Posted by By Justin at 15 December, at 10 : 44 AM
With Christmas day fast approaching, we’re all groaning and looking at out bank accounts and credit card statements, wondering how much damage will be done this year. Fear not! We’ve put together a simple list of practical tips to help you save money this Christmas season.
That’s right. Who said Christmas shopping needs to involve traffic jams, long lines, and crowded shopping malls? Nobody. It’s time to kick back, relax, grab a cup of hot chocolate, and browse the online stores for some good deals. Amazon.com has fantastic prices, very fast shipping, and even free 2 day shipping for its Prime members ($79/year, with many other great benefits). There are also a plethora of other great sites to buy from. You can even try eBay stores for great deals as well, in addition to all your favorite store websites.
Start Right Now
So many of us tend to wait until the last possible second to buy those presents for Christmas. The obvious problem with this is that the longer we wait, the lower the selection, and the higher the stress levels get. The single busiest shopping day other than black friday is Christmas eve. Why? Because everyone procrastinates, and nobody but the stores benefits because of it. The sales don’t get any better as you get closer to Christmas, because the stores know that you, their customer, are getting more and more anxious and stressed out trying to find a gift for that special someone. So why wait? Get that Christmas shopping out of the way right away and you won’t have to worry about it anymore!
Make A List, Check it Twice
But not to find out who’s naughty or nice. Like Santa, you want to make sure you don’t forget anyone. Forgetting someone could put you in the very situation we were trying to avoid with our previous tip about starting early! You want to keep a brief, very organized, specific list that you can check off as you take care of the gifts for each person. This should help prevent you from buying those “Oh, what the heck, it’s just one more gift!” items that you don’t actually need and that were not on anyone’s list. It’s amazing how much unnecessary junk people buy every year as Christmas presents just because “it’s cheap.” Price alone is never a good reason to buy anything. If they don’t specifically want it, don’t buy it. Period. It’s your own fault if you end up going broke after buying the kids all kinds of unnecessary gifts that they will forget all about five minutes after they open them!
Bonus tip: You can download any one of many great Christmas list apps for your iPhone, iPod Touch, Android Phone, or Windows Phone to help you with most of the things on this list!
Choose Based on Appropriateness and Value, Not Price
If you can hand-make something that could otherwise be bought for lots of money in a store, then by all means, go ahead! If you find something that fits the description perfectly, but it doesn’t cost as much as you think it should, go ahead and pick it up. We’re not talking about buying things that aren’t on your list or that people don’t want. What we are talking about is the fact that some people seem to believe the value of a gift is based sheerly on its price tag. It isn’t, and never should be. The value of a gift depends on what it means to the recipient, and how much thought and love went into its selection, not its price tag. So shop frugally, but thoughtfully.
Have a Budget
Going out blindly into the mall without a spending limit is a sure-fire recipe for financial disaster. It may seem fun now to walk out of the store with all those shiny bags full of gifts, but it won’t be anywhere near as enjoyable or jolly when you get that credit card bill or bank statement in the mail and get hit with the sticker shock then! Decide exactly how much money you can safely and logically afford to spend on Christmas this year, and budget accordingly. This means travel expenses, gifts, meals, activities, events, decorations, and all that comes with the season. Doing this one thing will give you an unbelievably strong peace of mind in the long haul, and will eliminate any post-Christmas regret from ever happening.
Now that you’re equipped with these great tips, go forth and shop! We know you’ll be smarter this year and your wallet and bank account will thank you for it – and your significant other probably will too!
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