With snow falling earlier this year than I can ever remember, the feel of the season has given me a jump-start to my holiday shopping. While Christmas gift exchanges can be rather expensive, there are plenty of ways to save money. I’d like to share with you a few tips on how you can enjoy the approaching festivities and not start out your New Year haunted by The Bills of Christmas Past.
Cash Back Credit Cards
If you’re diligent about paying off your monthly charges before interest can start accruing, a credit card with a cash back option is a great way to save money. Typical cash back rewards range from 1%-1.5% of the total cost of purchase, so why not take free discounts on gifts you already plan to buy? As a wise colleague once teased me,“I’m able to get that product cheaper than you because I use my cash back credit card instead of my debit card.” Sage advice indeed.
While it’s a little late in the year to start saving for this season’s holidays, setting up a sub-savings account after January 1st is a great way to save for next year’s gift buying. A sub-savings account is an account you create to save for specific purchases or events. If your goal is to save $1,000/year, and you are paid weekly, you can set up an automatic transfer to funnel just $20 a paycheck into your sub-savings account. The nice thing about this type of savings plan is you won’t even miss the $20 per week, and then come next year when it’s time to play Santa Claus again, you’ll have all the money you need!
With technology today, it’s not only easier to find the perfect gift, it’s actually cheaper! The extra cost for gas and meals during local shopping trips or journeys into other cities can all add up and take a chunk out of your budget. Today we can shop for these same items and have them shipped right to our front doors, or you can have the item shipped directly to the gift recipient’s home. Factor in those savings together with the ability to quickly compare prices between retailers, and the time and money saved shopping online can be one of your biggest cost saving options.
Unsubscribe From Retail Emails
There is a reason most retailers ask for your email address at the check-out…because it leads to more spending. According to the online advertising industry analysts at WordStream.com, consumers who purchase products marketed to them via email spend 138% more than those who don’t! While some offers can turn out to be cheaper and better deals that lead to more savings, a retailer’s email hawking their products in your inbox can also lead to excessive spending and can quickly derail your budget.