Posted by: R.A.Henriquez on Dec 05, 2010
Holiday Shopping on a Shoestring Budget
Contributed by R.A. Henriquez
It's that time of year where no matter how much you've saved up, no matter how good the Black Friday sales, and Black Friday after Black Friday sales, and Black Friday before Christmas Eve Friday sales save you, you might still be coming up short. Some might even be pinning their hopes on the Christmas bonus. But to prevent a Clark Griswald Jelly-of-the-Month-Club rant, here are some ways to make it through the season using budget-friendly ideas.
The most important thing to remember is that though it might be the season of giving, the greatest part of the holidays is family. And family understands that times aren't the best, so do not stress about not being able to get your family that in-ground summer swimming pool that your bonus was going to put a down payment on. Trust me, you're family will love you all year long regardless.
So to remind them how much they love you, why not order a wall calendar or other photo gift at reasonable prices. You can create numerous photo gifts online at any photo-sharing site like Shutterfly, Photobucket, Snapfish, and Kodak. You can even use the same account to print them out at your local Target or Wal-Mart. If you want to stay in the spirit of the season, you can even personalize tree decorations, stockings, mugs, and more!
Shop out of season. Don't focus on what's hot, now. Try to catch sales on light autumn jackets, swimwear, and other warm season gifts that you'll be able to catch at bargain prices. Again, you can visit your favorite stores' website for online-only deals or items that are currently being held in the warehouse to please the Holiday craze. While online, be sure to shop around and compare prices. Often, companies will match prices depending on what you're shopping for. Don't be shabby about printing and clipping coupons either. Finally, some shops may offer free shipping for carts that reach 15 - 25 dollars worth of purchases.
At the time of this writing, Chanukah is a week away and Christmas and Kwanzaa are a month away, so try putting a few items on layaway. Many stores offer no-interest layaway if purchased by a certain time. And though cash advances may seem like a quick solution, be sure not to fall trap to interest rates that can accrue in short amounts of time. Also be sure to keep all gift and purchase receipts and be sure to check return policies-some places only offer a 30-day window, which if bought early, only gives you a day or two after Christmas. And it's no better time than now to learn to balance your checkbook.
You may even offer the one gift that never fails; food. Take charge and offer the Christmas dinner; depending on the size of your family and/or party, most dinners will cost you around 150 dollars (family of 10) if you shop wisely, avoiding name brands. That is considerably cheaper when you take into account what you might spend to get each member a fancy gift. Again, remember that the idea about the Holidays is spending quality family time. So focus on love rather than prices, and be merry.
P.S. Be sure to check out the Insider's Passport Coupons link for other local coupons, deals, and discounts!