5 Last Minute Tips to Save Money During the Holidays

shutterstock_227011213Electronics and clothes and toys, oh my! It seems holiday wish lists are getting longer and more expensive while the budget keeps shrinking. If you find yourself in a rut this holiday season because you didn’t save enough this year or so many unexpected things happened that you lost count, don’t panic. The holidays aren’t about keeping up with Jones’, it’s about enjoying the people who surround you all year round. However, if you do plan to hand out presents this year, there a few ways for you to not lose your cool.

Gift Exchange

If you have a big family and can’t afford buying a gift for Aunt Carol, Uncle Joe and that one cousin who seems to be missing a screw, suggest a gift exchange like Secret Santa. You put all the family member’s names into a hat and everyone draws a name. This way the family can focus on getting their one member a special gift that they actually want rather than spending a lot more time and money looking for everyone in your family.

Host a potluck

One of the greatest things about the holidays are the dinners. The food is endless with choices that will have you wishing you had a second stomach. So instead of everyone relying on you to make 3+ courses, host a potluck. Invite all of your friends and family to your house and ask them each to bring a dish to share. As the host, think about cooking the main dish. It will be less of a burden on your wallet and it’s fun to see what delicious food your guest will bring.

Remember not every sale is a bargain

BUY ONE GET ONE 50% OFF! ONE-TIME SALE! GET IT BEFORE IT’S GONE! You’ve probably seen this sign every store you’ve been into since Black Friday but these sales aren’t really worth it. Unless you had these items on your list (and you’ve checked it twice) pass on the sale. Give yourself 24 hours to think if you really needed those pajamas or shoes. Most likely the answer will be no.

Declutter

Do you have a closet in your house filled with stuff you haven’t used in a year? 2 years? More? If you haven’t used it in a year, you probably will never use it again. Try selling your stuff. Stores like Plato’s Closet and Uptown Cheapskate will gladly accept your new or like new clothes. If you’re looking for bigger stuff to sell like electronics or furniture Craigslist and eBay are great options. If no one is biting on your awesome deals consider donating to a charity. After all, it is better to give than receive.

Compare prices online

These days everything is online. So when you’re looking to buy something you know is available at multiple stores check out each store’s website. Compare prices to see which one offers the best deal. Don’t forget to put in any promo codes or coupons that the stores are offering.  Most will even offer free shipping.

So don’t get all flustered this holiday season. Keep calm and be smart. These tips will even help you when it’s not the holiday season. Oh, and try to get your holiday shopping early so you can enjoy the time with your family and friends.

About BrightStar Credit Union

BrightStar Credit Union is a not-for-profit, member-owned financial cooperative based in South Florida. If you live, work or go to school in Broward or Palm Beach counties, you can join!

Posted on 12/05/2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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