Financial experts calculate that most Christmas debt won’t be paid off until June of the next year. That might put a little damper on your holiday cheer. Here are some more financial tips for holiday savings (read our previous list here!), so you can make sure that you remain within your budget while creating a festive environment for all.
Plan a Holiday Budget
All around the world, workers are seeing their wages frozen or their hours cut. In the United Kingdom, the News Sky claimed that British workers were seeing their wages frozen, squeezed or lowered, while inflation was increasing. The last time the British economy was this bad was back in the 1870s.
The United States has seen the bankruptcy of several large retailers with some experts making comparisons back to the Great Depression of 1929. The Trades Union Congress (TUC) calculated that 1 in 6 families had borrowed money to pay for Christmas festivities.
Don’t be a Grinch, but be sensible.
Everyone wants to see the eyes of their loved ones light up during the holidays. This is the time for giving, so the concept of planning a holiday budget might be foreign to some. Of course, after the holidays are over, those who planned a budget will be more festive than those, who didn’t.
If you don’t want to go all in, you could try to focus on planning a minor budget for one or two expenses. You might try to only use a certain percentage of your credit cards for the holidays, say 50% or so. This should give you plenty of room for extravagant purchases, while not breaking the bank.
Discounts, Coupons & Sales
There are many customer loyalty programs that might have led to accumulated rewards over the year. Now, might be the time to use some of these credits to get discounts on popular products. This helps you defray some of the overall costs of the holidays.
Give Your Time
‘Tis the season for giving, but that does not only mean money. Plenty of individuals will appreciate it when you spend time with them. You can give your time to your loved ones and enjoy the smiles that you share.
When a child receives a handmade gift from his aunt, he might not fully understand the love that went into it. Nevertheless, some handmade gifts might still be acceptable for grownups. On the other hand, you might want to give the children the popular toys and electronics. Children might appreciate handmade candies.
Electronic Christmas Cards
The traditional paper Christmas card can be very expensive to buy and send. Have you seen all of those cute electronic Christmas cards that are available now? This might work for a number or reasons.
Firstly, some of your relatives might live green, sustainable lifestyles. They will appreciate that you did not cut down a tree to send your holiday greetings. You also save money on postage – the United States Postal Service (USPS) will appreciate your foresight.
Secondly, you can save time by sending electronic cards to everyone. Just type out your message and hit Send. You can also send these digital cards as last as December 24th since they arrive immediately.
For recipients who still like paper cards, they can use their own software to print out a version of your Christmas card. They could create a giant collage of all of the electronic card images. Have some fun with technology during the holidays.
Many people remember the great dishes that they tasted during the holidays. Buying all of the ingredients yourself can be very spendy. You could actually plan a potluck to defray your costs and add more variety to the meal selection.
Uncle Joe might have a great bar-be-cue beef dish. Aunt Jane might have a splendid lemon dessert that has been passed down through the family. You can improve the variety and quality of your holiday meals, while cutting costs with a potluck.
Compare Prices Online
Online shoppers are becoming even more sophisticated. Do you know what one of the latest trends in getting the lowest prices is? Consumers will combine their price comparison shopping methods using offline store visits, desktops and smart phones. How does this work?
Experienced shoppers will think about the advantage of each technology. Then, they will use that technology to perform one of their shopping functions. This is the advantage of each method:
• Offline allows for touching and feeling merchandise
• Desktop allows for long sessions to compare prices
• Smart phone allows for quick online price comparison
For those who want to minimize their bills, they might start with a quick smart phone search. They can make a list of merchandise with prices. Then at home, the desktop can be used to find the cheapest prices online for the final version of Santa’s list. Moreover, you could also sign up for a retailer’s Push Notification Program.
Push Notification Programs
VIP shoppers can receive special push notifications on their smart phones telling them of a special product or deal. The shopper must download the merchant app and opt in to the program. You might receive tremendous rebates for being a valuable customer.
Borrowing Money for Holidays
If you need to borrow money for the holidays, you are not alone. Many pay cheques have been stretched to the limit. You still want to see your children’s eyes light up when they receive their presents, don’t you?
Fortunately, companies like BMG Money have services available for allotment loans to tide you over during the holidays. You can make the times, the most festive when you have more money in your pockets. Holidays are the times to make great memories; plan carefully and you can enjoy holiday savings and festive days simultaneously.