This year, the biggest issue most people will deal with is actually paying for holiday shopping. Let’s see if we can’t find a way to SAVE money this year. I will start to make some periodic posts on what we can do to have a much more budget friendly holiday season.
1. BUDGET — Yes, it is that horribly, awful “B” word. It isn’t fun, but it really is a necessity. You should sit down right now and determine how much you will spend on each person you need to buy for. Putting it in writing helps you see the bottom line and sometimes, may help you scale back on your spending……do you really need to spend $100.00 on Uncle Bert this year? Maybe you could get by with even $50 or $25 and still get him something great.
2. PAPER vs. PLASTIC — The first thing I think of when it comes to paying for holiday spending is paying for it with green rather than plastic. I mean, you really don’t want to wake up after January 1st knowing that there are looming credit card bills just waiting to find their way into your mailbox. The rule of thumb in our house is — if we can’t pay for it in cash — it stays in the store.
The average family spent over $1100 on holiday spending in 2008 — and a lot of that was done on credit cards. Think of the interest that is being spent on paying that down and chances are, those balances are still being carried onto the cards into the 2009 holiday season. That is reason enough to turn you into a Grinch come holiday time.
If you stick with cash, the holidays are paid for before the first bow is untied and the first squeal of excitement rolls from the tongues of your family members.
3. SAVINGS – I have been saving all year long. We save a little bit every week and set it aside specifically for holiday shopping. Even if you haven’t saved very much, if you can put back $20 a week from now until the shopping starts, you can save $280 before Black Friday!! For most families, that can be just not dining out one time a week….doesn’t take much to add up!
Another great, easy way to save extra money is to just use the money you save in coupons and set it aside. For example, if you normally budget $100.00 for groceries and end up spending only $75.00, then take that $25.00 savings and set it aside to drop into your Holiday Spending Fund.
Do you have extra “priceless treasures” lying around the house collecting dust? If so, why not try your hand at Craigslist or even have a garage sale? Don’t have enough items to have your own sale? Why not check with your neighbors. Many times, when garage sale patrons see “multi-family sale”, they are more willing to go as it seems there usually a greater variety of items for sale.
These are a few ideas on ways to save and try to spend cash only for your holiday purchases. Stay tuned for more great articles on ways to get ready for the holidays on the cheap!