Get a Bang for Your Buck This Holiday Season
By: Ruben Sibri
With the holidays right around the corner, most people are bound to have some sort of spending they’d like to do for others and for themselves. Whether money is tight or in abundance, being frugal can help anyone be less stressed during the holidays.
First off, decide what the budget is going to be based on your income. Savings and bills are always the most important things. The 50/30/20 rule is highly regarded as an effective method to split your check.
You use 50% of your pay for necessities, 30% towards discretionary spending or non-necessities, and the other 20% goes towards savings.
However, this model might no be ideal for everyone, as expenses vary from person to person. But it serves as a good model to go off of. Adjust accordingly.
Once a budget is set, stick to it. The money for your budget should preferably be spread through multiple paychecks, so as to have a bigger budget or to not feel like that the entire part of your check is going towards the holidays.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with your gifts. An expensive electronic isn’t the only option this December. One can always spread their budget farther by being creative. And family and friends will appreciate a well thought-out gift that comes from the heart.
The internet is full of DIY gift guides. YouTube, Pinterest, Reddit, Instagram are all places with communities and creators who can inspire some ideas.
The internet can also provide other ways of saving. Coupons are, quite literally, everywhere. Retailmenot.com, Coupons.com, and Groupon.com are places that offer a wide variety of retailer coupons. Many retailers will provide coupons just for signing up for their email listings.
Already signed up for a specific email list? No problem, sites like 10minuteeamail.com will provide an email that expires after 10 minutes but allows to sign up for these lists and reap in the savings.
Expand the search for every item possible. There’s almost always a sale and a better price. It’s always important to ask, “Does ebay or Amazon have this?” One can easily bet they either have the item or something pretty close to it.
These sites have hundreds of thousands of retailers, so always check and recheck.
Keeping an eye on something for an extended amount of time isn’t a difficult either. Camelcamelcamel.com will track items and show their previous prices in a chart and is always updating and offering alerts.
Price matching is also a must. While hunting around, check what websites or stores will price match. Perhaps it’s more convenient to buy gifts at a certain retailer because of shipping, extra deals, or variety.
Don’t wait until the last second to get all this done. Panic will set in and the budget will go out the window. Confident a price tag will go down last second? Risk it only if it’s worth it. However, that shouldn’t be the plan for every item on the list.
The holidays can be a stressful time. Especially when money is an issue and giving is a priority. Don’t let all that bring the holiday spirit down. Remember to budget and take care of bills and savings first.
Set aside money for gifts, and stick to the budget. Be creative! Bake, cook, and create gifts. Be on the lookout for coupons and sales.
All in all, be mindful of the money availability and have fun looking for presents for loved ones.