How to Save $1,000 by the Holidays

 

Yes, it’s still hot outside and school hasn’t even started yet, but the holiday season is coming. Thanksgiving is roughly four months away, which means if you want to pay cash for those Black Friday bargains instead of charging up your credit card balance, you need a game plan.

The average American spends $1,000 on Christmas gifts. That means if you haven’t started saving yet, you will need to put away $250 per month to make that goal. It might sound like a lot, but there are some tricks that can help you gift yourself a debt-free holiday while making your family’s dreams come true.

Adjust your spending. Sure, this one is obvious, but without a plan it’s not going to happen. Don’t just tell yourself you’ll spend less. Find places where you can trim a little and stick to it. Buy whole foods instead of pre-cut veggies or processed foods. That could save you $50 or more per month from your grocery bill. Also, take your friends and co-workers up on their offers of free zucchini and cucumbers from their gardens. You could also trim $25 from your entertainment budget and $25 from clothes. Put $25 worth of items you don’t need back on the shelf during one Target run, and you’ve just saved $125 for the month.

Increase your income. Summer is ripe with ways to make a few extra bucks. Have a garage sale. Start a pet-sitting or houseplant/garden watering service for family and friends on summer vacation. Finally, open that Etsy storefront you’ve always talked about.

Start your holiday shopping now. If you take advantage of bargains throughout the year, you won’t be pressured into spending $1,000 all in one month. Buying a gift on sale now is even more helpful to your budget than saving money to buy something full price in December.

Article Source: Heather Anderson for Financialfeed.com

3 Last Minute Holiday Shopping Tips

colorful shopping bags set in woman's hand isolated on white

The holidays are right around the corner, as in the end of this week! Have you finished all your shopping? Here are three last minute tips to keep in mind as you venture out to fight the holiday shopping crowds this last week of shopping.

10-second rule

When deciding on whether you should purchase something, use the 10-second rule. Hold the item in your hands for a solid 10 seconds and think hard about whether you actually need it or whether it is the right choice for your loved one. Sometimes we are in such a rush to get things done we don’t actually stop and put thought into our purchases. So before you check that gift off your list, give it the 10 seconds to make sure it’s worth your money.

Cash only

It has been proven that we tend to spend more when we shop with our credit or debit cards. It is so easy to swipe that card at multiple stores without really tallying up how much you are spending. Often times it’s not until you check your account that you realize the damage you’ve done to your wallet. Use the cash only rule to avoid this spending problem. Decide exactly how much you want to spend before you leave the house. Take only that amount with you to the store and you will save yourself from those unplanned (and often expensive) holiday purchases.

Go it alone

Having friends and family members in your life that support and encourage you is something to be thankful for. But when it comes to shopping – sometimes having your loved ones with you can be a huge mistake. They may have the best intentions when helping you check things off your list, but they may in fact be persuading you to buy things you don’t really need to. So go it alone and stick to your shopping game plan.

Happy Holidays!

Article Source: Wendy Bignon for CUInsight.com