It may seem like a long way off now, but the holiday season will be here before you know it. Pretty soon, you will be joining the hordes of holiday shoppers, searching for the perfect bargain – and emptying your wallet in the process.
If that last part of the holiday shopping equation bothers you, it is time to start planning. Too many holiday shoppers enter the new year mired in debt, taking months to pay off their bills and struggling to make ends meet.
Fortunately, there is a way to avoid this holiday shopping dilemma. If you plan and use some common sense, you can emerge from the holiday season debt-free and enjoy the new year without all the scrimping. Check out these six smart tips you can use to save money this holiday season.
Don’t Wait Until Black Friday
Shop for bargains all year long. You do not have to wait for Black Friday to start your holiday season; there are bargains to be had all year long. When you see something great, buy it and put it away.
Be Realistic About Your Holiday Budget
Establish an overall budget for the holiday season. It is okay to set monetary limits on gifts, but what about holiday parties, charitable donations and all the rest? Make sure your budget includes everything you will be spending throughout the holiday season, and stick to those spending limits.
Set Up A Gift Exchange
Set up a gift exchange. If you have a big family, a gift exchange is a great money-saving idea. Instead of buying small gifts for everyone in your clan, draw names and buy a big gift for the person you pick. You will save money, and your gift recipient will get something nice.
Regift (It’s Okay To Do!)
Regift last year’s misses. There is nothing wrong with regifting, so feel free to pass along unwanted items from seasons past. You may not love that pair of earrings you got last year, but they may be perfect for your niece.
Coordinate With Loved Ones
Coordinate with other family members. Those letters to Santa can get pretty long, so share the wish lists with other family members. Coordinate the buying, so you know which gifts you’ve covered and which you still need to buy.
Homemade Goes A Long Way
Give homemade gifts. Homemade gifts are something special, and no amount of money can match their generosity and thoughtfulness. Whether you whip up a batch of your famous chocolate chip cookies or knit a sweater for your favorite aunt, homemade gifts can save you money and make everyone on your holiday gift list feel special.
The holiday season should be a time of fun and family, not debt and despair. If you are tired of welcoming each new year with a pile of credit card bills, now is the time to prepare. The seven tips listed above can help you enjoy a debt-free holiday season and a financially successful new year.