It’s that time of year again where children have eaten their Halloween candy, the leaves have fallen, and red and green are in sight. The holiday season will quickly be upon us and it is time to make necessary preparations to remain thrifty during the giving season.
Her are 5 strategies for you to remain stress free and save some money on holiday shopping.
Make a list of people to give gifts to and determine your budget
Making a list of people you will be shopping for and determining your holiday budget is a great place to get started. Develop a holiday budget so that you can visualize how much money you will be spending on each person on your list. Having people on your list that will require more funds is important to note so you can stay within the budget. The last thing that you want to do is put your holiday gifts on a credit card that you end up paying on until June of 2012. However, if you have credit cards where you can earn points or cash back, and are able pay off the debt, you can put some money back in your pocket.
Start shopping early
Have you ever stood in a long line or looked for parking for way too long? I know I have. If you want to position yourself to have a stress free holiday season, get your shopping done early. This will allow you to enjoy that hard earned time off. Beginning your shopping quest early will also allow you time to research the gifts you want to give. Check online, do your research, and determine what is going to be the most cost effective way to get the gifts that you are seeking.
Online shopping: Free shipping offers and coupon sites
Getting a jump on holiday shopping gives time to scour coupon sites, and find deals without shipping cost or sales tax. Now-a-days coupon sites have become a trend. Sites such as: Google offers, retailmenot, freeshipping.org, and Groupon have laid out platforms to stock up on coupons and save money. Whether it is finding a printable coupon, getting free shipping, or finding an item online with little to no additional tax, shopping online can mean big savings.
Pool your money
If someone on your list if looking for that epic gift, you may want to consider pooling your money. Whether it’s a new notebook computer, laptop, guitar, food juicer or a power wheels Ford F150 Truck for your kids, you can utilize a group to chip in to make someone very happy this holiday season.
If you really want to get creative and stay within your budget, you can make a gift. It is a yearly tradition in my family to give our folks a picture taken of the siblings, put it in a nice frame and give as a gift. Staying with the picture theme, you can take the photos of your precious moments, and make a calendar through a picture hosting website for a small amount of money. You can also make your own Christmas cards with words and pictures cut out of magazines. This has also been one of my favorite ways to send some holiday cheer, without spending extra cash. If you want to get really crafty you can make an ornament, put together a recipe book, or make a sock puppet. The fact-of-the-matter is that you can give an extremely heartfelt gift and give it spending next to nothing.
So start your shopping early, avoid the unnecessary stress, save some money and enjoy your holiday’s by a warm fire with your family.
Photo courtesy of David Iliff