Dec 15, 2015 05:25 AM EST
It is officially a holiday season and also an official month of spending vs. saving. A recent survey found that 57 percent of those who participate in holiday gift-giving began their shopping in early November. This was up from 54 percent in 2014 and 49 percent in 2008. Holiday season does not have to be a financial burden if you plan accordingly and implement effective strategies. To help you save money on holiday shopping I've compiled a list of some tips and tricks you can follow to achieve your goal.
Make a budget and stick to it.
Forbes says that, if you have a plan, this keeps you from making impulse purchases, reduces stress, and ensures everyone is accounted for. Start setting aside money early.
Research online before buying
Online reviews are a great way to check if it worth to purchase the product you have decided to purchase. Amazon has costumer reviews on almost every product in the market.
Create a gift pool or account
Use cash or debit instead of credit. Spending money only from one account is a simple way to keep your holiday spending in check. This also encourages you to spend only what you planned.
Have an online shopping strategy
Technology has made shopping much eaiser. Aps like RedLaser that scan barcodes and list the competitive pricing of products (online and at retailers) help you get the best deals. You can use Slickdeals, Falletwallet, and others to gain access to forums on deals and promotions, as well as real time alerts so you don't have to constantly check online.
Seek out price-matching
According to Nerd Wallet, many retailers will offer a price-matching guarantee, that is, they will match the price of an item if a competitor is offering that same item at a lower price. Stores such as Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Toys R Us and others offer price matching.
Suggest group gifts and secret Santas
Within large groups or families, two or more people can always pool their resources and give a gift jointly, a great way to save money on particularly expensive gifts. Another way to save money with large groups is to employ the secret Santa gift exchange method, in which everyone buys only one gift for whomever they were randomly assigned. Everyone still gets a gift and saves time and money.
Know when to stop
Money Crashers says that when your list is finished and you've checked it twice, it's time to stop shopping. Know when you're finished, and avoid stopping by the mall "just to see what they have" - this can lead to making poorly planned purchases and blowing your budget.
Get a head start
The period after the holidays is the perfect time to check your budget and make plans for the New Year. How did you do? Did you stay within budget? Were there places you could have cut back? This is also the time to start planning a credit card payoff strategy if you used plastic to finance your festivities. In a perfect world, you wouldn't have put anything on your credit card that you couldn't pay off in a month, but if you went overboard, commit to a payment plan that eliminates your balances within the next three or four months
It's all too easy to get caught up in the spending phase during the holidays. Everyone is rushed during the holidays, trying to fit in all the extra commitments the season demands. Prior planning lets you stay in the present and have more money in your wallet when the holidays are over. Cheaper entertainment, a focus on family, and a sensible spending plan put you firmly in the driver's seat of your own sleigh.
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