10 Money Saving Tips on Holiday Gifts
The average family will create enough credit card debt at Christmas that it will take until the following May to pay off the bills! There is a less-expensive way for families to survive.
1 Strategize. 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, go to decide.com which can give you an update on whether this is the best ideal 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 Once you find the best price, print it out and take it into your local store to see if they’ll match the price. To compare prices from the your smart phone get the Coupon Sherpa app or the Yowza app which will help you find codes and prices for your area.
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 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.
6 Specify. During the year, set aside a specific “cash” budget each month to use for Christmas. 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.
8 Simplify. When my hubby and I had five babies in the first seven years of marriage, we came up with the “three-gift rule.” We modeled our gift-giving after the three gifts brought to the Christ child. We chose three simple, yet nice presents per child.
9 Supervise. Take younger children to the local Dollar Store for their Christmas 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-Christmas sales. You can oftentimes get nonperishable gifts for next year’s gift list from 50 to 75 percent off retail—that’s practically a steal!
For 13 sets of Holiday tips from 13 experts, get the Simplify Your Holiday Season book.
America’s Family Financial Expert (R)
Photo credit (2011) Bethany Kay