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The holidays are right around the corner. The feeling of December rolls around and not being prepared can be overwhelming. These few simple tips can help you prepare so you can actually enjoy the holidays without all the hustle, bustle and frustration!
Start Early. Yes, start now! Last minute shopping can lead to overspending. Spread your holiday list out over the next few months.
Make a List and Check it Twice. Create a list of gift recipients, and other holiday expenses like company parties, decorations, parties, and travel expenses. You do need to keep an eye on these holiday expenses as well.
Budget. While sticking to a budget can be sometimes difficult, having one will definitely help you stay out of debt after the holidays. How much can you afford this season? Have a list of gift recipients and budget for each. A few tips to help:
Place the amount you have to spend on each person in an envelope. You can also stick the gift receipts in this envelope so they don’t get lost.
Set a family limit. If you have to buy for everyone in your brother’s family, make sure each of you sticks to the limit.
If you have a large family, everyone can have one person that then need to buy for. One person can be in charge of coordinating the pairs, just put all the names in a hat! Make sure to also have an “emergency” stash for that last minute party or hostess gift that may pop up.
Check Around on Prices. Sale prices are sometimes not the lowest prices! Retailers sometimes over inflate a price to make it seem like a good sale price. Make sure to look at some apps that will help find the best prices, like Amazon, Black Friday Shopping, RedLaser or Slickdeals. Do your research on prices. Many stores will price match but, with proof!
Pay Cash. Paying with cash helps you limit your spending and will keep you on track with your budget. When you pay with a credit card you tend to overspend.
Pay with a Credit Card. I know I just said pay cash, but sometimes paying with a credit card has its benefits like rewards or extra protection for large ticket items. Make sure to check your credit card for these types of benefit before using it. Then, make sure you budget the cash to pay it off the next month to avoid high-interest rates.
Sell… Sell… Sell… Look around your house, chances are, you probably have a few toys, clothes or techy gadgets that you could trade in or sell. There are sites that will purchase your old phones, iPads and such. If you plan to upgrade or have an old phone, check online at places like Gazelle, where an iPhone 5s 64 GB in good condition can be traded in for $150!
Keep in mind that while you may love spreading cheer by lavishing gifts upon friends and family, you will dread the feeling come January when the bills are due!