December 16, 2014
Tips to Keep Your Holidays Debt and Stress Free
This holiday season, the National Retail Federation predicts holiday sales will increase 4.1% to $616.9 billion, and the average household will spend around $700.
Were you one of those anxious shoppers on Black Friday, waiting eagerly for those store doors to open so you could run in and grab that desired gift? Or are you one of those that will wait until the week of Christmas and rush out in hopes that what you are looking for is still in stock? Either way, everyone can use some spending advice, as it’s easy to go overboard on spending this time of year.
- Use Coupons: Become an extreme coupon collector. If you are shopping online, do a web search for coupon codes to your favorite online stores; or if you are shopping locally, check the coupons and ads in the newspaper or your mailbox.
- Trim Down Your Christmas List: Double check your Christmas list and see if there are some people that would be happy with homemade cookies or simple gifts instead. Maybe consider a gift exchange where you draw names, so you are only buying for one person.
- Set a Budget: Take time to figure out what you can comfortably spend this holiday season, and make sure you don’t go over that amount. There are a number of free budgeting apps and websites you could use, such as the Christmas Budget Planner or Mint.com.
- Shop Throughout the Year: Don’t wait until the week of Thanksgiving to start your Christmas shopping. Shop throughout the year when you find good deals or have coupons. This will help the major increase in spending at one time, and will allow you to distribute your spending over the course of the year.
- Comparison Shop: Do your research and compare prices for gifts you know you want to buy. Never buy an item at full price – odds are you’ll be able to find it on sale at another store or website. Or if you have time to spare, wait for it to go on sale.
For additional financial assistance, don’t hesitate to visit a financial advisor or trusted websites such as Practical Money Skills or Mint.com. Making smart financial decisions now will allow for a more enjoyable and stress-free holiday season.