Every year it seems like the holidays have a way of sneaking up on us! This year you can prepare yourself and your pocket book for the holidays with these money saving tips.
Make a Give List...
Instead of a Wish List, make a Give List of everyone you want to give a gift to this year. Beside each name, list the amount you plan to spend. Setting limits helps you stay within your means and be equally generous with family members and friends. It is also good etiquette when participating in gift exchanges to have a minimum or maximum for what you are allowed to spend on the gift. After you add it all up, you can adjust amounts as necessary to fit everyone comfortably into you budget.
Save Your Pennies...
Now that you have a grand total of what the holidays will cost this year, it's time to start saving! Get into the spirit by wrapping a box in pretty paper topped with a bow. Cut a small slit into the box and turn it into your holiday bank. Deposit all your spare change here at the end of the day or set aside a certain amount of money to put into it on pay day. Put a cute, but strongly worded, not of warning on the gift tag so everyone knows not to open it until the big shopping day arrives. If this option keeps your cash a little too close for comfort, consider putting your savings account to use. Some banks also offer Christmas Accounts for easy holiday saving.
Take It One Gift At A Time!
We all love shopping for gifts, but for some the idea of saving up for one big shipping spree is a bit overwhelming. In this case, spread your shopping out over the next few months. You can do this by assigning yourself a person or a few people to buy for each time you get paid. Shop online to compare pricing and get the best deals. This also helps you avoid the crazy holiday traffic. Remember to cross people off your list as you go and remember to find a good hiding place for all your gifts.
Some gifts, like baked goods that require fresh ingredients, are difficult to buy ahead of time. Luckily many grocery stores sell gift cards that you can buy and then pull out when it is time to start making your famous sugar cookies. This also works for books, games, and movies that have not been released or items that are scheduled to go on sale. With gift cards you have essentially bought the gift, you just need to go pick it up!
Be Thoughtful on a Budget...
Great gifts don't have to break the bank. Some inexpensive gift ideas are baking your friend their favorite cookies, giving the gift of a much anticipated book or DVD, and stuffing stocking or cards with lottery tickets. Small personalized mementos like ornaments, coffee mugs filled with hot chocolate mix, and picture frames showcasing your favorite family photo are also great choices. For other great gift ideas, shop all holiday favors and gifts.
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