Many families choose to let their household debt increase along with their waistlines over the holidays, but the economy may not allow that type of luxury for much longer. Learn how to save money, even during the Christmas season, by making a few small economies, and planning ahead. In order to reduce holiday expenses, you may need to make some compromises, but not so many that your family loses the joy of the season.
Use Comparison Shopping to Save Money on Gifts
Comparison shopping used to require hours of shuffling papers and rifling through catalogues and store circulars, followed by driving all over town to find the best deal. Now, however, I use the Internet to do my comparison shopping with a few clicks of the mouse. I can compare an item that is new from Target, used from Amazon.com, or from a private seller on eBay, and choose the best deal all from the comfort of my couch. I can find collector’s items and unique gift items online easily, and can often buy them extremely low prices at auction. In addition to the money I save, I also save on gas, wear and tear on my car, and avoid the crazy holiday shopping rush!
Avoid Impulse Purchases to Reduce Spending
Impulse purchases are typically wasted money. From the sweater that you just have to buy because it’s 50% off, but will never actually wear, to a soda when you’re 5 minutes from home, those small purchases add up. If you consistently avoid spending money unnecessarily, your holiday budget will be better able to fulfill your wish lists. I find that when I simply do not carry money around, it’s easier to say “no” to the purchase that I don’t really need.
Start Buying Early
If you wait until the pre-Christmas sales begin, you will find yourself fighting over the same old stuff that everyone else will be getting for Christmas. In the case of Christmas shopping, the early bird gets the deal. Consider starting as early as December 26th, and you will really have a head-start on the following year’s Christmas presents. Post-Christmas sales have gift sets, knick-knacks, and other simple holiday gifts marked down as much as 90%. Purchasing Christmas cards, holiday scarves, bath sets, and other common presents a year in advance will save a great deal of time and money during the following holiday season.
In addition to post-Christmas sales, most stores have other clearance events throughout the year. Keeping an eye out for exceptional deals on overstocked items allows you to not only spend less money on Christmas gifts, but also to spread out the spending over the course of the year. Whenever I find a gift on clearance that will be perfect for someone, even if it is months away from the next birthday or other gift-giving occasion, I simply tuck it away in my closet until it’s time to wrap it!
Christmas Budget Planning Tips
By following these simple tips, you will find that the fun of Christmas gifts doesn’t have to be weighed down with the knowledge of an overburdened credit card. Plan ahead by buying presents throughout the year, to provide a good stock of easy gifts for the holiday season. Use the Internet for comparison shopping on special gifts, to allow you to save money on unique gift items. Finally, avoid impulse purchases during the Christmas season, which will give you more money to spend on gifts and treats.