How would you like to simplify your holiday shopping and be free of any added debt?
The average family will create enough credit card debt during the holidays that it will take until the following May to pay off the bills! Tweet This
There is a less-expensive way for families to enjoy the holiday season. Saving money doesn’t have to be impossible during this time of year.
To simplify your holiday shopping – and save big – here are a few tips to follow.
Decide which gifts you want and match them with sale ads. Check off the items on your Master Gift List and note any special limitations (i.e., price only effective for three hours, limit two per person).
Awesome Note is a great app to help. Prioritize the stores you’ll shop according to limitations and values. If you can’t decide if prices are going up or down, decide.com can give you an update on whether this is the best deal or not.
2. Shop for Comparisons
Once you find the make and model of a gift you want to purchase, do a search at Bing, Slickdeals, or Mysimon. When you find the best price, print it out and take it to your local store to see if they’ll match the price.
3. Save when Shopping Online
4. Split It
Follow the divide-and-conquer rule by shopping with a friend or your spouse. If there are multiple purchase discounts, such as “buy two and get the second one at half-price” or a two-for-one special, you can go together and split the savings, thus taking advantage of the offer.
5. Save by Baking
My kids help me early in the season to make various sweetbreads to freeze. When it comes time to give gifts to teachers or friends, we tie the breads with raffia, cranberries, and voila!
These gifts taste great and save money.
During the year, set aside a specific “cash” budget each month to use for the holidays. Don’t use credit cards unless you know you can pay them at the month’s end.
7. Stick to Your Guns
Be aware that you may be tempted to keep buying even when you’ve already conquered your list. You can go broke saving money, so stick to your budget.
When my hubby and I had five babies in the first seven years of marriage, we came up with the “three-gift rule.” We chose three simple, yet nice presents per child.
Take younger children to the local Dollar Store for their shopping for friends and family. Give them an appropriate budget and money, then let them choose.
10. Steal It
Set aside money for the after-holiday sales. You can oftentimes get nonperishable gifts for next year’s gift list from 50 to 75% off retail—that’s practically a steal!
Now that you have some solid steps in place to de-stress during the holidays and spend less, let’s look at some ways that you can make this time of year more special for others in your home, community, and the world.
As you look at these special gift ideas, try to incorporate friends, family, or even your kids in the giving process. I know that our kids were raised being aware of helping others in the world and they are continuing the tradition as young adults.
Now that’s a legacy worth giving.
Gifts That Give Lots and Cost Little
Adopt A Grandparent – Start a year round visitation of a shut-in or someone in a nursing home who has no other family nearby.
Coupon Booklets – Give your family member a coupon book with the things they love most: a hug, a back rub, a walk in the woods, a complaint-free kitchen cleaning, or a date for coffee and talking.
Acts of Kindness – Invite a mom whose spouse is deployed, and her kids, to spend a holiday evening with you or offer to watch her children while she shops. Clean your elderly neighbor’s yard or offer to help decorate for the holidays.
Bake for Others –Why not bake a surprise loaf of bread for someone who is not normally noticed such as a cashier at the dry cleaners or a base gate guard? There is a great feeling in reaching out to those who are overlooked and it’s also an incredible lesson to teach your child.
Toys R Us – If your child tends to get over gifted by too-eager-to-please grandparents, then why not consider passing a gift or two to another child in your community who might need it more?
Smiles, Kind Words, Laughter – Have you ever noticed how busy salespeople, waitresses, and postal workers are during this time of year? The next time you’re waiting in line, speak a simple word of encouragement to someone else like “I like your necklace” or “You’re having a great hair day!” You may be the only person who has been kind to them that day.
What gift are you going to give this holiday to make someone else’s life better?