Spending Smart During the Holidays
I have interviewed Tom Corley on the program before. He writes a daily blog that has excellent information about habits of those who are wealthy. He had one about spending habits that I wanted to share. If you get a chance, sign up for his blog. It is a quick daily read that will make you think.
We spend more money on holiday-related things like gifts, dining, electricity for outdoor decorations, etc. What follows are a few Rich Habits to make sure you make the most efficient use of your money during this holiday season:
Stick to a Gift Budget
Set a maximum amount you will spend on gifts this holiday season. Even better, make a list of everyone who will be getting a gift and then budget how much you will spend for each person. This ensures you do not go over your budget. As a rule of thumb you should limit your holiday gift spending to 1.5% of your income. To find unique gift ideas within your budget visit sites like Gifts.com. These sites give you great gift ideas that are within your budget.
Use Credit Card Reward Dollars
Many credit cards have attached to them Rewards Programs. Typically, these Rewards Programs generate Reward Dollars that you can use at participating vendors. For example, the American Express Reward Program gives you about .88% back on every dollar you spend using an American Express credit card. One of the participating vendors with American Express is Barnes and Nobles. 50,000 American Express Rewards Dollars translates into $500 in Barnes and Noble gift cards. You can buy 20 $25 Barnes and Noble gift cards and give them out as gifts during the holiday season and it will cost you nothing.
Want to save on the cost of buying holiday cards and postage? Then send out a holiday e-Card this year. There are numerous websites that offer free cards such as BlueMountain.com. These sites offer templates and also allow you to customize your e-Cards.
Unplug Holiday Lights After 10 PM
Most everyone is asleep or in bed by 10 PM so it makes no sense to keep your holiday lights on after this hour. This cuts down on the electricity costs for the holidays.
Sears, Home Depot, Best Buy, Lowes and certain Amazon partners offer up to 24 months of interest free financing. You must ensure that you pay off the interest free purchase within the free interest period and you must make your monthly payments on time. If you don’t you risk being back charged for ALL the interest you were saving on the purchase.
Transform this year’s holiday party into a culinary surprise holiday party. Ask each one of your guests to bring a special dish for the evening. You can even give out Awards such as a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card for the best dish. This will save you money on your party and add an element of fun and excitement.
Online Comparison Shopping
Thanks to the Internet you now have the ability to comparison shop without ever having to leave your home or office computer. Sites like PriceGrabber.com and PriceBlink.com will scour the Internet online retail sites for the lowest price for your gift.
There are many old and new coupon websites that offer coupons you can use to purchase gifts or for dinning. Some offer as much as 60% off the retail price you would otherwise pay.
I know it sounds tacky but just because you didn’t much care for a gift you received last year doesn’t mean someone else won’t like it. After all it’s the thought that counts. Re-gifting is an obvious money savings strategy. If you feel embarrassed about re-gifting don’t. According to MSN Money, 68% engage in re-gifting. So, you’re not alone. For all you know the gift you are re-gifting may have been a re-gift of its own!