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Does the idea of the holidays fill your heart with cheer but your budget-conscious mind full of dread? We’ve gathered 12 tips to help you save money over the holiday season.
1. Stick to your budget
Setting a budget is essential during the holidays. If you don’t plan how much you are going to spend ahead of time it’s easy to overspend. Look at your monthly finances (or savings) and choose a reasonable amount to spend and stick to it.
2. Save throughout the year
The holidays can be overwhelming if you try to fund them all at once. A great way to make the holidays more affordable is to save throughout the year. Consider setting up automatic transfers that will put a designated amount in a special savings account each month.
3. Start early
The closer you get to Christmas, the more willing you are going to be to spend a little more to get that one gift your child has been begging for. Shopping throughout the year will allow you to pick up your sought after gift when it goes on sale in July.
4. Watch the sales
It’s not all about Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Subscribe to the store circulars and follow coupon bloggers online.
5. Use coupons
Always check the store ads and website for coupons. Don’t forget about sites like RetailMeNot for a database of coupon codes.
6. Get cash back
There are many websites that will offer you a percent back just for shopping through their site. Check out Ebates and Great Canadian Rebates.
7. Shop online
Not only can you shop in your pajamas, but you will also have easy access to coupon codes, cash back sites, and price comparison tools.
8. Shop around
If you are making a big purchase, always check the prices at multiple stores before making your purchase.
9. Price match
Many stores will reduce the price of an item to match a competing stores offer. Most of the time, all you have to do is provide proof of the lower price.
10. Keep your receipt
Did you fail to price match or did the big ticket item you bought go on sale the day after you bought it? Many stores will refund the difference within a given time frame. Keep your receipts and check the store’s policies.
11. Start a gift exchange
Buying for everyone in your extended family is expensive. Consider a Secret Santa gift exchange or set a spending limit.
12. Shop what you have
Did you get a gift card last year that you still have used or a kitchen gadget that still sits in the closet unopened? Many times the perfect gift is already in your house.
The holidays don’t have to put you in debt. Come up with a plan and a budget and stick with it. That way you can enjoy the holiday season without dreading the “season of bills” in January.