The holidays are a great time to reconnect with friends and family, enjoy time together and are generally considered a time of cheer and good tidings. But for some the holidays can be stressful, due to the amount of money spent around the holidays. The National Retail Federation predicts Americans will spend over 670 million around the holidays in 2017, and in 2016 the average American spent $929 on gifts. Don’t let the spirit of giving get the best of you and your finances. Here are six ways to help you save money on gifts and other expenses this holiday season.
- Make and Stick to a Budget
Before you make a list of who you need to buy gifts for, make a budget. Then you can go in and see how much you can afford to spend per person on your list, or shorten your list of gift recipients if you need to. Once you’ve set a dollar amount for each person it’s important to stick to that amount to stay on track.
- Start Early
While the official holiday shopping season typically starts on Black Friday, you can begin looking for presents year-round. Even by starting a few weeks early like in October, you will have the opportunity to spend over a longer period and avoid last minute costs like shipping fees or high prices for popular gifts.
- Make DIY presents
If you have a special skill or talent that can be a great source of gifts. You can babysit for your friends, teach them how to make your signature dish if you’re a great cook, or take family portraits if you’re a photographer. If you’re crafty you can make gifts like jewelry or a hand knit hat.
- Pay Cash
Paying in cash is an easy way to see how much money you are spending and help you stick to that initial budget. It’s also easier to skip those small purchases like a hot chocolate at the mall when you shell out cash instead of swiping your debit or credit card.
- Create a Gift Exchange for Large Families
For large families it is costly and impractical to buy a gift for everyone. Instead you can do a White Santa gift exchange or draw names out a hat to see who everyone will buy a gift for. You can also set a budget. Even if the budget is 50 dollars or more, buying one gift at that price instead of smaller gifts for every cousin is still more cost effective.
- Take Advantage of Love to Shop Rewards
One of the Palisades Perks you have as a member as a Palisades Credit Union member is access to Love to Shop Rewards. Just register for a Love to Shop account and earn cash back from hundreds of online retailers like Target, Neiman Marcus, The Home Depot and more when you pay with your credit union debit or credit card.
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