Plan now, save later: Money saving tips for the holidays

holiday shopping

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV) -If you take a little taste of the holidays now, you could be way ahead of the game come December 1st. The less time you have at the holidays, the more likely you are to spend more, just to get things out of the way. Get a jump on your holiday gifts and planning now. Here’s some tips:

Make your budget and gift list early

As for gifts, advance planning removes the deadline pressure, but it does require some added consideration. You really have to be more thoughtful about the gifts you’re buying. And you have to think, “Will they like this come December?”

Set aside some money

Now is the time when, if you’e in the habit of going out for lunch every day at work, maybe you bring leftovers once a week and sock away that $6 to $8. Before you know it, those lunch savings will add up to a tidy sum you can spend on the holidays. Want to make it almost painless? Set up an automatic deposit to a savings account or Christmas club fund.

Start shopping now

Sock away money for presents and you still have to do your shopping later. But salt away actual gifts and you’ve saved time and money. If you’re the type of person who shops estate sales or garage sales you’ll have time to find that perfect present. Shopping months ahead means you can make the most of sales and seasonal pricing trends. Spreading out your spending is a good way to help your budget. Early shopping also gives you the chance to pick up nonspecific gifts at bargain prices. If you prefer to make gifts instead of buying them, get crafty now. By starting early you can use evenings and odd moments to actually finish your projects.

Order early

Do you prefer shopping from home instead of maneuvering the malls? Take advantage of the catalogs that are starting to trickle in. Early mail-order and online shopping also allows you to save on shipping. Buy at the last minute and you pay a premium for shipping. Buy early and use the delivery method that is the most economical.

Pick your plastic

If you plan on charging your holiday purchases, choose the credit card you want to use that gives you no fees and low interest options, like at Adventure Credit Union. Remember, it’s safer to shop on-line with your Credit Card rather than your Debit Card!

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