It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the most expensive one too. If you want to enjoy the holidays this year without paying for them until next year, here are 5 tips to save money on your holiday shopping.
The first rule of every holiday spending season is to set a budget. Even if you normally live by a budget during the rest of the year, making a separate budget for the holidays can help you keep your spending in check. Decide how much you want to spend and divide your money into separate categories, including gifts, food, travel, events, and decorations. Be disciplined and consult your budget often, especially before and right after shopping trips.
You hear about the importance of treating yourself (nearly 60% of people self-gift during the holidays). But with the amount of money spent this time of year, it’s usually better (and a whole lot less expensive) to give than receive. Instead of buying gifts for yourself, rely on the kindness of others or find joy in the simpler indulgences of the season.
As its name suggests, convenience costs are the costs that make life more convenient in the course of your busy, on-the-go life. You grab a cup of coffee and a quick donut, bagel, or muffin on your way into work. And you grab takeout on your way home after a long day. It happens from time to time. And during the holidays, it happens just a little more often. Be aware of the convenience spending that goes on during the hustle and bustle of the season and try to avoid buying into too much of it.
Who says gifts have to be store-bought? Some of the most meaningful holiday presents require more creativity than cash. Crafts, cookies, and cakes are always a fantastic and festive gift options. And instead of exchanging potentially expensive family or office gifts, suggest doing a white elephant exchange or even contributing to a charitable Secret Santa service project.
With the right credit card, your holiday expenses can turn into big-time rewards. If you have a credit card that gives you points for purchases or some other type of reward, consider using it for your holiday expenses and then cash in on something nice for yourself in the new year. Also, look for a credit card with a low fixed interest rate and no annual fee so you won’t be stuck with an unpleasant interest payment for the holidays.
This year, put saving money on your holiday list. Shop smart, stick to your budget, get creative, and make this holiday a little extra special and a lot more affordable.
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