Thursday, December 11, 2008

How to Save Money on Gifts This Christmas

There are a few simple strategies to help you save money on gifts this Christmas. We all know Christmas is not about giving and receiving gifts and with consumers facing a financial crunch right now, these would be even more reason to end the gift exchange. But we know this is not going to happen and it is not realistic to think we will stop exchanging gifts. So here are some great tips to help you save money on gifts this holiday season.

1. Make a list of people and the gifts you want to buy them. Check it twice and then again and again until you have fine tuned it. Is it really necessary to give a gift to the man behind the counter at the gas station? You should be giving gifts to the people you know, like, feel strong about. Bring your list with you when you shop and stick with it. On the list you should have name, gift and budget for gift for each person. You should have a total budget of how much you will spend on gifts this Christmas and stick with it! You don't want to receive your credit card bill after the holidays and wonder how in the world it got out of whack!

2. Do not start your Christmas shopping early. Why? The earlier you shop the more you are going to spend. Don't worry, stores will NOT run out of gifts this year, or any year at that. Don't be harassed by the "only 2 more weeks until Christmas" ads you see and hear. You should say to yourself "yes and I have not spent a dime yet!" When is the best time to shop? Ten days early is more than enough time to start shopping.

3. What you should do before pulling out your wallets is research prices and retail establishments or online stores. You need to comparison shop online before actually buying anything. There are some superb websites to do this. Check out for instance and for best prices, stores and consumer reviews.

4.What to buy? Don't buy items that are frivolous. Buy items that people can use. If your son needs a new backpack for school. Buy it. Wrap it. Put it under the tree. You are teaching him about gift giving and about not wasting money. Does he really need his fourth green Ben 10 watch that he will play with for 2 days and then toss aside? Great gifts can also be foods, wine, useful household appliances or accessories. A gift does not have to be expensive to be a good gift. Think useful and non frivolous. In fact, it may not be the warmest gift but for close family, the gift of money is always appreciated. And if you really want to stay in the spirit of Christmas why not make a donation to a charity of choice in a friend or family member's name? That would be a great gift this Christmas.

Happy shopping and happy gift giving!

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