My inbox is a flood with reader emails asking how I save money during the holidays, so I thought- why not compile all my tips into one tidy little blog post! Saving money during the holidays is possible. All you need is a little before hand preparation and the determination to not overextend yourself or your piggy bank.
You must set a budget above and beyond your regular every day budget. The holidays mean time with family, first and foremost, but we all know that extra expenses incur from buying gifts as well. For every person you buy for, you must assign a monetary budget. Doing so will ensure that you spend well within those limits.
Knowing what your budget is for each person beforehand, will help you save from making impulse purchases and last minute gift purchases.
Do not wait until the very last minute to shop for gifts. My husband, bless him, shops on Christmas Eve-and I swear the stores jack up their prices knowing full well that there are a ton of last minute shoppers stressed to the max trying to get their shopping done.
It may be beyond the time to do this, but next year- start planning out and budgeting for gifts in late October. Department stores have smooshed together all the holidays anyways, so you mine as well take advantage of that if you can.
Just remember, the more stressed you are and the more closer you are to a deadline- the more apt you are to be impulsive to get things done.
Price compare, price compare, price compare! I beg of thee, do not just buy something without comparing prices between multiple stores first.
You can price compare on the internet, you can price compare over the phone, or if you have the technology- you can download amazing applications like: RedLaser (my new favorite), BuyVia, ShopSavvy, and PriceGrabber. These applications do all the price comparing for you, saving you both time and money.
Cash is your friend, leave your credit and debit cards at home! If you followed steps 1, 2 and 3 then you will know how much cash you need for each gift recipient. You are only setting yourself up to overspend if you bring your plastic with you.
When shopping for gifts online use Ebates and Retailmenot. Ebates allows you to earn cash back on your online purchases. Retail Me Not allows you to save money on your online purchases. Both services are free, easy to use, and well worth it!
Use you talents, make homemade gifts!
If you know how to wield a camera, use photos of your family to make personalized unique gifts at places like Personalizationmall.com (Use PMXMAS to get 10% off your order until 12/25/12) and Snapfish.com.
You get where I am going.
Of course, you knew this was coming- use coupons whenever possible. Like this coupon here for $10 off a $50 purchase at the Christmas Tree Shop :)
If you use all the steps above, you are guaranteed to save some hard earned cash. Happy Shopping!