It’s December and before you know it, you and your family will be gearing up to celebrate the winter holidays with your family and friends. From hanging decorations to exchanging gifts and preparing traditional holiday meals, you’ll need to set aside a spending budget for the holidays.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), consumers plan to spend $998 on average on holiday-related items such as gifts, food and decorations for themselves and their families this year.
Before you rush out the door to begin your holiday shopping spree, review these tried and true holiday money-saving tips:
1. Make a list and check it twice! It’s important to take the time and write out a list of everyone you want to buy for this year and how much can afford to spend on each person. If you start shopping without a plan of exact recipients and budget, you’ll most likely end up spending more money than you can afford or forget/over-buy for someone.
2. Do your homework – If you have any big-ticket items on your Christmas list this year, such as a laptop, television, game system, etc., spend some extra time researching the various options, brands and reviews. Once you narrowed it down to the top two or three options, scope out the best deal.
3. Be on the lookout for deals – If you’re like most people, your email inbox is probably flooded with messages from your favorite retailers about special deals and sales. If you really want to hone in on the best deals around, check out and follow some blogs that are dedicated to holiday shopping deals.
4. Shop online – Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) is where it’s at when it comes to online shopping! Skip waking up at the crack of dawn on Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving) to stand outside in the cold, waiting to get into crowded stores. Shop online deals from the comfort and safety of your own home.
5. Quality over quantity – Spend your money wisely. Wouldn’t you rather receive one nice high-quality item instead of ten cheap items that won’t last? Find gifts that hold true value for the recipients.
6. Steer clear of credit card debt – Avoid charging more money on a credit card than you will be able to pay off after the holidays are over. In addition – don’t get talked into opening store credit cards while completing your holiday shopping. Know your limits when it comes to spending your money on gifts.
7. Buy experiences instead of stuff – Rather than buying your family members material things, consider buying an experience that you can share together. Whether it be a day or weekend trip, a fun outing to enjoy now or later next year, experience gifts are the way to go.
8. Solo shopping – Although it may be more fun to shop with your best buddy, you will be a more efficient shopper if you go alone. Avoid being influenced to make a big spur-of-the-moment purchase and save some time by hitting the mall solo this holiday season.
It’s important to always closely monitor your finances and set a realistic budget for you and your family. When the holidays roll around, it’s easy to get hung up in the joy of the season and go overboard in the spending department. By following such money saving tips, sticking to your designated budget and using credit responsibly, you are setting yourself up for a responsible financial future.
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