How to Shop for the Holidays Without Going Broke

Guest Post by Matt Hoff

Anyone with a family knows how expensive it is to deck the halls these days. Maybe it’s because of the sagging economy or maybe it’s because our kids have more “refined” tastes than we did growing up, but the price tag for providing your little bundles of joy with presents seems to get larger every year. Luckily, there are a few tricks crafty parents can use to keep their wallets stuffed as full as their stockings. Some of them are obvious. Others you might not have considered before. But they’re all sure to save you some green this holiday season.

  • Stay away from layaway. Retailers like Wal-Mart are trying to capitalize on the slow economy by reviving their layaway plans. Don’t fall for it. Fifty years ago, when only a few people had credit cards, these plans were a great way to get a big-ticket item that you couldn’t really afford by paying for it in installments. Today, they’re nothing more than an overpriced way to buy something on credit. If you don’t have the money to pay for a present up front – don’t buy it.
  • Use online coupons. Online coupons are, hands down, the best way to outfit your family with gifts on the cheap. By shopping for discounts on daily deal websites, you can get up to 90% off of show tickets, fancy dinners and all the toys your kids can handle. To sweeten the deal, a lot of online coupon sites are running holiday specials right now that will save you even more on your purchases.
  • Homemade is where the heart is. Nothing says “I care” like a homemade present. These crafty gifts are a great way to get your family into the holiday spirit, and they’re much cheaper than anything you’ll find in a store. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your crafts when deciding what to make for your spouse and kids. You can find a huge list of homemade present ideas on Family Crafts.
  • Skip the paper Christmas cards. Pretty much everyone has an e-pad, smart phone or Internet-connected computer these days, so it doesn’t make much sense to blow a load of money on expensive Christmas cards to send to your friends and family. You can find a variety of free e-cards online that you can customize send to everyone on your contacts list. Nobody will think any less of you for making your season’s greetings digital.

It isn’t hard to see more green than red this season. By following these tips and using things like online coupons and homemade presents to cut costs, you can guarantee that your whole family will have some very happy holidays. And with the money you save, you will too!

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