Retailers are already gearing up for the holiday selling season and I predict it will be filled with bargains for the savvy shopper. This season you’re going to have an opportunity to give great gifts without breaking your piggy bank if you follow these simple guidelines.
- Set a goal. Let’s start with your number one overarching goal: Create no new debt! The last thing you want to do is to start the New Year with credit card charges you can’t pay off in full. You want to constantly be working towards debt reduction and elimination, not accumulation! Take a moment to review your current financial situation and set a ‘dollar amount’ goal. How much can you afford to spend (paying cash) this holiday season? It’s ok to use credit cards as long as you have the cash to pay off the new purchases in full once the bill arrives.
- Start saving now. Hopefully, you’ve already saved up some money for gift-giving this holiday season but you still have a few paychecks before the deadline. Think of other ways to raise cash such as holding a garage sale, selling that boat that’s been sitting in the back yard, or selling unwanted items on eBay. It’s a great time to clean house because what you no longer want may be on someone else’s Christmas list!
- Make a list. Make a list of the people you plan to give a gift and keep the list with you. This will give you a head start on your shopping as you never know when you’ll run into a great deal! Having the list readily available will allow you to match a great bargain to someone on your list right there on the spot.
- Let’s go shopping! Retailers are still struggling to recover from the Great Recession that began in 2008 and you can anticipate mega-deal offers to lure you into their stores. Brick-and-mortar retailers are also receiving stiff competition from e-commerce retailers and this competition for your dollars will show up as great bargains for savvy shoppers. My wife and I happened to drop in on a store this weekend, something I rarely do, and found incredible bargains. We immediately began filling our Christmas list orders and did so at a fraction of what we expected to spend.
If you find yourself long on list and short on cash, don’t forget that there are lots of ways to show you care without costing you a lot of money. Some of the favorite gifts that I’ve received in the past are baked goods, hand written notes and family Christmas photo post cards.