Friday, November 23, 2007

Tips on a Debt Free Christmas

I have to start this out by saying I have stuck to my word. I will not have ANY debt incurred from this shopping season. I have been using cash for everything. Now some of this may not work for you if you did not plan ahead a little but hopefully some of these tips will help you out.

1. Don't pay full price for anything. The internet is so wonderful. Last week I pulled a coupon off of because I wanted to buy something for my husband. The coupon promised $10 off for any purchase over $50. I was a little skeptical that it would work... all those exceptions and all, but it did work so I saved $10 just by looking online before I went shopping. This got me thinking.... how many other stores offer coupons online? MOST OF THEM!!! I got a 40% off coupon for Hobby Lobby- I was planning to shop there also, and I went on and signed up for their newsletter (knowing I could stop it at any time) and was rewarded with a 10% off coupon for that store as well. I am not suggesting you go to every store you can think of online, but if you know where you are going to be check it out online first and just see what they have to offer.

2. Load up at No, I don't mean buy everything there. I mean load up your shopping cart with what you want to buy for everyone. If you can find items you want, or similar items put them all in the shopping cart and then check the total. Is it in your budget? If not, see what items you can switch out. I did this and it was so great. I knew exactly how much I was going to end up spending. Then I shopped around. For items that did not qualify for free supersaver shipping I checked at my local Walmart (you can use site to store shipping there and get free shipping- plus it ships to the store so you can make sure the kiddies aren't around when you pick it up) This is one way I got some of the best deals. Link to Amazon Black Friday Deals

3. Don't forget tax. I love Amazon because they don't charge tax except from certain shippers. Our tax rate here at home is quite high. We actually went shopping in a nearby state because their tax rate is half of what it is here... plus they have a Toys R Us. We bought a $90 item there that would have cost us between 3-4 dollars more here just in taxes. (and that is just one example obviously we bought more or it wouldn't have been worth the gas) So sometimes we get the biggest break either online or "next door" because of the tax rate in our state.

4. Keep those receipts and don't be afraid to return. Christmas/holiday shopping should be about giving. And, we all know if you are giving what you don't have to give you are hurting your own family or yourself in the long run. I think most people understand when you are trying to get your finances in order they may not get a great gift that year. If you overspend do not be afraid to return things you have purchased. If you are embarrassed you can always make a comment to the cashier like "my mom just bought herself one of these on sale, so I'll have to find her something else".... etc. It doesn't matter just don't go crazy on the spending.

5. Have a good Christmas yourself. Last year I returned over $200 of my own gifts and bought myself things that I wanted. (Granted I had gotten two Nintendo DS's, only needed one of those) Don't let something you won't use sit in the closet. I always give gifts with the stipulation that if the recipient doesn't like it that they please please return it and get something they want... cuz that is what I am going to do...

Okay so maybe that last one isn't a budget tip but it will make you happier!! Especially when you have spent so much of your own hard earned money.

Points to remember- find deals on what you already plan to purchase- shop around- stick to the budget even if it means making returns.

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