‘Tis the season for spending money on holiday gifts and cheer. The holidays are a festive and giving time of year, but the merriment often comes at a cost: increased debt. Each year millions of Americans blow their budget on holiday gifts and often take on new debt to cover their excesses. That debt may go into the New Year and even longer. We don’t want that to happen to you, because as retailers our stores are open all year long and we want your business, not only during the holidays but in the other months too. There are many ways to save money on holiday shopping and still enjoy shopping at your favorite retailer. It won’t come without effort, but with overspending becoming as common as eggnog, saving money any way we can is a welcome idea.
Gift giving is a cornerstone of the upcoming holidays, but the season doesn’t have to haunt you for years to come. Far too many people get themselves in debt just to spread holiday cheer. Creating a detailed list, keeping the credit cards at home, using technology for comparison shopping, and searching for coupons and discounts from your favorite retailers are all great ways to save on your holiday spending this season.
The holiday season is a good example of sensory overload. The music, decorations, lights and the delicious seasonal smells assail your sensibilities on every street and in every store. The pace is frantic, the mood is manic, and the atmosphere is, well, different. The holidays are so set apart from the norm that people are tempted to break out of their norm — for just the season. “And that’s where it gets dangerous — financially speaking. We convince ourselves that breaking from our budget and using our credit cards a little more freely just this one time is all right. Come January, we’ll get caught up and back on track. “Unfortunately, too many consumers are paying for Christmas purchases beyond six months, a year, two years and even longer,” says Howard Dvorkin, CPA and founder of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services Inc., or CCCS, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Maximize your spending power:
- Slow down
- Make a spending plan
- Know your limits
- Track your spending
- Shop with a list
- Shop early
- Be an educated consumer
- Load up your wallet with cash
- Use credit judiciously.
- Create a theme for your gift giving; i.e.all things staunton, all things handmade or all things art.
SET A BUDGET THAT INCLUDES EVERYTHING HOLIDAY
Generosity is in the air around the holidays, but we can’t get carried away by dropping hundreds of dollars on gifts each year. To keep your costs in check and to make sure you aren’t overspending, the experts recommend coming up with a realistic amount of money you can spend during the holidays. That figure should include everything: from gifts to wrapping paper and any expenditures that go towards holiday entertainment. Ideally the number you come up with isn’t going to put you in debt. If it does, they say to scale back your plans. Once you know how much you can spend, then and only then should you start allocating how much is going to go to whom. When creating your holiday budget, try to find room to cut your spending. Instead of buying your co-worker a $50.00 gift, consider baking her something or taking them out for coffee or a store you love to browse (Hint, Hint: LTD 7) and spending only $15.00, say on a gift card to go along with your adventure together. Ltd7 purposefully stocks their holiday inventory with items from $3 – $50+. There something nice for every budget! That’s a win-win to me.
CREATE A SHOPPING LIST
One of the easiest ways to overspend around the holidays is to go shopping blind. If you don’t have a list of exactly what you want to get each person, chances are you will spend more than you planned. Make sure you let the salesperson who helps you know your budget. That way they won’t tempt you with items that are far too pricey. Here is a link to free printable gift guides and lists. http://www.passionforsavings.com/free-holiday-budget-gift-list-printables/
Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are big days to save on your holiday gifts, but the deals don’t end there. The sales typically last all the way until the last minute, which means even procrastinators don’t have to blow their budget. Becoming fans and following small business on social media will yield you savings in the form of special discounts and sales. Don’t forget to sign up for your favorite retailer’s email lists, and Facebook page. Often they will send coupons via email. LTD 7’s Loyalty Club is one such example.
GO DIY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
Nothing means more than a gift that comes from the heart, and often homemade gifts are really appreciated. Home-baked goods, a home-cooked meal or a knitted scarf or wreath you made can show you care. We love to help our customers prepare fun gift baskets or purchase the materials they need for a project. Perhaps consider giving your friends a class you can take together. Draw up a fancy coupon and deliver it with a small token gift around the holidays. You can both look forward to the class as the New Year begins. We offer classes all year long at LTD 7 and many bring their friends and enjoy a fun evening out.(BTW: LTD 7 has these awesome wood pieces for your diy ornaments!)
USE ONLY CASH OR DEBIT
A surefire way to almost guarantee you overspend is to leave the house with all of your credit cards in hand. After all, it is way easier to make impulse purchases if all you have to do is whip out a credit card and worry about it later. But if you use only cash or a debit card you can better stay on track. And if you keep most of your purchases on one or two credit cards you can track your spending better and may even get a few miles or some bonus at the same time from the credit card company.
LET FAMILY TRADITIONS DECIDE YOUR SPENDING
Most of us cannot remember gifts we received last year, let alone as a child. It’s the family traditions and memories that really stand out. When deciding what to buy and what to do, first consider your family’s favorite traditions and holiday memories. For example, My dad buys these beautiful Junior Women’s Club Staunton Ornaments for each of us, all while supporting a non profit and we treasure them each year.
What about you…ask yourself these questions:
What truly brings a smile to your face and the faces of the people on your list?
What is the one thing you’d most like to do this holiday?
Is there something new you’d like to try?
Stop in to one of LTD 7’s two locations and see if we can help you put together those dreamy, budget-friendly gifts for the special people in your life.
Living the Dream