If there is one thing nobody loves about the holiday season, it is the cost. If you are like many families, your household may still be coming back from the hard hits of the recession. Don’t let the cost of the holidays dampen your spirit by using these tips to keep more of your hard earned money in your wallet.
1. Shop Early
If there is one thing you do differently this year to save money, this is the one to pick. Not only will you have access to the best selection, you will be less likely to impulse buy and more likely to stick to your holiday shopping plan and budget. Shopping early also lets you shop around and can cut down on expense shipping costs.
2. Save on Shipping
Speaking of shipping, make sure you are getting a good deal with those online purchases. If you can get the same item for a dollar or two more at a local shop, buying it online might actually be costing you more because of the shipping costs. Make sure you shop early, especially for any gifts that need to be sent to far off places so that you can get your gifts there on time without spending more on shipping than you did on the gifts.
3. Make a Plan
The fastest way to spend more on the holidays than you planned is to not have a plan. Make a list of all your holiday expenditures and create a budget. Pick out specific gifts for each person on your list rather than “browsing” for something they might like. This will help you avoid overbuying and will make it easier to shop early and to shop around.
4. Skip the Sit Down
If you are hosting a dinner party, skip the traditional sit down plated service dinner. Instead, opt for a buffet or serve food family style. You will create an atmosphere of togetherness and sharing while also saving a bundle. This holds true regardless of whether you are making the meal yourself or having it catered.
5. Don’t Hesitate to Haggle
While there are some places where haggling, or asking for a better price might be fruitless (like a big box store) there are plenty of opportunities to ask for a better price. You might be able to save some serious money on your tree, food, and even gifts if you aren’t afraid to ask for a better price or a discount.
6. Shop Around
One of the benefits of shopping early is that you have the opportunity to search around for the best price and take advantage of sales. But don’t forget to use this principal across the board and not just for your highest priced gifts. You can save money on everything from wine to wrapping paper by taking the time to shop around for the best possible price.
7. Pay With Cash
It is a simple fact that paying for things with cash makes it easier to stick to a budget than when we start swiping a credit card. Set your spending limits and put that amount of cash in an envelope. Use that cash whenever you go shopping for the holidays. When the cash is gone, so is your holiday budget.
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