20 Money Saving Tips for Festive SeasonGuest post by Jamie
Want to know the National Retail Federation holiday survey’s results for 2011? The average American is expected to spend approximately $700 this festive season on gifts. 13.6 million Americans are still paying off last year’s holiday debt; do what you will but don’t dig yourself into a deeper hole. Use our 20 great tips to save money and still have a blast this festive season!
Plan For The Festive SeasonUse the following tips to plan for the festive season.
1. Create An Overall BudgetWrite down all seasonal and create a budget for each item, such as Christmas dinner, gifts, tree and so on. Total up the overall budget; if it’s too much, cut down items you can do without.
2. Set A Gift Budget For Each PersonList out the names of all the people you need to gift and set a gift budget for each one of them. Ensure that your total budget does not exceed your planned gift budget.
Save Money Over Your Gift BudgetJust because you’ve decided on your gift budget doesn’t mean you can’t save money over it.
3. Purchase Discount CardsPurchase discount cards from retailers; you can get discounts of upto 5% to 30% off the card’s face value. Look for good discount cards online, on sites such as GiftCards.com and GiftCardRescue.com.
4. Follow Retailers On Social Media SitesSeveral retailers offer discounts that are exclusive to their Twitter and Facebook followers! Check out recent posts from these companies and visit their blogs to get money-saving discount codes.
5. Locate Good Discount CodesUse sites such as SecretPrices.com, FreeShipping.org and RetailMeNot.com and look for suitable discounts for the retail store you want to shop at.
6. Sign Up For Store CardsSigning up for store cards avails you reduced shipping and handling fees, lower interest rates and discounts.
7. Explore Innovative Gift IdeasBe creative this festive season and save money; make homemade gifts such as fruit preserves, basket of muffins and so on.
8. Wrap Your Own GiftsAvoid the gift-wrapping expense; buy different sized cheap colorful gift paper bags in bulk from a wholesale shop.
Plan Your Christmas Dinner ExpenseKeep your Christmas dinner special when you plan the expense.
9. Create A MenuWhen the Christmas fever takes over, excited homemakers run about buying a number of food items that may not factor into Christmas dinner at all. So create a fixed menu and list out the items you will need.
10. Create A Shopping ListA well-structured Christmas shopping list will help you take advantage of bargains and special offers.
11. Stick To The ListStores offer great bargains at their entry counters; opt only for those that you really will use for Christmas dinner.
Save Money Over The Christmas Dinner Budget
Use the following tips to save money over the Christmas dinner budget.
12. Use Discount CouponsScour top coupon sites for discount coupons beforehand. Also look up manufacturer sites for promotions on the items you want.
13. Subscribe To A Store CardYou can avail great discounts by applying for a store card at your favorite supermarket. You will benefit not only from discounts from manufacturer but earn loyalty points and other benefits from the store.
14. Create Leftover RecipesPlanning a bunch of leftover recipes in advance will help you leverage the leftovers for several meals after Christmas. That’s double value for money.
15. Ask Friends To ContributeInvite a few friends over and have a potluck Christmas dinner. Make sure you contribute the main dishes but let your friends pool in and get some good stuff. Single friends who’ll be lonely over Christmas will love this idea.
Save Money On CommunicationWishing friends and relatives in distant places will place a huge strain on your phone budget.
16. Send Free Season’s CardsYou can create and customize visually appealing greeting cards using sites such as 123greetings.com. Send these in advance with personalized messages.
17. Use Video ConferencingSchedule a video conference using a free service such as Skype with friends and family. You can chat for hours and still not spend anything. If you have an iPhone, download the Skype application and call your friends on it.
Save Money On Christmas Tree And DecorationsThe tree and decorations can stretch your purse each time, so watch that expense.
18. Buy A Reusable TreeYou get excellent bio-degradable artificial trees that don’t look shiny or ‘plasticy’. Get a low maintenance tree that can be dismantled and stored in boxes for the next season.
19. Buy Decorations From The Dollar StoreYou can buy a pack of tinsel decorations, streamers and even stars at the dollar store. For just $10 or so, you can get enough to decorate two trees.
20. Use A Solar Powered Lights SetYou can keep these lights on all season without blowing your electricity budget.
Jamie writes for male gifts company that offering a large range of fun gift ideas for this festive season.