Now that the Holidays are around the corner, you probably find yourself in a huge hole deciding on what gifts to buy and where to buy them.
There will be parties, dinners, and outings – they won’t be cheap.
Here are some tips on how to save some money for the Holidays.
Wear a Sweater
Tempting as it may be, the thermostat can quickly empty your wallet.
Especially in the winter when the weather is cold, you find that every month your heating bill increases because you are too lazy to put on some clothes.
It may not be a sweater. Pull out that favorite hoodie you had stocked away for occasions like these, and walk around the house in style. Even better, wear a ski mask as an accessory.
Keeping warm can be done in a variety of ways, and upping the temperature on your thermostat should be the last choice.
Cut down on dining out
Why are you still eating out so much?
With Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching mighty fast, it would be in your best interest to cut down on the amount you eat out.
Not only will it save money in your wallet to buy gifts for those you care about, but your waistline will also thank you for it.
Save some stomach for the good stuff!
Use cash or debit cards
When you shop for gifts, always use cash or debit cards.
For one, cash will never fail you. Once you’ve paid, you’re in the clear.
By not restricting yourself to the assets you already own, you run the risk of getting carried away during the Holiday Season and building up loads of credit card bills that roll around with 18% interest. What a way to bring in the new year.
As for debit cards (usually linked to a checking account), most of them have cashback or rewards programs, something to keep an eye on when you buy things during the year.
If you purchase enough items using your debit card, you will usually have some sort of perk that you can use to buy other things, say, Christmas gifts.
“Day After” shopping
If your family doesn’t mind, you can always take them Christmas shopping the day after Christmas.
Although a bit counter-intuitive, the deals you will find will probably be somewhere between 20%-70%.
Christmas is a tradition that many people love to enjoy, but giving them presents 1 day after?
It doesn’t bother many people at all.
Wrapping paper is expensive
If you can, try to give gifts that won’t require you to wrap them.
And if you really must, add a touch of humor to your gifts by wrapping them with the Comics section of the newspaper.
If your gift is for a person who enjoys sports, you can wrap the gift up in pages from a Sports Magazine.
Ribbons, bows, and cellophane (warning: will reveal your gift item) are all good and inexpensive ideas to choose from.
The main thing to understand when giving a gift is that it should be creative more than anything else.
Consider online shopping
Many people don’t want to go through the hassle of ordering or buying things online, but these days, it’s rare not to find a deal online.
Some sites even offer discounts to new customers and free shipping when you order over a certain limit.
Places such as eBay and Amazon are still running a profitable business, so they must be doing something correctly, right?
Besides, buying gifts online saves you the hassle of going around to various stores and scouring for deals.
Everything is available for a query at your fingertips, and they ship right to your door, saving you gas money.
Know relative values
As Christmas fast approaches, you shouldn’t be surprised to see SALE signs everywhere you look.
Even places that never seem to give any discounts whatsoever seem to be putting up Moneysaver postings.
Be smart when shopping, and don’t fall into traps. A store could raise its selling price of something 30% then give a 10% discount.
So in effect, you’re actually paying more than what you should be at market price.
If you know how much something costs without any of the markups or markdowns, then you know what is a good deal and what isn’t.
Don’t be so quick to rush in when you see big red signs everywhere.
Other rather useful tips
– If you are looking to travel, book early! Although it is a bit late to say that now…
– Buy a ticket to a show or an event as a gift. These may be a bit more expensive, but they are a breath of fresh air compared to the usual material gift that is useless. Someone will actually enjoy something.
– Make gifts yourself. If you have a special hobby such as knitting, sewing, or carpentry, you can always spend some time to give a gift that has meaning. It should be made with care and love.
Whatever you do this Holiday Season, keep in mind that you should remember to have fun and keep sociable – what the Holidays are all about.
Too often people lose sight of what this time of year actually means by splurging on gifts and going on spending sprees.
Don’t get caught up in the moment – think about the future.
P.S. Your Retirement says Thank you.