Save Money This Holiday Season – Avoid the Pain of Your Next Credit Card Bill.
Guest Post by David Landry Jr.
While joy and good cheer surround holiday shopping, there is little pleasure in discovering that you spent far more than you can afford. The sad lesson comes in opening your credit card statement the following month.
To mitigate the pain, or avoid it altogether, here are five tips that can help you reduce your holiday budget:
Budget or Bust
Begin the buying season with a budget. The trick is to create your budget BEFORE you start shopping.
Make certain the budget includes everything – including tiny extras like gift wrap and stamps.
Itemize Your Holiday List
If Santa can itemize his list, the consumer who wants to avoid holiday debt should do the same. A good rule of thumb is to determine in advance how much can be spent per person.
Research how LITTLE can be spent on items you plan to give. Can they be purchased more cheaply online or at an outlet store, or might you find them on sale in a retail location?
Cash is the best way to budget in any circumstance, including the holidays. Once your budgeted money is spent, that’s it. No more. Resist ATM machines “conveniently” located in most malls. Leave your ATM card at home.
Alternatives to Sweaters and Jewelry
The United Way of Greater Toledo recommends simple homemade gifts. Whether crafts work or delicacies such as cookies or pies, homemade gifts are a win-win. Not only are they less expensive, but the recipient will appreciate your effort and creativity.
Found a reasonable price on Amazon.com? Make sure to run that price by BestBuy.com, WalMart.com, Costco.com and other competitors. Online outlets offer numerous incentives, from free gift wrapping to discounted deliveries. Saving a little is just as good as saving a great deal – including gas money and parking fees.
Streamline your holiday shopping budget from fantasy to reality.
Dave Landry Jr. is a business owner and personal finance counselor. Dave has two daughters and looks forward to buying them gifts for the holiday season. He hopes to remember this list when the time comes!