Christmas Shopping Tips

Ten ways to get the most out of your money this holiday season!With “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” just around the corner, it is a reminder that the holiday season is upon us.  Did you know that the average household spends between $400-$600 per year on Christmas?  That average is down considerably from the early 2000’s when the average was just under $1,100.  With all of that being said, what can you do to make sure you do not break the bank this Christmas?  Here’s how.
  1. Develop a plan.  As always, Christmas is in December.  The best thing you can do to not let Christmas spending get out of control is to plan.  Determine how much money you can afford to spend on Christmas this year (without going into debt).  Then once you have developed your plan, stick to it.
  2. Make a list and check it twice.  Make a list of everyone you are buying gifts for this year and give each person a specific dollar amount (without going over your overall Christmas budget).
  3. Compare prices online before shopping. This is a good way to price check and see who has the best deal prior to going into a retail store.  Remember, when you go into a retail store, they will use all the tricks of the trade to get you to make impulse purchases.
  4. Cyber Monday. A date that is rapidly becoming the next “Black Friday” is “Cyber Monday”.  Cyber Monday is when you can go online and retail stores will offer online discounts and discounts on shipping costs.  90% of retailers this year are going to take part of Cyber Monday (according to MediaPost Publications).
  5. Pay cash. The last thing you need to do while Christmas shopping is go into debt.  When you shop this year use cash.  Did you know that when you use plastic you will spend on average 12-18% more than using cash?  Using cash is another way to stick to your Christmas budget.
  6. Do not buy yourself a gift.  69% of Americans by themselves a gift at Christmas time.  Remember, this is the season to give and not receive from yourself.
  7. Grab bag. This is a fun way to have Christmas and get the whole family involved without buying a gift for everyone.
  8. Be creative. Being creative with your Christmas gifts can be fun, inexpensive and most of all these gifts generally have a longer lasting impact than what you can buy at the mall.
  9. Plan for next year. Let’s say you typically spend $480 per year on Christmas.  If you saved $40 per month (beginning in January) you will have saved enough money during the year to pay for next year’s Christmas.
  10. Remember the real reason for the season.

Justin Bennett