The holiday seasons are rapidly approaching as the year 2011 is nearing an end. This means making sure that you have your Christmas shopping list in order. Lots of consumers will be running to the stores in order to get their gifts for their family members and loved ones. It is always a winning proposition when you can bring a smile to someone’s face and save some money in the process.
Here are a few tips that you can use to make holiday shopping easier on your wallet. Use layaway
One of the best ways to give yourself more time to pay for gifts during the holidays is to use layaway. Layaway allows you to make payments on the products that you want so you do not have to come up with all of the cash at once. A number of online and offline retailers have re-instituted layaway programs to help customers buy the products that they want during tough economic times.
Use rewards credit cards
If you are going to use credit cards to finance your holiday shopping then you might as well get paid for it. Rewards cards are the credit cards that pay you for the charges that you make. You can earn additional discounts from retailers by using your rewards card or you can land some free products that will make for great gifts. In some cases you can earn cash or airline miles, which will pay for you to go home and spend some time with the extended family.
Break out the envelopes
You can keep yourself from spending too much by keeping yourself on a tight budget during the holidays. If you think that you might run up a big bill using a credit or debit card then stock the money for gifts in envelopes. Designate an envelope for each person that you need to buy a present for. Once you spend the cash in the envelopes, your shopping is over.
Make some gifts
Remember that the holidays are not about how much money you spent. A homemade gift is as good as a store bought one for the family on a budget. You can give your family members a gift that comes straight from the heart and save money at the same time. Your goal should be to design creative gifts that fit the personality of each person.
What shopping strategies are you using to keep on budget while holiday shopping?
Mark Riddix is the founder and president of New Horizons Financial Management, an independent investment advisory firm that provides personalized investing and asset management consulting. Mark is a regular contributor to Seeking Alpha and has written financial columns for Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area newspapers. Mark publishes his own financial blog, BuylikeBuffett.com and has written the book Your Financial Playbook.