Tag Archive for Christmas Shopping

5 Ways to to Keep Holiday Spending in Check

5 Ways to to Keep Holiday Spending in Check

5 Ways to to Keep Holiday Spending in Check With Thanksgiving now in the rearview mirror, our minds automatically turn toward gift-giving season. We start to ask everyone what they want for Christmas and thus begin making our lists and checking them twice.

We might peruse ads, surf the web and starting an Amazon list. As an adult, though it?s fun to receive gifts, it?s even more fun to give them! We include everyone from family and friends to co-workers, service people, charitable gifts and more. The list is almost endless.

With so many on your list, how do you keep from breaking the bank as a lot of people tend to do around the holidays? Here are some way?to help you keep your holiday spending in check.

Start?a Christmas Savings Account

Different banks call these accounts different things but you can start at the beginning of the year and put a certain amount in each paycheck or each month. Many banks even stop you from withdrawing from this account until December, that way you aren’t tempted to use it on something other than holiday spending.

By saving each month and allowing interest to accrue, you might be surprised how much you end up with in that account. Though it?s a little late in the game now, this is something to look into for next year. Just make sure you don’t fall for the trap of a “Christmas Skip a Pay” ploy on a loan.

Limit?Your Gift Shopping List

Deciding who gets cut from your gift giving list may be difficult, but it can certainly help you reign in holiday spending. Does the entire office need individual gifts or will a couple boxes of [easyazon_link keywords=”Russell Stover” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”wisedollar-20″]Russell Stover[/easyazon_link] in the break room do the trick?

Also think about?donating to a charity or non-profit in someone?s name and give them that gift. You could also try having a gift exchange for your large family or group of friends so each person only has to buy one gift instead of a gift for each person.

Set Spending Limits

Make a budget specifically for holiday spending and set a monetary limit per person on your gift-giving list. This doesn?t have to mean you have to spend the same amount on everyone. If the limit for the family gift exchange is $25, then get that and allow more for your parents. By setting a limit either per person or for the whole season, you can better watch your spending and making sure you are getting the most for your money.

Watch for Deals

Last year I set a budget last year of $50 per immediate family member. Then I watched sales to see when things I had my eye on went on sale. There are lots of sales during Black Friday and into December so you can get more for your money, but be careful because not all Black Friday deals are great.

Shop All Year

It’s never too early to start Christmas shopping. If you plan ahead well and are good at keeping your holiday spending in check, you may benefit from shopping for Christmas gifts all year round. If you buy gifts throughout the year, you can take advantage of sales on different items, and lessen the chance of stores running out of the things you are after.

You can also budget to spend a smaller amount each month toward gifts for Christmas instead of cleaning out your Christmas savings account in only a week or two and feeling a sense of dread over spending so much money in a short period of time.

Christmas is a time for giving as well as spending time with family and friends, celebrating each other.? Plan wisely and don?t overspend your budget. Happy holiday shopping!


How do you keep your holiday spending in check? Have you used any of these ideas to help you stay on budget?


Photo courtesy of: Efraimstochter

How to Handle ?I Wants? from Your Kids During the Holidays

How to Handle ?I Wants? from Your Kids During the Holidays

How to Handle ?I Wants? from Your Kids During the HolidaysAs a parent, the holidays are likely a time of mixed emotions.

Sure, you enjoy the chance to spend quality time with your family, and you love seeing how excited the kids get when they are able to open their presents.

However, you have to balance the budget even during this exciting time of year, which can be difficult to say the least.

If you are going to get through the holidays successfully without ruining all of the hard work you have done on your finances during the year, it is crucial that you manage to tell your kids ?no? on some of the most expensive holiday ideas. Here are some tips to help you handle the ‘I wants’ from your kids during the holidays.

Setting Expectations

Well in advance of the holidays, start to talk to your kids about what they can expect to receive in terms of gifts. You can still allow them to have the fun of looking around for various presents that they can ask for. But make sure they understand that you won?t be able to buy everything in the store all at once.?Ask them to pare down their list to just the few things that they want the most. Then you can pick from options that they are likely to love.

It is never easy to tell your children no. Involving them in the process of picking out presents is a great way to help them see the big picture.

Steer Them in the Right Direction

Depending on the age of your children, you may be able to ?steer? them in the right direction. Point them toward gifts that are fun and yet also affordable. By introducing them to fun presents that come with a lower price tag, you can get them excited about receiving something that you can easily afford.

