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Posted in Frugal Living

Successful Holiday Shopping Without Breaking the Bank

Successful Holiday Shopping Without Breaking the Bank

The holidays can be a time of hustle and bustle – especially when it comes to shopping! Yet, while all of the joy that the holidays bring can be nice, this time of year can also be somewhat expensive – especially if spending isn’t kept in check. The good news is that you can put some strategies in place that will keep your expenses down and not leave you with high and unpaid credit card balances in January.

Look for Good Deals

One way to avoid overspending is to do some pre-shopping research. This can easily be done by calling various stores, as well as visiting websites where the items you need can be found. This research will arm you with the information you need to get your shopping done quickly, while at the same time avoiding higher prices. According to a Deloitte survey, majority of the holiday shopping is done in December and just 11 percent of holiday shopping happens on Black Friday. Shopping early can also help you to avoid the frustration of crowded stores, full parking lots, and holiday traffic too!

Consider Buying Online

Another way to help keep your holiday finances from getting out of control is to buy online. Many of the big retailers have websites that offer items at great prices, as well as free shipping to boot. This is especially the case for those who do their holiday shopping on Cyber Monday.

One potential caveat here is that it can be easy to get distracted while surfing the Internet. Pop up ads and promotional emails can pull your interest towards impulse items that you don’t need – but are led to believe that you can’t live without.

In this scenario – just as when shopping in a brick and mortar store – if you stick specifically to a shopping list,  you will likely have a much easier time blocking out the clutter and accomplishing your shopping mission without overspending.

When making your list, you can also get a good idea of the price of the items you are shopping for before actually making the purchase. This can help you in determining where to actually purchase, as there could be large price differences on the same item from different sellers.

Simplify with a Gift Card

For those who are hard to buy for, gift cards can provide the perfect solution. An extra added benefit is that you can specify the monetary amount of the gift card. This can help in knowing exactly how much you will need to spend.

It can also open up a whole host of possible gifts, too. For example, many online retailers such as Amazon.com offer a large variety of items to choose from – giving the gift card recipient many potential gift choices.

An extra added bonus about gift cards is that the recipient can use them to pick out an item that they would truly like – removing the possibility of having to return an item that is unwanted or, in the case of clothing, an incorrect size.

Today, just about all retailers offer gift cards – including both physical and online locations. Therefore, the possibilities are just about endless in terms of where to obtain a gift card that would be ideal for anyone.

If You Have to Buy On Credit

Because people typically spend more money during the holidays, it may be necessary to purchase at least some items on credit. If this is the case, there are a few tips to keep in mind that will help to ensure that you aren’t still paying off these bills in July.

First, keep your credit spending to a point where it can easily be paid off – ideally with the next statement. Some credit card companies offer their customers a “breather” after the holidays by forgoing interest for a month or two. This is a nice benefit, and it could offer you the opportunity to spread out your payments over a longer period of time. If this isn’t an option, be sure that you put as much as possible towards paying off an amount that could be saddled with 18 to 20 percent interest going forward.

You may also consider opening a charge account at a particular store where you will be buying several gifts. Oftentimes, retailers will offer nice discounts on merchandise to those who open an account on the spot. Here again, though, the discount will really only be beneficial if you pay off the charges before the high interest hits your balance.

The Bottom Line

Holiday shopping can entail many landmines if not approached in the proper manner. By following just a few simple tips, though, this event can go from frustrating and expensive to enjoyable and easily paid off within just a short period of time.

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