The holidays just ended and the last thing any of us want to do is to think about birthdays or holidays for 2014, but now is the time to do just that! Here are some tips you can use to help you stretch your gift giving dollars this year.
1. Stock pile holiday/birthday items. Just about every store you walk into right now is offering sales. Most are 50% off — and some are reduced as much as 75%. You can find most holiday merchandise, winter clothing, housewares and even toys marked down at this time of the year. Target will have it’s semi-annual toy clearance very soon where items will be marked down as much as 75% off!
Make sure you plan ahead and make a list of all of the teachers, friends, birthdays, weddings and events you will have this coming year and pick some things up. Nothing says you have to wait until November to start your holiday shopping!
2. Don’t Fall Into the “It’s On Sale” Trap. Just because something is marked down doesn’t mean you have to buy it. If you find a candy dish that is marked down to $1.50 doesn’t mean you need it because it is marked down. If you can’t use it for a gift idea or for yourself, then purchasing it is actually wasting $1.50.
3. Start Saving. What my husband and I do is take last year’s spending and add 10% to it. Then, we add in our set budget amount for birthdays and anniversaries and then divide that total amount by 12. This tells us how much we need to save every month to fund all of these events. This way, it doesn’t creep up on us. It also is great to have the money available if I happen to find that “must have” item on sale earlier in the year.
One easy way to save money is to just “Keep the Change.” We use cash for nearly all purchases. I always pay with bills and never hand over change. Instead, I just toss all of our change into a jar and accumulate it. You just might be surprised how much you can save by doing this. Our savings for 2011 was nearly $300! Our family actually then turns around and uses that money to purchase gifts for those in need. We’ll even walk to up to someone in the store and hand them cash to help pay for their groceries. Such an easy way to pay it forward in a manner that won’t affect your budget!
4. Work on Your Wish List. Don’t you hate it when your birthday comes around and you get asked “So, what would you like?” Of course, you can never remember at that moment. What I do is keep a file on my computer and when I think of something I would like, I write it down in that file. This helps my family know what I would like, plus they can watch for sales for your gifts too! What better way to say I love you than to get you what you want ON SALE!
Starting on January 10th, we will jump into our 2014 Debt Free Challenge so if you are looking for ways to save and/or get out of debt, make sure you check that out!