While the Christmas and holiday season can be lots of fun, it can also be a time of great expense. Too many of us, it seems, find it difficult to resist the urge to overspend, and we may end up with debts that still have not been paid when the next Christmas season rolls around.
Fortunately, there are some practical, and very effective, ways to save money at this special time of year. With a little bit of planning, some discipline and some common sense, you can enjoy a wonderful Christmas holiday season without the hangover of all those post holiday bills.
Some of my favorite tips for keeping your Christmas spending and holiday budget under control include:
Start saving money now, long before the holiday shopping season has arrived. Having the extra cash you need to buy holiday gifts will reduce your reliance on credit cards, which will in turn help keep you from wracking up massive amounts of debt. Saving early can also allow you to purchase the gifts you need early, before the crowds of holiday shoppers descend on the local mall.
Start a Christmas club as soon as the current holiday season has passed. Christmas club accounts are a great way to put money away little by little for the holiday season. You can ask your bank to automatically withdraw money from your checking or savings account each week or each month and stash it away in a Christmas club account that can then be tapped for holiday shopping. Some employers even allow their workers to have the money automatically withdrawn from their paychecks, making holiday savings even more painless.
Shop for bargains whenever possible. The holiday season, and the weeks leading up to it, can be a great time for bargain shopping, but it is important to shop carefully to make sure you are really getting the best deal. It is a good idea to carefully look through those colorful sales flyers looking for those bargains. Many stores will price match their competitors ads, so be sure to take those competitors flyers with you as you shop.