Tips on How to Cut the Cost of Holiday Gifts
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. You can tell because everywhere you go someone is trying to sell you something. Stores began decorating weeks ago and the TV commercials are starting to have that Christmas flavor, too. This year, the National Retail Federation expects each consumer to spend an average of $849 on 24 presents. That's about a 6% increase from last year, and could total as much as $185 billion! There are however, lots of ways to cut back your Christmas gift budget, to avoid the credit card hangover in January. Take Gary Foreman’s Christmas Gift Challenge to see if you can spend less on gifts than you did last year:
1. Get Organized – There is so much more to holiday spending than just presents: decorations, clothes, parties, travel, cards, calls, shipping, mailing, the list goes on. The first step is to figure out and prioritize ALL your holiday costs. Then do like Santa and make the gift list, and decide how much you can afford to spend on each person, according to your total budget. Finalize spending targets.
2. Research Makes Perfect – Tackle the catalogues, shop windows, and online shopping sites to determine gift ideas and prices that fall into your targets. Compare prices to find the best deals. You know how it is; if you wait too long, you’ll be forced to buy something, anything, no matter what the cost.
3. At the Register – Avoid using store credit cards; they consistently have the highest interest rates. Even if you will be paying the bills off by February, you might as well keep your interest expenses down.
4. Giving the Gift of Time – Okay, maybe it's a bit cliche, but it's still true: the most valuable gift you can give is your time. It’s also a great way to cut Christmas-time costs. Why not print up certificates: free babysitting to an expectant mother; or free rollerblading lessons to that nephew of yours who has always wanted to learn?