Shopping Debt Free This Holiday Season
‘Tis the most wonderful time of the year... that’s right the holidays are here! Time to break out the old Christmas decorations and the egg nog! But let’s be honest for a second – if theres one thing everyone loves about the holidays its gift giving – and with gift giving comes a ton of expenses. In a holiday survey a few years back – Canadians reported spending about 675$ for gifts during the holiday season excluding travel food & entertainment.
Now I’m not here to tell you not to spend at all during the holiday season – heck even I do it. But there’s certain tips and tricks I like to look out for so I don’t wake up speechless when my credit card statement comes in the new year!
Tip 1: Scrooge in December, Splurge in January:
The first part of holiday shopping is finding great things for your family & friends but the other is also finding some great deals for yourself. It’s a known fact that retail sales get hit BADLY during January and February because everyone already spent so much money in December. That’s why right after the new year is the best time to load up on items for yourself. Retailers know that January and February will be bad for sales so many resort to sales to pick up on lagging sales.
Tip 2: Keep the Plastic at Home
Just like how people put on holiday weight and add to their waistline people pick up holiday debt and add more stress to their finances.
I cannot stress this point more – leave that credit card at home. Although credit cards do offer appealing benefits and the option to pay later, for those that have problems controlling spending its better to leave the plastic at home. Pay with cash or debit, it will put your mind at ease and you won’t wake up to any surprises. Consider tracking the spending to help you also. Some credit cards even offer a “skip your payment offer for your holidays” although this can be tempting remember that credit card debt can spiral out of control and can take YEARS to pay off.
Let’s even assume you don’t spend 675$ this season but 300$. Just 300$ on a credit card at 19.99% interest will take 40 payments to get rid of with 104$ paid in interest.
Tip 3: Look out for Bonus Deals for the gift card lover
If you’re like me gift giving is a grueling task- I never know what people want and when I think I have found the right thing they’re either out of stock or don’t have the one I like. So I rely heavily on gift cards. Right now for the holidays, a lot of stores has really good deals for gift card purchases. McDonalds is offering a free meal giveway for any 20$ card purchase and Cineplex is offering a 40$ gift bundle for any 40$ gift card. Check out the deal here
Tip 4: Keep away from the pesky perks
Buyers beware. Remember that since the holidays are around and more people are in stores – salespeople are working extra hard to rack up as much commission as possible. Avoid purchasing product add-ons like extra warranties and protection plans for electronics and other gifts. These extra perks can add on and can make an innocent laptop purchase of 300$ turn into 450$.
Tip 5: Consider gifts with a good resale value
Another good point I have learned to love is buying gifts for myself or others with a good resale value. For the finance lover like myself consider buying securities like stocks or bonds for that someone special. I remember one time, I got Disney stocks for my birthday and have been reaping dividends for many years as well as solid returns on the initial investment. FYI since I got the stock, the stock has gone up about 400% and I am even benefited from a stock split.
Finally remember to have fun. The holiday season is definitely not the occasion to be frugal but just be conscientious in your purchase choices.
Disclaimer: All of the above information is my own personal opinion. I have no business relationship with any of the companies listed above and nor am I receiving compensation for any of the promotions. Please do your research before making any financial decision.
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