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Save Money During The Holidays With These Simple Tips

2013 December 19
by Craig Timmins

christmas-shoppingThe Christmas season, meant for sharing good times with family and friends and giving thanks no matter what your religious affiliation might be, instead often turns out to be the most draining time of the year for most people. Unfortunately, a large portion of this stress comes from financial concerns.

How can you afford travel costs to see extended family, chip in for a beautiful Christmas dinner, and still be able to afford presents for all the kids? While some of these expenses can’t be avoided, there are several things you can do to cut down on your holiday shopping costs and allow yourself some extra financial wiggle room.

Plan

Holiday shopping can be a lot like grocery shopping. Instead of heading to the mall and seeing what catches your eye, plan a list before you leave the house, and stick to that list. Even if it takes you a little more research beforehand on what you plan to buy for each person, sticking to a list will help you avoid spending unplanned cash on all the special offers, impulse items, and quaint Christmas decorations that line the aisles in every store during the Christmas season.

Start Earlier

It is no secret that the closer you get to Christmas, the higher prices will get in stores and online. Last-minute holiday shoppers frequently find themselves in a panic, willing to pay almost anything for the perfect gift that they neglected to buy earlier. Stores count on this frenzy, and price accordingly. You might be tempted to wait and look out for a great pre-Christmas deal, but the majority of the time you would be much better served to get your gift purchasing finished and out of the way weeks before the first Christmas music is piped through the speakers at the mall.

Much Earlier…

Beware of Black Friday and other holiday sales that seem much better than they really are. Often, prices are hiked way up so the “percent off” deals appear irresistible. Summer sales on winter items can be a great way to pick up presents a full six months before the shopping panic sets in. If you can handle planning so far in advance, the best time to stock up on great gifts can actually be the huge after-Christmas sales, because stores are in a hurry to rid themselves of winter gear to make room for their incoming spring inventory.

Go Offline Too

Try not to limit yourself to online shopping only. Prices often look better online at first glance, but when you add in the cost of shipping and handling, not to mention shipping for possible returns, the money can add up quickly. If the savings are worth more to you than the convenience of online shopping, it’s a better idea to dust off your comfortable walking shoes, call some good friends, and head out for a day of shopping the old-fashioned way.

If you can afford the time, try to shop around. Plenty of money can be saved by looking around at different outlets as sale days come and go. It also never hurts to ask store employees when a certain item on your list might be going on sale. They will not always have access to this information, but on occasion you might find a helpful employee willing to share this harmless bit of information with a friendly customer.

Following these guidelines can help you shave a couple hundred dollars from your holiday shopping. If you hit the stores early with a solid plan of action, you might find that you can get your gift-buying out of the way with months to spare. This is not only a huge source of stress-relief, but it also allows you the freedom in your budget to set aside money each month into your savings at a time when other people will be out blowing their cash on last-minute gifts and impulsive holiday purchases.

By Craig Timmins

Thanks go to Craig from the price comparison site sell cell who has helped provide us with some tips of how you can save money and make money during the festive holidays.

Image: Christmas decoration – Free picture for blogs

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