The holidays are a magical time of year, but they can also be the most stressful. Family, food, shopping, crowds, and chaos abounds. Here are five tips to help manage the holiday stress by not breaking the bank.
- Limit Spending: Determine the number of gifts you are planning to buy, along with the total dollar you amount you plan to spend. This would include gifts for family, neighbors, co-workers, pets, friends, etc. Put a set dollar limit for each item. Use coupons whenever possible. You can also save by participating in a gift exchange, contributing to a group gift, or donating your time to local charity or non-profit.
- Price check BEFORE purchasing: Did you find the “perfect” gift for your friend, but it is over your set spending limit? Before you put the item back or enter the check-out line, do a quick price check with other retailers on your smart phone. Many stores will price match if you find a lower price or better deal elsewhere.
- Get creative: If you’ve got some skills in the kitchen or with art supplies, consider making gifts. Creating a homemade item can have deeper meaning because of your ability to personalize your item. You may surprise yourself with what you can do with items within your home. Mason jars, brownie or pancake mix with a little ribbon can go a long way to reducing costs. You’ll look like a champ by creating personalized gifts instead of overspending.
- Shipping COSTS: You will more than likely purchase some items online. Remember that the listed price rarely includes shipping. Watch for hidden fees like “wrapping” or “care and handling” fees in addition to traditional shipping costs. Do your research and seek out online retailers that provide “free” shipping.
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