4 Budget Saving Tips Just in Time for the Holidays
By Michelle P. Sharrow, MBA
As we enter the season of giving, it is now more important than ever that we be mindful of our spending habits. With that in mind, here are a four budget saving tips to help you give without digging yourself into a hole.
# 1 Start Early and Resist Impulse Purchases
Even if you are fortunate to have money to spend on holiday gifts this year, you should still shop with a list of items and recipients. The sooner you make your list, the more time you will have to comparison shop and score the best deals.
Sometimes even when shopping with a list we tend to veer off course by picking up other little odds and ends in addition to specific gifts that we intended to get. Protect your holiday budget by skipping the window shopping and the browsing and sticking to your original list.
#2 Cut Back on the Toys and Spend Some Quality Time
Often times we as parents purchase so many noise makers during the holidays that we end up retreating to quieter quarters soon after all of the presents are opened on Christmas Day. In actuality while most children anticipate receiving toys, the thing that they'll most remember when their older is the fun they had with you exploring the bells and whistles of each one. So this holiday season, when money is running tight, don't feel obligated to go overboard with toys, rather plan on spending more quality time helping them enjoy the one or two major items that you were able to get.
#3 Use Online Coupons & Free Shipping Offers to Save More
Because retailers have been hurting this year, cyberspace is swarming with printable coupons, coupon codes, and free shipping offers. For this reason, if you aren't accustomed to checking your e-mail daily, this is the season to do so. Visit the websites of your favorite merchants and sign up to receive sales offers and discount information. Additionally, every time you decide to go out and tackle some of the items on your gift list check your email and internet search engines for opportunities to save.
#4 Don't Give What You Don't Have
Considering that this has been such a tough year, no one should feel obligated to purchase gifts for every single person that they gifted last year or even every single person that gifts to you this year. Consider forgoing adults, coworkers and even certain relatives if you simply can't afford it. If you just can't imagine not giving something, make a nice card, cook a meal or bake some cookies using things you already have around the house.
We should all be thankful to have made it to the end of another beautiful year such that whether we are able to give or not, we should not become depressed. The best thing about the holidays is being able to spend time with love ones that we don't get to fellowship with throughout the year. Keeping that in mind, don't break your budget this year or rob Peter to pay Paul and get a few gifts. I'm sure you'd agree that it is not worth losing your peace of mind and financial security in 2009.
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