Is this you? Are you in the shopping mall crowd or are you peacefully shopping online from home and having items delivered?
There are so many ways to avoid this, save money and still have a holiday. It takes planning and starting early, even if you’re making holiday reservations. Early often means the vendor wants to log sales early, so your discounts could be substantial. How to do it and what to buy depends on the nature of your circle of family and friends. We live in a world of teenagers who like money, digital stuff and clothing. Our little research, however, is based on our needs and our families. We stayed out of the stores. We found a few deals out of many. We first mapped out a plan because at least for me, going broke for the holidays is old fashioned, boring and stupid. This is what we came up with:
- Figure out the budget. Decide the total you can and will spend on Christmas for EVERYBODY. (We once witnessed unemployed parents charge $250 earphones for their teenager, so she could be in the same “league” as her classmates.
2) Start early. When merchants send notices of sales in July, August, Labor Day, Halloween and now, early November, check them out.
3) Make a list. (Know exactly who gets a gift from your budget)
4) Research expectations by asking everyone what they might like (meaning they might get it).
5) Shop prices for the best deal, something you have time to do if you start early. It’s amazing how prices vary from store to store and online site to online site. Some online vendors with free shipping have also pushed up the price of the item. Buyers need to do the math first.
6) Spread out the shopping over time (like starting waaay before now). The easiest way to be flat broke in January is to spend all of your money and more in December.
7) Book & Travel Early. The earlier you book flights, the more you will save. If possible, travel either several days or the weekend before the holiday or travel ON the holiday. Flights are empty and often the prices are less.
8) Brand new expensive party outfits can be a waste of money because you won’t want to wear the same outfit, same time next year. It probably can’t be worn to the average “after work” gathering. So eventually, those silver crystal Yves St. Laurent shoes you bought for the Christmas party, will never be worn again and will eventually be sold on eBay for less than ⅓ the original price. (That was me). Pick up a couple of new accessories and create a whole new outfit from the same ole’ dress. No one notices.
TIP#1: We despise those promotional emails but many of the companies have deals ONLY for those on their email subscription list. For example, if you are thinking about giving gift cards this year, American Express is offering gift cards without a purchase fee if you sign up on the website to receive AMEX promotional emails. Those $3.95 purchase fees add up if you buy multiple cards. A couple of the major drugstores have off and on promotions on photo cards, books, calendars etc. that are always popular around the holiday. Walgreens is offering 50% off until November 11th on photo cards and stationery and 40-50% off on other photo gifts. CVS Pharmacy has a similar offer of 40% off most photo gifts such as blankets, coffee mugs, pillows and stationery. Those little deals are just a drop in the bucket and most of them are “online only” deals for items you design and either have shipped or pickup in store. Most restaurants offer deals for gift card purchases. Restaurant gift cards are good for people who love to eat out.
For us, there is never a mall near the holiday. For that matter, there is hardly ever a mall. We, like many shop online and get it delivered. We won’t be in stores, traffic nor will we be stressed and sluggish from food. Our online orders have been delivered to us already. Our local healthy supermarket is taking catering orders now and so, for the most part we are done. I don’t know about anybody else but while we try every second of the day to laugh, love and live life, part of the plan is to discard all stressful activities, objects and ideas. Now that our home is empty of “things”, we’ll pull out our one little nutcracker, pick up our catered dinner, and kick back (with football). If we feel like it, we might do something spontaneous like get in the car and go while the roads are empty. Remember, it’s also the day when flights are not crowded, airline employees are at peace and travel deals are right there. The world is our playground.©
by Dianne Thompson ® comments welcome at email@example.com