Posted by: Nici | 6 November, 2008

Organise and simplify your Christmas spending

Now that the holiday shopping is upon us, here are 10 simple ways to organise and simplify your spending.


1) Decide on a budget. Decide how much you can spend this Christmas. Once you have your number, determine who you’re buying for and how much you can spend on each person to keep at, or under, your budget.


2) Use one credit card. Rather than using several different cards, consolidate all of your purchases on one single credit card. If you have to return something, you’ll know which card you used. You won’t have to carry tons of cards in your wallet everywhere you go. You’ll only have to pay one credit card bill at the end of each month.


3) Think lightweight. When buying gifts for family members and friends that you need to send through the mail, keep the weight of those gifts in mind. The lighter the item (think gift cards!), the less the postage. This is especially true for your international packages.


4) Buy gift cards, for yourself. Determine what your shopping budget is and buy gift cards in your favorite stores for that amount. Whenever you purchase something, use your gift cards. When your gift cards have run out, you’ve reached your budget.


5) Buy family gifts. Rather than purchasing gifts for each person in a particular family, get one family gift that the entire household will enjoy, such as a game or movie tickets.


6) Simplify toyland. Many young children will find just as much joy in playing with nested Tupperware containers, drawing on scrap paper and filling a bucket with snow, as they would with a store-bought toy. This is not to say you should be a scrooge this Christmas and I’m not suggesting you don’t buy your children any toys. But try to keep the volume of toys you plan to purchase in mind, especially since many toys are forgotten quickly after the wrapping paper is removed.


7) Shop early. Last minute shopping can result in overspending and tons of stress. You’re in good shape if you could get all of your Christmas shopping done at least two weeks prior to December 25th.


8) Increase your income. Do things around the holidays that bring in some extra money, such as a part-time job at a retail store, babysitting, becoming the official neighborhood gift wrapper or selling quilts or whatever crafty thing you make.


9) Get creative. Rather than running to the shops whenever you need a gift, how about giving something you made using something you might already have in your house. Some ideas are hand-stamped stationery, homemade bread or fudge, a quilt or homemade soap. You could also give a gift of a service, such as free babysitting to a friend with children.


10) Stick to your list. When you go shopping, go with a list and only buy things on your list. Keep your attention focused on those items you originally set out to buy. When people browse around and window shop, they tend to spend a lot more then they originally intended.


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