Don’t set yourself up to start 2011 broke and in debt. Save money on Christmas gifts this year by pre-planning how you’ll spend your hard-earned cash. Do:
1- Set a budget.
Decide how much you can spend on presents this year. What can your budget really handle? $1,000 dollars? $500? $100? Be honest with yourself. Then, use this number as a barometer when you go to a store.
2- Make a gift list.
Save money on Christmas gifts by making a shopping list. Most financial consultants will tell you that writing down what you want to purchase before you leave your home is a good idea. Why? Your list helps you stay on track and avoid buying items you don’t really need.
3- Use store coupons.
Want to give a friend or family member a turkey or ham for the holidays? Use a store coupon. Safeway, Albertson’s and QFC offer money-saving coupons through the newspaper and Internet. Check for them during the weeks heading up to the return of Saint Nick.
4- Share your expenses.
Take advantage of 2-for-1 deals and save money on Christmas gifts by sharing your expenses with a friend. Watch for them in special store mailings. Also, split in half stocking stuffers you can both use like packs of socks, hair accessories and candy.
5- Shop for “family” gifts.
Strengthen the bonds of a family unit and hold onto a few pennies by giving them one gift. Gifts like board games; food baskets and restaurant cards cost less than purchasing for each individual. Also, you can acquire most for under $60.
6- Use your baking skills.
Can you cook? Save money on Christmas gifts by using your baking skills. For people who you want to appreciate during the holidays, but aren’t necessarily close to you, bake cookies. You can place a dozen in a festive tin and brighten up the receiver’s day.
7- Offer up special services.
Out of money? Offer up any special talents you possess as a gift. Clean and organize a messy friend’s closet. Cook Christmas dinner for a family member who doesn’t know the difference between a boiling pot and a frying pan. Sometimes, this kind of gift is much more valuable than a gadget that’ll be broken in a couple of weeks.
Use these 7 suggestions and save money this year on Christmas gifts. Learn to enjoy the holiday season without emptying out your entire savings and checking account.
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