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Money Saving Tips for the Holidays

Posted by: Jaime Faulkner on Monday, December 5, 2011 at 8:48:31 am

The winter holiday season is almost here. Soon we will be busy with holiday activities--cooking, decorating and socializing. We'll also be shopping for gifts for family and friends, but unfortunately may overspend. Then in the New Year, when the bills start rolling in, reality and regret will strike.

Here are some tips on how you can enjoy the season without inducing an overspending hangover in January.

  • Make a list of everyone on your gift list. Try to limit it to close family and friends, and set a maximum amount to spend for each recipient. Calculate this total; if too high, revise the individual limits to keep the total reasonable.
  • If you have overspent already, review the list to see where you may be able to give meaningful gifts without spending. Consider giving personal "coupons" for specific chores-for example lawn mowing, babysitting, cooking a meal or hand car washes.
  • While some people enjoy the hustle and bustle of shopping malls, you may prefer to stay home and shop online, which saves on travel expense. To maximize the value of virtual shopping, look for free-shipping promotions. Another option is to check with nearby retailers to see if they can save you on shipping costs if your item is shipped to the store, instead of to your home address.
  • Many people use credit cards for their holiday shopping in order to increase frequent flier miles and other rewards offered by their credit card company. There are benefits to this strategy, but keep in mind that will need to budget for the charges arriving in January; they will need to be paid off to avoid incurring large credit card interest.
  • You might opt to use cash for Christmas shopping. Decide on an amount for each person, total the amounts, and take cash from your checking account. Divide the cash into your predetermined amounts for each person, and place the cash in envelopes with each person's name and amount on the envelope. Take these envelopes with you on your shopping excursion. Stick with your list, and when the cash is gone, it's gone.
  • With social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook, you also may be able to find additional money-saving coupons and discounts.
  • If you have adequate storage space, one of the best times to do your Christmas shopping is in January, when retailers are clearing out their merchandise from the holidays. Along this line, think of shopping for stocking stuffers during the year, as these trinkets can become costly if bought during the holiday rush.

To make the most of your holiday season, sit back and take a moment to enjoy the meaning of the season and the opportunity to gather with family and friends and all those you hold dear. Then take a deep breath, and shop wisely.

 

Source: Indiana Bankers Association - November 15, 2011

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