Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saving Money This Season

If you have not been inundated with retailer advertisements regarding holiday sales, consider yourself lucky. The rest of us are wading through yards of paper and cluttered email boxes filled with coupons, discount codes, and limited-time offers. With all of these messages encouraging spending, it can be difficult to save. Controlling spending will not be easy to do this season but it is not impossible. Taking a hard line can prevent the financial monster called debt from appearing.

Many people spend the majority of their holiday savings on gifts for family members. Having a Pollyanna is an easy way to reduce spending in this category. Each member of the family purchases a gift for only one other person rather than everyone. With the devastation of Hurricane Sandy still impacting millions of people, family donations to a related cause are worthwhile and keep holiday spending within budget. Family members can also offer free services like babysitting as gifts to each other for the holidays.

Paying for holiday gifts with cash usually results in reduced spending. It is easy to quickly amass a huge credit card bill without realizing the financial implications. Before they go on shopping sprees, parents should think about the future for their children. A savings bond or contribution to an educational savings plan is a much smarter gift than the latest toy or game. If children will not go without a plaything, parents should look for items that are less expensive than major brands.

Leftover gift cards provide a spending allowance that does not dip into the wallet. It may seem unusual to use “found money” to pay for holiday gifts but if cash is short, unique approaches are required. An unwanted gift card can also be regifted or a retailer may permit adding money to a partially used gift card to provide a more generous holiday present.

Family photos are other holiday gifts that make use of what we already have. Print these on a high-quality printer and frame them for memorable presents. When purchasing holiday decorations for the home, make use of what other people used to have by shopping at thrift stores. A Christmas tree or tabletop decoration that may have been used only once might be steeply discounted.

Give others the gift of money by learning how to create six figure income and showing them how to do it. Family and friends will enjoy working together on a lucrative business venture. This is the gift that keeps on giving and success is dependent upon the effort each entrepreneur puts into the business. Most people welcome the opportunity to control their careers while earning lucrative incomes.

In 2011, 17 percent of holiday shoppers with incomes exceeding $75,000 exceeded their holiday spending budgets. The financial impact of exceeding budget is greater on someone who earns less money. Regardless of your financial status, keeping holiday spending in check can prevent year-end financial worries that last through 2013. For a happier new year, keep money in the wallet and an eye on the future.

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