by CareyAnn Peterson
As the holiday season quickly approaches, it’s important to prepare yourself for all the costly expenses that come with spreading Christmas cheer. Here are a few helpful tips that may keep you from going overboard this season.
1. Create a Holiday budget and stick to it. While you may remember to budget for how much you will spend on presents each year, many forget to budget for the other costly expenses that come up around the holiday season. When you create your budget consider how much you will spend on traveling, donations, decorations and shipping.
2. Avoid the temptation of Credit Cards. Instead of planning on using your credit card for your holiday shopping, it’s always a good idea to sock away extra money during the year to spend on presents and traveling during the holidays. When it is time to start your Christmas shopping, this cushion will lessen the financial burden of the holidays.
Also, when you check out at any of the major retailers, you will often be offered an incentive for opening a credit card with their store. They may offer a 25% discount if you pay with their card and promise future discounts too, but the benefit probably isn’t worth it. Opening or closing too many lines of credit at once will negatively affect your credit score and you will probably be tempted to spend outside of your budget.
3. Find the best deal. If you are shopping for a specific product, doing some easy online research could save you a pretty penny when you check-out. Use your search engine to locate all of the stores that carry the product you are trying to purchase. Many websites like overstock.com or amazon.com carry products at discounted prices. You also want to look at their shipping prices and policies. You may find that some websites offer free shipping or others may offer lower shipping costs than their competitors.
4. Don’t wait till the last minute. Getting all of your Christmas shopping done early will allow you to have time to find the best deals. If you wait till the last minute, you often settle for the most convenient presents, which tend to be more expensive.
5. Book your airfare in advance. If you are traveling around the holidays, shop around for the best prices throughout the week. There are claims that airfare tends to decrease on Wednesdays. Many sites also allow you to sign-up to receive alerts when your travel destinations have special deals and prices.
Although the holiday season is meant to be cheerful, the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping can create an unnecessary amount of stress. Using these few tips will hopefully allow you to have a very Happy Holiday season.