If you hit the stores within a few days following the holiday you will likely find some major steals on items like Christmas trees, decorations, wrapping paper, decoration storage and holiday cards.

Shop Online: Skip the long lines and order items online. You can often get free shipping during the holiday season and many online retailers offer more favorable prices.

Send e-cards: Christmas cards are a lot of fun to get in the mail, so if you are super sentimental, this option may not work for you. However, if you have a lot of names and not enough time or cash to splurge on cards or postage, try sending an e-card. You can even send gift cards online for cheap!

What are some ways you keep your budget tight during the holidays?

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