Surviving the Holidays on a Budget
Written by Amanda Grossman author of Frugal Confessions
Arguably, the best way to stick to your normal budget during the holidays is to have diligently planned ahead, and to have bought most of your gifts, food items, and decorations throughout the year instead of waiting until the holiday season is here.
Don’t worry; there is no judgment here. We are not all Martha Stewarts, and sometimes planning way in advance actually takes the fun out of what is supposed to be the most emotionally satisfying time of the year. So how can you stick to your budget now that you’ve waited until the holiday season is knocking down your door?
Here are some tips to get you started.
Purchase Loss Leaders
Loss leaders, or products that stores will actually lose money on in order to attract customers into their stores, are not just found at the grocery market. During the holiday season you can cherry pick extra special promotions in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Make sure to only purchase these products (and read the fine print of ads, as a few stores say you can only purchase the product if you spend a certain amount of money with the purchase). By cherry picking from several different stores, you are bound to save a decent amount of money.
Grab a Cup of Hot Joe or Tea and Partake in Black Friday
There is a reason why millions of people come out of their turkey-comas in the wee hours after Thanksgiving, disheveled and dressed in layers: the sales just cannot be beat. If you are looking to do a large amount of holiday shopping with a very small budget, then Black Friday is for you. Purchase a newspaper on Thanksgiving Day, and check out online websites that list Black Friday Deals ahead of time. Sit down that Thursday night to print out coupons, gather up your gift cards (see below), make a list, and set your plan of attack for the next day. You might find yourself extremely tired by mid-day Friday, but you will have saved a load of money.
Layer Your Deals to Increase Discounts
An easy way to get a discount on everything you purchase this holiday season from groceries, to gifts is to purchase fee-free gift cards at a discount. Let’s say you have children and know that you will spend $75 at Sears this year. Purchase a $50 and $25 gift card to Sears from Plastic Jungle at a discount of 10%, and you’ve just saved 10% on your holiday shopping. Add in store sales, promotions, and manufacturer’s coupons on top of this, and you could be looking at over 30% savings! If you used this strategy for Black Friday, your savings could be even higher.
Between now and Christmas, I will be updating Frugal Confessions with a new great Amazon.com deal each week, so check out my blog for some great deals!
And remember, it truly is the thought that counts. If your thoughts are going to be filled with buyer’s remorse three months into the New Year, then you need to reevaluate your priorities and enjoy the season for what it is, whether that is celebrating your religion, or showing the ones you cherish the most how important they are to you.