Boss Your Holiday Money Around

This could be the year you not only get your Christmas and holiday shopping done early, but you can actually buy those gifts with less money, and less stress.

Per The National Retail Federation ( we spent an average of $730+ in past Holiday seasons:

After all was said and done, NRF found that holiday sales increased 3.8 percent to $602 billion. More than 90 percent of Americans celebrated Christmas, Kwanza or Hanukah last winter, the most-celebrated season of the year.

Here are concrete suggestions on how to get a handle on this expense:

#1 List whom/what you are buying this weekend.

Many of us can name the obvious family members, but go ahead and think thru those smaller gifts you buy at the last minute for those people that you always forget to buy for. Think thru your daily life and list those that might slip our minds: the piano teacher, your parents care giver, the mail man, the school teachers, friends, the boss, co-workers, the small hostess gifts for any parties you might get invited to. List your philanthropy donations, your house decoration needs and any other “out of the ordinary” expenses you will incur this holiday season.

#2 Create a Gift/Spending Idea Book...stat!

Write down 2-3 ideas by each name/category, and a $ amount that you absolutely commit to not exceeding. Is Aunt Suzy always a challenge to buy for? No problem, get Uncle Bob on the phone for his suggestions.  You are starting early so you have time!  Make a page for each person/category. Cut out ads and photos of the items you are considering. This will make it much easier to compare and contrast the possibilities you encounter. An extra plus, is that the items you seek are now moved up in your mind-rolodex (not to mention the gift book you are now carrying around). You will be surprised as how many times you encounter a chance to buy an item while out on other errands.

#3 Begin your Gift Research – and rack up $ Savings.

From google to, there are a myriad of ways to find the best/smartest deal on your gift search. Are we advocating buying the least expensive answer to that category? Believe it or not – no. Check the return policy, credibility, reliability, and shipping rates of what you find. Compare purchasing online to buying in a brick & mortar store. We personally make this search a game. If I wrote down that I wanted to spend $50 on Aunt Suzy for a “best-widget-ever”, we make a goal of finding it 10-20% less than what we wrote down. We don’t always make it, but more often than not, we do. Don’t forget shipping (if buying online) and taxes. They can easily be budget-busters.

#4 Important shopping points to remember:

  • Don’t forget shipping (if buying online) and taxes. They can easily be budget-busters.
  • Study the return policy. If Aunt Suzy won’t see her gift until Dec. 25th, make sure you can return the gift later than that. Many stores take gift-giving returns into consideration and will lengthen their return policy in the winter.
  • Inexpensive gift wrapping idea. We buy all our gift sacks/tissue at dollar stores.
  • The minute that gift gets home with you, why don’t you go ahead and wrap it. Your gift book will remind you what you bought if for any reason you need to revisit the buying decision.
  • Keep receipts. Get a gift book with a pocket or envelope to hold them all.
  • Get a gift receipt as needed. We always attach the gift receipt to the gifts that we mail to far-flung family members. It puts them in the driver’s seat of returning it and getting something that is fits better…or gasp…gives them a chance to covertly return something they don’t like!
  • Consider signing up for e-mail notifications from stores you plan on buying from. Often you will get savings/sale coupons. Many wait a week or two (or longer) to send these savings opportunities to their e-mail list. That’s why you are in the driver’s seat by starting this research process now!

#5 Watch those purchases

  • Now is NOT the time to rack up credit card debt. Come to think of it, there is never a good time for that. Many gifts you can give are free…from time to homemade items.
  • Put your Christmas/holiday budget into your spending plan now by dividing the total amount/weeks remaining to shop.

Want More Tips?

            Spend $100 or less on College/Apartment Furniture

As JellyGeneration says:

You CAN Have Success in the Middle of It ALL

Please leave a comment.  We'd love to hear your Holiday Savings Ideas.  

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