Posted by Fred Lake

Effective and Easy Holiday Spending Savings Strategies

Effective and Easy Holiday Spending Savings Strategies

You'd have to believe this season is the best time to score shopping deals on festive holiday advertisements and store promotions. That's true in some cases. But many retailers rely on deep discounts to hook shoppers on specific products that will also buy higher-profit items.

Unplanned purchases and impulsive buying during the holidays are not always bad as long as you keep your budget in check and try to save extras for the last time. But many Americans shop without a plan, making them vulnerable to holiday deals and signs of sale that could get the best of them.

Follow these 8 tips while shopping this season to avoid going overboard on holiday spending.

Set a Budget 

Start by creating a budget that fits with your wallet and strategy. Write a list of all the people you'd like to buy and set a dollar amount for each person. (Always keep in mind smaller items such as stocking stuffers). Your list may include: 

  • Family
  • Friends and Neighbors
  • Co-workers
  • Service professionals (mail carriers, trash collectors, hairdressers)
  • Your children’s friends and teachers

You should be selective. Cross them off your list once you've purchased a gift for someone. To make your gift seem more meaningful, avoid adding last-minute impulses.

Do Your Research 

Make sure you know the best deals will be when and where.

If your list includes a big-ticket electronics item, check prices online before heading to the store. Some retailer websites offer special deals and coupons – you just have to look them up over the internet. 

The best sales could be the week before Christmas for items priced at $100 or less.

Search the holiday papers through circulars and search for coupons on the internet before tearing up big sale weekends through the stores.

Resist temptation. Buy what you've come up with, then leave. Also, if you’re seeing stores that are selling out of products, stop worrying. You'll most likely find a similar gift elsewhere — maybe even cheaper.

Skip the Store and Shop Online

Gas, parking fees and child care. These are only a few of the things that you will save, plus you can shop day or night at any time. Just make sure that you:

Compare items from different shops on websites such as retailmenot website. Factor in delivery prices when your holiday expenses are calculated. Most shops offer free holiday shipping on Cyber Monday (after Thanksgiving Monday) or Free Shipping Day.

Factor in Extras

Beware of the secret holiday prices. Gift wrap, vacation cards, wrapping and mailing costs all add to your gift prices.

Pay with Cash

Put your credit cards at home and spend just as much money as you've spent on your budget. This is the best way to stay in your budget for holiday expenses. You can't afford it if you don't have the cash.

Consider Alternatives 

Less expensive gifts can be as meaningful as items purchased from the store. Consider these alternatives: 

Handmade presents like jewelry, baked goods or playlists for music.

Arrange a potluck dinner or dessert gathering instead of giving gifts to friends.

You're going to be surprised how many people will appreciate the savings in money and time together.

Secret Santa: Tell the family's adult relatives to buy a big gift for a specific individual instead of buying gifts for everyone else. Each person picks a name from a hat and buys only one gift.

“Treat yourself” a little bit less

By now, we're all too familiar with the savings cliché of "latte routine," but it's important to ramp up those savings on holidays. Essentially, the theory says you'll have more change in your pocket if you stop spending on lattes (or lunch out). These small lifestyle tweaks are easy ways to save on daily spending.

Give Something Homemade and from the Heart

Showing up a holiday party with an awesome but expensive bottle of wine may seem like the perfect hostess gift. But giving something homemade can still show your appreciation and allow you to save money during the holidays. A great choice can be cookies, cakes and other baked goods. If you're a crafty person and everything about DIY, adding a little elbow grease to make jewelry, pottery or festive ornaments is also a good bet and can help save your holiday.

Fred Lake
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