It isn?t going to be a fun holiday season if you have to stretch your budget all the way to the max in order to pick up the presents that will make your children happy.

Save Up

If you are committed to buying expensive?presents for your kids, you will need to plan well in advance to be sure you can afford to pay cash for them. You don?t want to put these kinds of purchases onto a high interest rate credit card. Plan ahead and save up accordingly so you have the money available to buy the gifts on your list.

One of the hardest things to do as a parent is to tell your children no. But sometimes that is exactly what needs to be done in order to keep the family in good financial position.

Don’t?a disappointing holiday season by just saying no. Work together with your kids to find toys that will make them happy and will also suit your budgetary restrictions. As long as you are smart about the shopping process, the holidays can be fun and affordable at the same time.


Do you hear the ‘I wants’ from your kids during the holidays? How do you handle it?


Photo courtesy of: Paval Hadzinski

3 Alternatives to Expensive Christmas Presents

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christmas presentsChristmas is a lot of fun, especially for those with kids ? and it is also exceptionally expensive.

In addition to buying expensive Christmas presents, you will probably need to buy food and other items for holiday parties you may be throwing. Plus, you might even have to travel to visit family or friends.

In other words, your back account is going to get quite a workout around the holiday season.

To avoid ruining the budget that you have worked so hard to maintain throughout the year, you need to have a good plan in place when Christmas rolls around.

Hopefully, you have been budgeting in advance for some of these costs, as they certainly aren?t a surprise each year. In addition to budgeting, you can also make smart decisions to save money on expensive Christmas presents while still ensuring that everyone has a happy holiday season.

Consider Older Models

When shopping for Christmas gifts, consider buying an older?model when picking out things like electronics.

As new products hit the market in advance of the holidays, the older models ? which are still high tech and work just fine ? tend to go on sale. You could save yourself a considerable amount by purchasing the previous model of a specific device or toy, and the recipient will still be getting an excellent gift.

Buy Useful Gifts

If you are a bit creative, you may be able to think of presents that will still be exciting to receive and yet also will be functional for months or maybe even years to come. In this way, you can spend your money around the holiday time on things that you were going to purchase anyway at some point.

Clothes are a common gift that falls into this category, but there are many other options available as well if you think about the needs of your family and the interests of each individual.

Start Early and Search Carefully

Okay ? so what if you can?t think of anything else to buy other than exactly what has been asked for on a Christmas list? When you are going to purchase a high-end item as a gift, the best thing you can do is start early and shop around as carefully as possible.

With the power of the internet at your disposal, you should be able to track down a variety of deals and opportunities to purchase a specific item at a lower price.

eBay is a great possibility when doing this kind of shopping, and you can always sign up for relevant mailing lists to get deals delivered right to your inbox.

It will take a bit of time and effort to shop this way, but the savings you enjoy in the end could very well be worth it. When you find the perfect deal, you will get to feel good about getting a great present while also saving money at the same time.


Can you think of other alternatives to expensive Christmas presents? How do you save money on gifts?


Photo courtesy of: jill111

3 Reasons You Need to Start Saving for Christmas Shopping Now

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saving for christmasIt doesn’t take much imagination to figure out why most people feel that December is the most expensive month of the year. Depending on the size of your family and circle of friends, you may have to buy hundreds or even thousands of dollars in gifts each year, putting a major dent in your budget. Even if you do a great job of managing your budget throughout the rest of the year, a costly December could set you back for months to come.

Wait a minute – didn’t we just finish Christmas shopping? Why are we thinking about that now? Simple – it is never too early to start planning for an expense. If you are willing to start thinking about Christmas shopping even when the day is nearly a year away, you can take the sting out of the costs that you will incur when December rolls around.

Make It Fun Again

Unfortunately, many people have come to look at Christmas as a chore rather than an exciting time of the year. That is a shame. You should be excited to spend time with friends and family, have some great food and exchange presents. Of course, it is tough to have fun when you are worried about how much money you have been spending.

If you can plan ahead and set aside a little bit of money each month, or week, toward presents for next Christmas, it will be much easier to put your worries aside and simply enjoy the holiday season. We do this by setting aside funds in our Discover Bank?account each month so we know exactly where the money is going to come from when we need to buy a gift.

Set a Budget

By planning ahead, you will know exactly how much you can afford to spend when you start to do your Christmas shopping. A shopping budget is always important to make sure things don’t get out of hand when you get swept up in the holiday spirit, and it will be easy to determine your budget when you have been earmarking money throughout the year specifically for this purpose.

