It's late December and the holiday spirit is in full swing. What's that in the background that you hear ringing, could it be sleigh bells? Probably not, instead it's the sound of cash registers sinking couples and families into big time debt! Don't worry, there is no need for concern because we have great information and resources that will help your family out.
To make sure you don't start 2012 on the wrong foot and in the red I pulled together some of my top financial friends to help you out. I asked them to share some of their favorite tips on saving big this holiday season and they didn't disappoint. Check out these amazing tips below and make sure you check out their fantastic websites when you have a chance. Leave us a comment letting us know which was your favorite or it you have anything that should be added to the list.
Instead of buying clothes, jewelery, toys etc how about buying the gift that keeps giving...example "STOCK". If you purchase stock potentially it will increase in value and it may also pay a dividend. That's two ways for you to get paid as long as you hold on to the stock.
Buy sporadically. Determine what the total estimated cost of the holidays will be and divide that number by however many paychecks you expect to receive by then. Take that specific amount from each paycheck from now until Christmas and try to take care of a little at a time. Don't ever blow an entire paycheck on gifts! Remember, real life doesn't stop just because the holidays come around.
Don't purchase anything on credit that you cannot pay off by February 2012. Most people cannot remember what they bought as a Christmas gifts last year. However, the credit card bill still lingers today on their credit card. Keep track of every cent that you spend using credit. They say you can save 20% of your purchase with a store card, but they don't tell you that the interest is 18%. Therefore, at best you saved 2%. Don't fall victim to this.
If you have a large family then consider using "Secret Santa" with a predefined spending limit, for example $30. This way you won't go crazy trying to spend $$ you don't have for everyone on your list.
Make a list and check it twice. Call a department store and ask if they provide a concierge or personal shopper. They will retrieve the items without you having to wander through the store and become distracted by holiday music and sales promotions.
Take inventory and utilize what you have: A Nielsen survey found that the average household has 52 unused items originally worth $3,100 presently in their home. How many times have you went shopping, bought something that you just had to have only to come home and never take the tag off of it or remove it from the box? Christmas time is the perfect opportunity to see if the items you have with tags on them match up with anyone on your Gift List.
Use great services like Ebates. This service allows you to earn a rebate just for shopping online through them and when you first sign up you earn $5.00 with your first $25.00 or more order. This can still be combined for a even bigger savings. Another great service that helps me with my shopping is swagbucks. I use the points to help me earn gift cards to Amazon and other stores that I then use for the holidays.
One way to save when it comes to a small gift is by buying a coffee mug set and separating it. You can then personalize each gift set by two or one mugs with holiday candy or their favorite snack or cocoa mix.
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