Currently viewing the tag: "holiday spending"

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I feel like every personal finance/frugal living is talking about Black Friday, so I wanted to jump on the band wagon. It’s just four days away, so you probably already have your plans set. But I wanted to share mine.

It’s all about online, folks.

First though, let’s back up a bit. I wanted to come on here railing Black Friday and all its assorted evils. Did you hear Target is opening their doors at 8pm Thanksgiving Day? Target is second in line at 9 pm. Which makes me wonder – what happened to Thanksgiving? You know, that holiday where you’re supposed to gather with friends and family over a wonderful meal and take the time to be thankful? Nah, forget that. We need to stand in line, out in the freezing cold, fight the crowds – all for the latest gadget (that they might not even have by the time you actually get inside the doors). People have actually died on Black Friday. Died! And now we have extended this national craziness to Thanksgiving day itself.

If you haven’t guessed, I don’t like Black Friday. It’s kind of like my theory on coupons – you’re only going to be saving on things you don’t need. Then, I started looking at some of the sales. And really? They’re not that bad. You can honestly save some serious dough on things you might end up buying anyway – toys for the kids, gadgets for the hubby, cozy slippers for your mom. I couldn’t consciously come on here and recommend staying the heck away from Black Friday when there actually are great sales out there. So, I came up with a compromise – online shopping.

Online retailers like Amazon, Target, Walmart, Best Buy and Kohl’s are offering great sales on Black Friday in addition to Cyber Monday. A lot of these stores are offering free shipping. That means you’ll not only get a great deal, but your purchase will be delivered to your doorstep for free. So just take some time to look ahead for online deals instead of fighting the crowds Thanksgiving night.

It’s the best of both worlds. By shopping online, you’ll see some really great savings (provided you only buy things you would have anyway) and you’ll miss out on the crowds. Plus, you can spend Thanksgiving exactly where you should be – with your family (or friends).

What do you think of Black Friday? Do you brace the crowds or stay at home?

Earlier this week, I talked about creating a budget. Today, I wanted to talk about how to stretch that budget. Short of getting a part time job, or saving a little throughout the year (it’s a little too late for that), here are some ideas of how to make the most of what you’ve got this holiday season:

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Give the gift of food. Bake your family and friends their gifts at home! Instead of purchasing gifts that your loved ones may never use, why not bake cookies, fudge or loaves of banana nut bread as a present?

Make homemade cards. Get your little ones involved in this one and craft your own holiday cards. They’re way more personalized than those generic photo cards. Purchase some inexpensive card stock, glitter and paint and let your kiddos go wild.

Spread the joy of cookies. Have a knock-out cookie recipe? Then spread the joy. Layer dry ingredients in a mason jar. Attach the recipe with a ribbon and there you go – practical and cute.

Offer to host this year. Instead of spending all your money on travel costs, offer to host the holidays at your house. You’ll save tons of money by foregoing expensive flights. You’ll also be able to create your own special traditions and spend the holiday exactly as you want.

Get the most out of price matching. During this tough economy, stores are making the extra effort to have you shop there. That’s why stores like Target, Walmart, and even Best Buy, are offering price matching. Make the most of it when purchasing big ticket items for your loved ones.

Have any more ideas on how to stretch your holiday budget?

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**This giveaway is now closed. A big thank you goes out to all of you who entered. I wish I could give you all a free eBook, but I have to choose just one. That person is… Jen who said, “In trying to slow down, I need look no further than my young children. They are happy with the simplest things…a tree with the ornaments they have made, as opposed to stressing over the perfectly decorated tree; not trying to impress people and really remembering the reason for the season.” (Jen, check your email.) If you weren’t the winner you can still get a copy of the eBook for only $0.99 today.**

 

One of my favorite blogs (and daily reads) is Money Saving Mom. Crystal Paine, the brainchild of MSM, always shares great tips and advice about how to save money and living better on less. When I found out about the opportunity to review her latest eBook, I was super excited.

Crystal’s advice always comes across in a practical, straightforward and motivating way that makes you think why didn’t I think of that? Plus, her common-sense strategies are really easy to implement in daily life. Crystal has done it again with this new eBook, Celebrating & Savoring a Simple Christmas, which shares detailed ways to prepare for and enjoy every minute of this holiday season.

Covering topics like setting a budget, decorating, gift giving, this eBook is filled to the brim with ideas for slowing down and enjoying the holidays. She shows you easy ways to stay organized and de-stressed in what is easily one of the most nerve-wracking seasons of the year. Don’t you want to just slow down and enjoy the holidays? Then this book is for you!

Right now, you can buy the book at the super low price of $0.99. At just under a dollar, it will definitely be money well spent.

But, wait, there’s more! Crystal has generously offered one Doggone Thrifty reader a FREE copy of the eBook.

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment telling us how you chose to slow down and celebrate the holidays. Note: This giveaway is a quick one and will end at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow, November 14, 2012.

Good luck!

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This week, I wanted to talk all about holidays. Thanksgiving is next Thursday and… well, we all know how quickly the holidays are upon us after that. So, today, let’s talk all about holiday budgets and how to create them.

First, make a list of categories for your family’s holiday spending. Usual categories are things like gifts, gift wraps, holiday cards and postage, holiday family photo, holiday meals, baking, decorating, and travel expenses. Determine every area that you normally spend and try not to leave anything out.

Next, determine a bottom line. How much do you feel comfortable spending overall? Once you have that number figured out, you can go ahead and split it up between your categories. Obviously some categories will get more than others (like gifts as opposed to postage stamps). But, you need to keep your bottom line in mind and try not to go over that amount. If you come up short, look for low-cost or no-cost ways to make up the difference without breaking the bank. Short on money for gifts? Why not hand make a few items for friends and family to get the most bang out of your buck. We’ll talk about stretching your holiday budget tomorrow!

Lastly, stick to it! This is most likely the hardest part of creating a holiday budget. It’s so easy to tell yourself It’s the holidays, I have to get it or This gift is so perfect for so-and-so, it doesn’t matter that it blows my budget and end up spending far more than you’ve allotted. Remind yourself why you made this budget and why it’s important to stick to it. Track everything you spend in each of the categories. Use a cash envelope system if you feel comfortable that way. Or, keep track of your expenditures on Mint.com or in your own personal system.

And have fun – that’s what the holidays are all about!

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