For those of us feeling a financial pinch, the holidays can be a time of stress and worry rather than one of happiness and caring. In fact, one of the greatest stresses for most Americans during the holiday season is gift-giving — especially if your list is long. Hopefully, the following tips can help you eliminate some of that stress and enjoy this wonderful time.
- Set holiday spending limits. Give your credit card and your mind a holiday by limiting what you buy to what can safely come out of your bank account. Holiday budgeting is a way to set limits on your purchases and still enjoy the season.
- Make a reasonable list. While Santa has to buy presents for the whole world, you don’t. If your shopping list includes more than five people outside your immediate family, cut down on the number of people on your present list. In fact, many loved ones in your extended family may love nothing more than a personal visit from you rather than an item that you purchase.
- Resist the urge to be extravagant. We all just want everyone to be happy during the holiday season. In order to make that happen, we sometimes think that giving the ultimate gift is what will do it, but it won't. It truly is the thought that counts.
- Remember to clip coupons. Many department stores mail out coupons or include them in the local newspaper. These savings can really add up, and it’s also important to comparison shop for big-ticket items. By doing so, your cost savings could be substantial.
- Suggest secret santa. Secret Santa is a great way to save money for a large gathering of friends and/or family. Instead of buying gifts for every adult present, simply draw names and buy a single gift for a single person within a predetermined budget.
- Take Advantage of Online Deals. Shopping online can save you money and time as you comparison shop. Don’t forget to look for free-shipping codes and allow plenty of time for your gifts to arrive. Many online stores offer extra savings and free shipping over the Black Friday weekend. Be sure to check out the Cyber Monday sales, as well.
- Plan ahead for next Christmas. You can make plans now for next year's Christmas to be even less stressful. Most banks can help you set up automatic transfers from your checking account to a savings account, so your saving can be virtually painless throughout the year.
By following these tips, you are sure to feel a whole lot merrier this holiday season.