The following a blog swap post from Marissa at Thirtysixmonths. She writes about paying down her student debt, being financially responsible, and provides tips and tricks for saving and budgeting. You can find my post her on her blog today, Best money saving tips for the holidays.
The holidays are just around the corner, they are only a month away and if you haven’t gotten your shopping done then you are in for a treat this season. Even though I thought I was being smart and getting my shopping done early, I still got talked into helping my sister with hers. Since I am trying very hard to pay attention to what I spend my money on these days, I was shocked to see how careless some people are with their hard earned cash. There are tons of lessons I have learned from years of last minute holiday shopping and I would like to share some of them with you. Here are my best money saving tips for the holidays:
If you need to travel for holidays, and want to use your points, book early, like really early. I booked my dad’s flight home for him in August. Yes, I know that is slightly overkill, but it will save him a few hundred dollars and he got to pick his seat.
If you are able to leave a day or two earlier or later, do so. This will save a lot of the headaches that occur at the airports, and flights will be cheaper as well.
If you want to redeem your points for gift cards, do it early. It usually takes a week or two for you to get your points in the mail. If you are anything like, you will either panic that the cards aren’t coming in time or forget about them completely and go and buy things with cash, or worse, credit. Save yourself the panic and use your cards early. Using sites like Ebates and Swagbucks allow you to accumulate points really quickly. I learned that you can use a Swagbucks Amazon giftcard to get a giftcard for Amazon. Create a list of stores of items that you want handy at all times.
If you have the patience to comparison shop, which you should always do, shop online.I love shopping online, well, I am trying to not love it as much, but thats besides the point. One of my the best feelings I get is finding something cheaper online and printing it out to take to the store. Mostly these are electronics and I like purchasing them from a physical store where, I feel, I can return it easily should a problem arise. Do your research and find a retailer that does price matching for when you find things cheaper online. Some price match and give you an extra 10% of the difference. That’s almost like making money.
If you have to buy gifts for multiple people who don’t know eachother, buy things in bulk. I normally shop at local vendors where I can haggle a bit for things like handmade scarfs and purses and buying in multiples allows you to ask for a bigger discount. Actually, buy any or all off season items in bulk. I stock up on bathing suits, tanning lotion, mosquito spray etc. because they are so much cheaper in the off season in bulk.
If you are crafty and feel like you have to give present for birthdays, baby showers, wedding showers and christmas, then first try making some of them. I can knit and have recently learned, from a friend, how to make jewelry. I have also made paintings in the past that my aunts have loved it, or pretended to. There is nothing more heart felt than a handmade present, either they will absolutely love it, in which case you can start a side business, or will hate it and will never expect presents from you again. Either way, its a win-win situation.
If you go out for dinner, find restaurants that have specials going on. Some places have free appetizers while others have drink specials. For most people, going out and spending time with friends they havent seen in a long time is treat enough.They don’t need to be at the most expensive restaurant for that to happen. Find ones that fit the occasion, and trust me, there are quite a few.
The holidays are supposed to be a time where you spend time with family and friends and enjoy each others company, not a time where you feel stressed from all the extra debt that you incurred buying things without planning of it.