Ah, the sheer excess of the Christmas season. Carols fill the air. Parking lots overflow. Shoppers walk cheek to jowl in virtually every overly decorated store in their quest for that perfect gift. The one thing that isn’t filled to overflowing is your bank account. You could use some Christmas magic. Spinning straw into gold? No. But follow these budget tips for Christmas spending and you’ll find that your dollar stretches a lot farther. What’s even better is that some of these deals extend past December 25th.
- “P” Before you go: prior planning prevents poor performance.”
Make a list and check it twice. Advance planning ensures that you haven’t forgotten anything important. Gift lists? Check. Money saving coupons and rebates? Check. Specialty store coupons and rebates? Check and check. Some stores allow you to combine two like coupons for the same item, so find out where they are. Bed Bath and Beyond accepts expired coupons and coupons from their competitors, and Walmart will match competitors prices with the proper flyer as proof.
- Put your store rewards or “loyalty” cards to good use.
And always ask the cashier if he or she has an extra saver coupon he or she will use towards your purchase. You may have missed one in your local paper.
- Eke out a bit of extra time
For on-line searching using sites like Google to find printable coupons for your favorite stores.
- Clean Up The Savings, Then Clear Out
Now you’re well prepared, but there are just so many pretty, shiny objects out there. You want to pick up one of everything. Don’t panic. Remember your plan. Take out your list, peruse the best sales nearest your point of arrival first and start there. Take advantage of clearance sections in each store, but never forget your plan. Oh, and don’t dawdle. Studies have shown the longer you spend in a store, the more money you’re apt to spend. You trained for this, and you’re wearing your best running shoes. You’ll be home in time for eggnog.
- Home Can Be Where The Savings Are.
Hate crowds? There’s no rule against staying in the safety and convenience of your own home. Shop on-line using bargain, coupon code, and price comparison sites for the merchandise on your list from your favorite stores Discount code sites like RetailMeNot, and cnet.com/cheapskate are great. But stick with a written plan, even on-line. One tip: if you feel like throwing your computer at someone at anytime during the process, step away from the computer. It’s time take a break.
- Next Christmas.
Plan in advance. Take advantage of sites like ebates.com, which combines coupon code savings and actually pays you money. And put aside $5 to $10 dollars a month on a Visa or American Express gift card. You’ll be surprised at how much it adds up during the months before Christmas.
Last tip? Shop the after-Christmas sales.
The merchandise and decorations you buy this year will still be good next year.
Now get in there champ, You can do this.