It is Never too Early to Save Money. Are You Thinking About the Holidays?
By Michelle P. Sharrow, MBA
October is now here and we are less than 90 days away from Christmas. I know some of you are still waiting for Halloween to come and go before you start thinking that far ahead. But now is the perfect time to start planning and picking up things for your love ones especially if you'd like to maintain a sensible budget throughout the remainder of the year. Besides, I can name quite a few stores that had holiday merchandise on display as early as the end of August. As with everything in life, preparation and time are key in getting ready for the holidays. Here are just a few ideas to jumpstart your thinking before the real hustle and bustle begins.
Black Friday Deals
There are several sites on the internet that provide links to Black Friday sales ads days if not weeks before the sale such as bfads.net and blackfday.com. By accessing this information ahead of time, you can plan how you will spend that day knocking off everyone on your list. You can also snatch up some pretty nice gifts at unbeatable prices that you might not otherwise be able to afford. Additionally, many stores such as Walmart and Best Buy allow you to purchase Black Friday deals from the comfort of your home via the internet. By planning ahead, you can maximize your time and reduce your stress.
Guess what! Store ads are already being posted online for Black Friday 2007.
Preset Spending Limits and Family Gifts
Consider limiting yourself to a maximum amount per gift this year. How much is enough? Only you can answer that. It depends on your after tax income and your monthly obligations. I have been able to find great gifts for adults under $20 and under $10 for children by shopping discount stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls.
Additionally, if there are multiple children in a family, why not purchase a board game or similar toy that can be shared? Not only will this help your budget, but it will also encourage more family time and interaction. I don't know any family that couldn't benefit from that.
Some of the sweetest and most memorable gifts that I have received over the past few years have been handmade by children - my son at his daycare and my niece at her school. By far they have been the most inexpensive, yet so personal and unexpected. If you have small kids, why not consider having them make gifts for their aunts, uncles, grandparents or teachers. For a just a few dollars through the use of those 50% off coupons at Michaels or A.C. Moores, you can really save. They even offer workshops where they can make their gifts with the help of a trained professional. This is great for someone who is just a tad bit concerned about the gift looking too home made. Magnets, soaps, and jewelry are just a few of the things that your children can make as gifts.
Since it is only October, stay tune for even greater ideas in my November and December columns. I'll even try to include some ideas for those who enjoy the thrill of shopping with the masses.
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