With the holidays looming, you might find that your holiday gift budget is a little more stretched than usual. Read on to discover a few common sense tips that will help you save for this special time of the year.
A Little Preparation Goes A Long Way
By being a smart shopper every day, you will have more to spend when the holidays come around. Here are some easy steps to more savings.
- When it’s time to go grocery shopping, make a list. Get into the habit of only shopping for the items on your list and leave impulse purchases at the door.
- Do your online research in advance of a big shopping trip. When you know where the bargains are, you will save yourself a whole heap of time, effort and frustration.
- Make shopping rewarding. Use store coupons and rewards cards and sign up for email campaigns that will send advance details of sales.
- Pay yourself first! Grant yourself a weekly allowance and shop for necessary items guilt free. By paying yourself a weekly or monthly allowance you will avoid the very real temptation of a retail therapy blowout.
Basic Steps To Big Savings
There are many small measures you can take to reduce your bills and help you save for the holidays. When you leave your apartment for the day, remember to unplug all electrical items making sure that you don’t spend anymore on your electrical bill than you have to. This tiny step goes a long way to reducing your electric bill over the course of a year.
When you go to work, adopt a “cash free” day where you go about your day-to-day business without spending a single penny. This is easier than it sounds with a modicum of forward planning: plan your lunches around what’s already in the pantry or the fridge, and take a (reusable) bottle of water with you. Then make sure to put away the equivalent money you would have spent into a savings account.
Now that you have adopted basic budget saving tips into your day-to-day life, you will have a clearer idea of how much you have to spend on your holiday gift budget.
Holiday Shopping Tips
When it’s time to go shopping for your chosen gifts, take cash only. This important step will prevent you from being tempted to use credit to make your purchases. Adopt a stealth-like approach to your shopping trip, planning in advance the stores you intend to visit. Don’t be distracted from your mission; instead, make the purchases you have decided upon in advance. If necessary, you can always go back later and buy that impulse present if there is enough left over in your budget.
Use the envelope system for shopping trips. Make out a new envelope for each person on your list and place in the exact amount needed for their chosen present. Then if the product is further discounted at the cash register, you can put the extra money into a contingency fund.
If you choose to do your holiday shopping online from the comfort of your own apartment, keep an eye open for useful promotions such as free shipping codes or buy-one-get-one-free offers.
Finally, if you are forced to put your holiday shopping onto a credit card, it’s always a good idea to put it on one that will benefit you and your wallet. Use cards that offer cash back with every purchase.
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Photo Credit: Scott Miller