Budgeting can be difficult around this time of year, but here are some money saving tips that will help you dodge that hefty credit card bill come January.
Shop online, especially if you are buying electronics. Online retailers have less overhead, more rebate promotions, and they will lower their prices deliberately to compete with brick-and-mortar retailers.
Pay Cash for your gifts. I’m talking about paying with cold, hard cash. Studies have shown a correlation with increased spending when using plastic, even if it’s your debit card. Remember, negotiating price is easier when you pay with cash.
Stay away from shopping malls. I have no clue why so many people are drawn to the atmosphere of a busy, crowded shopping mall. All of the most expensive retailers are in the mall, because they are the only ones that can afford the lease agreement in shopping malls.
Do your research. If you prefer seeing the gifts before you purchase them, then go online first and do pricing research to make sure that you are getting the best deal. iTunes has an application for the iPhone and iPod Touch that allows you to scan a 2D or 1D bar code and receive tons of pricing research from other retailers.
Avoid impulse buys. Sometimes we see something that looks, smells, and feels like a great deal, but in reality it’s not that great of a deal. We get caught up in the moment of shopping, so we go ahead and purchase something without much thought.
eBay is still a good resource for hard-to-find gifts. If you are looking for a collector’s item or antique as a gift, eBay is still the leader and best place to find a bargain on these items. Clothes are also great items to buy on eBay. I would avoid buying everyday electronics on eBay. It’s too risky, because many of them are not new, or they are imposters made to look like the actual product.
Write down everyone you want to buy a gift for and put a dollar amount next to each of their names. For instance, mom gets a $50 gift, sister gets a $30 gift, and so on. It sounds like you are taking away the “spirit” of giving by placing a set dollar amount on gifts for each person, but in reality it helps you budget your gift giving
Do your December budget without factoring in Christmas bonuses. Save your Christmas bonus for gifts, holiday food, and having fun. It’s the holidays, relax and have fun with your family!
Be a creative gift giver. Many of you have a ton of talent when it comes to making crafts. Being creative and making a gift for someone can turn out to be a much better gift than receiving another Gap sweater.
Spend time spending time with loved ones. Try doing something that facilitates more time to catch up on what’s going on in your lives.
Make the most of your leftovers. Another thing people do is go out to eat more on the holidaysYou’ll spend more money on groceries over the holidays, so utilize and be creative with the yummy leftovers in your fridge.
Host a pot-luck New Year’s Eve party. You’ll spend much less money having a party at someone’s house rather than going out somewhere, plus it’s safer than going out.
For more on these money saving tips, check out: http://www.peoplejam.com/blog/17233/12-ways-not-go-broke-over-holidays