Now is the time to start saving up for the holidays that are coming up this fall and winter. One of the worst things we can do for our finances is wait until the very last minute to prepare for the holidays. I’ve been that person that’s waited and it’s awful because you will pay any price to get what you need. Here are my tips to help you save for the holidays.
Start looking for sales now. Keep a lookout for sales and clearances on items your family and friends will enjoy so you don’t have to pay full price later on. If your best friend loves to read John Grisham novels and you find a $25 hardcover Grisham novel on sale for $3-5 at Barnes & Noble then you’ll probably want to buy it for them.
It’s an easy way to save and get your best friend what they love. Your best friend probably won’t care that you paid full price, they’ll probably love the gift regardless of the price that’s been paid. Definitely shop around because not all sales and clearances are great deals.
Sometimes I see a store mark down items and they’ll declare that they’re on sale however in my mind, I don’t really think this is a true sale.
Have a budget for each holiday. I don’t like spending more than $100 on Independence Day and Halloween. Your threshold might be less or more than that. That’s perfectly fine, just do what works for you. Have a budget and know your limits. The last thing that you’ll probably want on December 31, 2016 is regret that your household overspent on the holidays.
Think beyond material gifts. Sometimes it helps to think beyond material gifts. If you have a family member that is in six figure debt and doesn’t know how to get out, have them talk to a friend for 15 minutes at Starbucks that has gotten out of massive debt because the last thing that people in debt need is to be lectured to, they might need hope that it’s possible to be debt-free.
Maybe you know a single mother that works all the time and it’s just her and her child for Christmas, they might appreciate being invited to your home for Christmas dinner. Or maybe you work a lot and your kids don’t need anymore toys, they just want to spend time with you. Some of the best gifts I’ve gotten haven’t always been material ones.
Go beyond the usual stores. I heard Dave Ramsey say a few times that his daughter Rachel wanted an American Girl doll when she was little. American Girl dolls retail around $100. When the doll came there was a catalog that came with the doll and Rachel wanted a dollhouse for her doll, instead of buying the expensive American Girl dollhouse, Dave Ramsey went to a used store and got a used dollhouse.
He even negotiated to get a decent price on the used dollhouse. These days there are alternatives to American Girl dolls and dollhouses more than there used to be back in the 90’s and 00’s. This doesn’t just go for dolls, thanks to stores competing for our money, we have so many alternatives these days.
Don’t be afraid to go to stores you normally wouldn’t go to and don’t be afraid to ask for a discount or negotiate. Usually if a store is against negotiation they’ll have a sign and a lot of times you only get discounts only when you ask.
I used to work in customer service and our management taught us that if there wasn’t a sale in the store, to only give discounts to people that ask for it or if there was a defective item.
Getting started on the fall and winter holidays now can help you save money, avoid headaches, and can minimize other annoyances that will come up around the holiday season. Avoid buyer’s remorse by preparing for the holidays right now.
Do you prepare early for the holidays? What is your favorite way to save for the holiday season?