Simply check on your saving status in October and November leading up to shopping season, and you will know precisely what you can afford – and what you can’t. If you find ways to save money on your shopping then you’ll double your efforts. For example, if you do a lot of shopping on Amazon, you can get up to 8.5% cash back by shopping through the TopCashBack portal.

Act Early

If you are already saving for next year’s Christmas gifts well in advance, you will have money available in your account to make a purchase if you see something go on sale. You may already know some of the things that your kids or spouse would like for Christmas, so acting early to get a great price is a good opportunity to save some money.

In addition, you can take some of the stress out of the season by doing some of your Christmas shopping well ahead of time. You certainly won’t be able to do all of your shopping in this fashion, but just checking off an item or two at a time could leave you with more free time than usual as Christmas draws closer.

The Christmas season is always going to be an expensive one, but you can take some of the sting out of those bills by planning ahead and saving for Christmas a little bit at a time. Set aside a small amount of money each month starting as soon as possible and next Christmas should be one that everyone will enjoy.


Do you have a Christmas savings account? Have you ever shopped for Christmas all year long? How do you save money on Christmas shopping?


Photo courtesy of: WDnet

6 Christmas Gifts that Keep on Giving – at Little Cost

christmas gifts

gifts-557205_640With the holidays right around the corner, it?s time to finish up buying Christmas gifts?(if you?re not done shopping already!).

In my opinion, it?s a lot more fun to give gifts than it is to get gifts. This is partly because most gifts we get are only new, shiny and exciting for the first 15 minutes after we unwrap them on Christmas morning. If you don?t want your family or friends to feel that way on Christmas morning, here are some great Christmas gift ideas that keep on giving, but don?t keep costing!

Media Subscriptions

You can easily buy your family or friends a subscription to their favorite magazine, newspaper, comics or online media streaming service. A years? worth (or more) of these subscriptions can be paid for as a gift to someone on your list so they continue to receive your gift all year at no cost to them. Another great option, for cord cutters, is the [easyazon_link identifier=”B00GDQ0RMG” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”wisedollar-20″ cart=”y” popups=”y”]Amazon Fire TV Stick[/easyazon_link]. This provides access to many different shows and movies with no ongoing cost to them.

Classes to Learn a New Skill

If someone on your list is pining to learn a new skill, you could purchase them the gift of knowledge. You could enroll them in a class at a local college, university or business where classes are being taught in the skill they want to learn. Cooking classes, art classes, or even personal finance classes or workshops can make great gifts for your friends and family.

Season Passes for Popular Entertainment Options

Another great gift that keeps on giving is a season pass to a popular entertainment attraction. Many movie theatres, pools, amusement parks and zoos offer season passes, year-long passes, or even frequent visitor passes that make great gifts.

Membership Fees

While paying for a gym membership is not everyone?s idea of a fun gift, it might be a good gift for the gym rat on your list. This is definitely a gift that keeps on giving if they are frequent gym-goers. Another membership that might be worth gifting is a membership to a warehouse store like Costco or Sam?s Club. These stores are great ways to save money groceries?especially if you don?t have to pay for a membership fee one year. 🙂

A Grocery Service

Busy moms or bachelors on your list would likely love the gift of a grocery service. It takes away the burden of having to prepare meals when you are a tired and busy mom, and helps bachelors eat healthily if they are unable to prepare meals on their own.

Subscription Boxes

There?s a subscription box service to fix anyone on your Christmas gift list this year. There are subscription boxes for shaving kits for men, [easyazon_link keywords=”toys” locale=”US” tag=”wisedollar-20″]toys[/easyazon_link] and [easyazon_link keywords=”games” locale=”US” tag=”wisedollar-20″]games[/easyazon_link] for young kids, clothing and accessories for ladies and even toys and treats for pets. This is definitely an option if you want to pay once and give your friends and family a gift that will keep being delivered to them each month all year long.

The fun of giving and getting gifts on Christmas morning doesn?t have to be short-lived if you give everyone on your list a gift that keeps on giving. The best thing about these gifts is that the receiver doesn?t necessarily have to spend any money of their own in order to get the gift all year long.


Do you enjoy giving gifts? Have you ever given any gifts that keep on giving? If so, what did you give?


Photo courtesy of: Patrice_Audet