It’s only October– and people around me are already talking about holiday travel plans and shopping for gifts. I’m so not ready to start shopping for Christmas gifts and looking for airline tickets. After all, I just bought Halloween candy tonite. Anyway, here are a few random thoughts on preparing for holiday shopping early on & maybe even year-round.
Celebrating Christmas usually means spending a lot of money. This can be a major financial drain on families. Pick up some budget-friendly holiday shopping ideas to avoid big debt when January 1st rolls around.
Here are some useful tips to spend less this season.
Buy Gifts on Sale All Year Long
Spread out Christmas shopping all year. Ideally, start on December 26th when there are huge sales to clear stock. Toys, bedding, books, wines and accessories are a few examples of what can be purchased early and kept for later dates. A big advantage of buying gifts year round is beating the mad rush at the mall just before the big celebration.
Buy Directly From Manufacturers or Wholesalers
Many items can be purchased for up to half of the recommended retail prices. Occasionally, even branded items can be bought this way. Watch out for advertisements in the newspaper and drive around commercial or industrial areas for direct to public sale signs. Do this all year.
Use Discount Vouchers
Discount vouchers that arrive in the mailbox are many times treated as junk mail. However, some offers are really fantastic. Use these to enjoy big Christmas savings on things like wine, clothing and household items.
Use Credit Card Reward Points
Make the best of all the credit card rewards benefits offered, especially points. Go through the reward catalogue and decide how to best use the points to redeem free gifts. Reward points from loyalty cards can also be used in the same way.
Take Advantage of Lay-Away During Sales
This is like buying on credit without the interest. Just pay a small deposit for items selected during sales and wait until before the holidays to pick them up. Shoppers can also spread their payments to reduce the pinch of having to pay a big lump sum when collecting the items. Lay-Away is also great for hiding big Christmas presents from kids.
Shoppers can browse, compare prices and buy Christmas presents online. Online stores typically sell products at lower prices too. Plus, there is no need to jostle among the crowds, stand in line to pay or drive around looking for parking. The madness is 10 times worse with young kids in tow. However, buy online only from reputable merchants and those with secure payment services.
Christmas doesn’t have to be extravagant. Families should make a budget holiday shopping strategy every year. Spend less by shopping for gifts all year round. I can’t believe I’m talking about this in October!