Shopping Smart: Budgeting Tips for the Holiday Season

Thursday, October 10, 2013, AM | Leave Comment

It’s time for the Christmas undies, decorations, food, and of course, presents. For many people, however, coming up with space in their budget for everything can be a challenge. This year, rather than make major cuts or run up your credit cards, consider these ways to save money.

Shopping Smart Budgeting Tips for the Holiday Season

  • Search for Deals

    Carefully read through sales ads, and look for ways to combine deals with coupons. While this is good advice to follow throughout the year, Christmas has a lot of good sales on large ticket items, making it easy to compare prices and stack deals. Immediately after Thanksgiving is a good time to start looking for deals on food for holiday parties, while a lot of large ticket electronics will have their best prices on Black Friday or the weekend before Christmas. If you love to shop at after-holiday sales, wait until after January first to find the best deals.

  • Recycle and Craft

    Make your own decorations (or have the kids do it) out of things you already own. Christmas decorations tend to cost a lot of money, and most of them don’t last too long in storage. Get creative or look for online decorations to make yard décor and tree ornaments.

  • Tree Thinking

    Wait until the very last minute to buy fresh Christmas trees, garlands, and wreaths. On December 26th, anything left on local tree lots and nurseries becomes worthless. Tree sellers know this, so they’re usually willing to negotiate the week before Christmas. If one lot won’t bring the price down, go to the next one. Keep in mind that your selection won’t be the best, but you also won’t need to worry about the tree drying out before the holiday.

  • Shop Smart

    Avoid buying the latest electronics, fine jewelry, and hot toys if you can. These items tend to be marked up more during Christmas then quickly reduced in January. The exceptions to this are door-buster deals in which a limited quantity of these items is put on sale to attract customers who will hopefully stay and buy other items. If you decide to try for one of these deals, expect to stand in long lines and be prepared for the items to run out. To avoid this, consider getting older children and other relatives a gift card to the store that carries the item, and a promise to buy after the holiday rush.

The best way to save during Christmas is to remember that the holiday is not about stuffing presents under a tree or eating the fanciest food. Take time to find deals and don’t stress over having a “perfect” Christmas. As long as you find gifts for the friends and family you care about, it should be perfect in its own way.

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