Holiday Budgeting Tips From Coupons.com’s Household Savings Expert
We all have one wish for this holiday season, and it’s to make it through to 2010 without going broke.
Coupons.com Household Savings Expert Jeanette Pavini is here to give you helpful tips on how to navigate the holiday season with your budget, and sanity, intact.
• Before pulling out your wallet, set a holiday budget by writing a list of every person and every occasion (don’t forget holiday parties you’re attending and hosting) you’ll need to buy for this season, and then allocate a dollar amount for each name and event. Remember to factor in sales tax and possibly shipping costs.
• Stick to your budget by finding ways to save on each and every purchase:
• There’s never been a better time to take advantage of coupons, promotional codes, club cards and rewards points from credit cards.
• Always comparison shop, as prices vary from store to store, and be sure to save receipts to get refunded for any later price adjustments.
• Consider opening a store credit card for additional discounts on high-ticket items, but first be sure you will be able to pay it off as soon as the bill comes to avoid interest charges. Also, know that every time there is an inquiry to your credit history it can lower your credit score a few points, so don’t apply if you are in the process of refinancing or buying a home or car!
• Get creative with thoughtful, personal DIY gifts:
• Cook your trademark dish and include a “Top Secret” envelope with a copy of your family recipe.
• Decorate a small clay pot to match a friend or family member’s kitchen and plant a one-of-a-kind herb garden.
• Create a custom coupon book with redeemable offers for organizing photos, a car wash, a home-cooked meal, a massage, etc.
• A great, inexpensive way to punch up a floral arrangement is grabbing branches, swags of evergreen or winterberries. Arrange in a large vase to bring the outdoors inside this holiday season as a housewarming gift.
• Donate your time. As a priceless gift to a friend or family member involved with a non-profit or devoted to a particular cause, volunteer with the charity. Whether it’s a clean-up day at the beach or park, assisting at a soup kitchen, or delivering means, get a group of friends to join in for an experience no one will forget.
• If you unexpectedly get a gift from somebody that’s not on your list, resist the urge to buy them a present in return – you didn’t budget for it and you’ll end up having to gift them next year too. Simply say, “What a pleasant surprise, thank you so much for thinking of me.”
• Lottery tickets are always a fun and unexpected “little something” for co-workers – and they make great stocking stuffers too.
Check out Coupons.com for tons of great manufacturer’s coupons to save even more on your holiday gifts, meals and supplies.