Tis the season to break your budget and wrecklessy spend money on holiday presents. OK, maybe I’m sounding too grinch like, but you have to admit that the holiday season is synonymous with shopping. My credit union even offers a special type of holiday savings account with a higher rate of return in order to budget and save all year round. Black Friday is quickly approaching, and Christmas is just around the corner. I’m not here to tell you how much you should spend, or what you should buy. Rather, I would like to tell you how to spend smarter this season, and get the best bang for you buck.
Is Black Friday really the best time to shop? The simple answer is “no”. I truly feel that online shopping is your best destination for a deal, and the time of year makes little to no difference. Have you ever tried Google Shopping? If not give it a try. I have purchased my last two television sets, a pair of shoes, and half of the electronics in my house using Google Shopping. I simply type in my desired item, search by lowest to highest price, and seek out sellers with free shipping. Not only do I get to shop from the convenience of my home, but I have literally saved thousands of dollars the past couple years by forgoing the typical brick and mortar stores. Do yourself a favor and shop ahead of time in order to allow comparison and shipping time before the holidays approach.
Time and time again I have extolled the virtues of discounted gift cards! Gift cards are a popular item during the holidays. Let’s face it, it’s an easy way out for that person who has everything, and a lot more tactful than giving cash…though I’m not entirely sure why. Stop by a website like Plastic Jungle (or even one of their reputable competitors) and buy a gift card on the cheap. You can save as much as 20% on a purchase you would otherwise be making anyways, and your recipient won’t know the difference.
I would also encourage you to consider giving donations as presents this holiday season. Perhaps it seems almost cliche to you, but it’s a caring gift, and a write-off to boot! There are many different types of charities that will give you a document in the person’s name for which you make the donation. On the selfish side of things, it will make you feel good! On the selfless side of things, it will make others feel good as well. If you are contemplating what to get that person who “has everything”…give a gift in their name to someone who “has nothing”. Make no mistake the economy is still weak, and there are plenty of food banks out there desperately seeking donations for this holiday season.
As you can see I’m not telling you to make or bake your own gifts here. I’m a personal finance enthusiast, and I believe in making and keeping a budget. I also believe that you should spend considerably less than you make. That doesn’t mean I’m unrealistic when it comes to holiday shopping. Perhaps buying presents makes you feel good inside, or it’s just part of your holiday shopping traditions. I’m just here to tell you how to shop saavy this season, and spend a little smarter.