Money Saving Tips: Prepare for the Holidays Early

Now is the time to prepare for next Yule and Christmas. Yes, it may seem too early to bother but it really isn’t. My cousin actually bought the first gift for 2017 before the new year even began.

Many times, the bestest and I would take Skye and Zowie shopping before the new year. They bought what they wanted with their Christmas money, and we took advantage of all the wonderful sales for the next years’ needs.

It used to be a lot of fun. Things used to be sold for a lot less back then.

Tips on saving money for the next holiday season.

To begin, you’ll want to make some lists. Keep them in your purse or wallet at all times. You’ll need to refer to them throughout the year.

  1. First, make a list of any decorations and like items you need for next year. Perhaps you dropped a few bulbs and need to replace them. Or the cat chewed on some ornaments, or broke off tree branches! Make a list of what will be needed for next year.
  2. Next make a list of items you’d like to have. You may or may not get these, depending on finances, but at least you’ll be clear on what you want.
  3. Then make a list of regular things that need to be replaced, such as greeting cards, tissue paper, gift wrap, the platter that was broken on Christmas day, and tape.
  4. And make a list of gift ideas for next year. Some examples from my own list: Skye and Zowie both like colorful socks. Skye’s boyfriend likes ‘fancy’ socks, as she calls them, and Zowie’s husband likes long black socks. I want to pick up a few toys for Little Man; perhaps a wooden puzzle, number magnets, and a Tonka truck. Mom likes anything having to do with her family, so she would like a calendar, mug, or other item with family pictures. And Sheila quilts and knits, so something along those lines would be perfect. There are obviously going to be things you wait to pick up, such as favorite candies. (Though some of these may keep in the freezer. Find out and pick up what you can while on sale.)

Now that your lists are made out, you’ll be able to see what you need at a glance.

Tips for saving money on purchases:

  1. Set a budget. On overall one, or a per item one.
  2. Shop the after Christmas sales.
  3. Shop clearance sales throughout the year.
  4. Check out thrift stores for items such as baskets, wrapping odds and ends, cards, envelopes, decorations, fashionable scarves, cookie cutters, fabric scraps, and canning jars. You’d be surprised what you might find that is still in good condition.
  5. Shop junk stores. I’d be tickled pink if someone went to a junk store and bought me an old-fashioned tea-cup and saucer for my collection.
  6. Visit yard and garage sales. I once bought brand new looking mugs and filled each with a small stuffed animal and small treats, to give as gifts. The stuffed animals also came from these venues. I just brought everything home and washed them.
  7. Flea markets are another option. Think old stuff. Freshen the items up and use them as gifts. For example, anyone with a spoon collection would love spoons from other states. And old suitcases make for great storage. Refresh them to give to a friend looking for vintage ideas for their place, or use them for your own storage needs.
  8. When possible, use coupons combined with sales to get some of the items needed.
  9. Are you a member of MyPoints, SwagBucks, or another points program? Use the points you earn from emails, shopping, surveys, and more toward gift cards that can be used to buy gifts and other needs for next year. (Just be sure that you’re using points before they expire.) (These links are referral links. I’m a member of MyPoints and SwagBucks, so you’re helping me out when you join through my links. Thanks! I really appreciate it.)
  10. Some apps also give gift cards for activities completed. Again, pay attention to expiration dates. My sister introduced me to ShopKick recently, and I’ve been getting used to it. The other day she showed me a couple of ways to use the app. (This one is also a referral link. Anyone following through will be helping me out. Thanks!) Use these gift cards to buy gifts and other holiday needs.
  11. If you have enough of a balance on MyPoints, SwagBucks, ShopKick, or another venue, you might consider requesting the gift cards now and using them toward these purchases. But be sure to check the points needed for different denominations. It may be more worth your while to wait for a bigger pay out. Though this is not the case with every program, so do the math before deciding. You want to make every point count.
  12. Don’t forget about the craft stores while shopping. They also have clearance sales, and you can get your crafting needs for the holidays at reasonable prices.
  13. Use Kohl’s cash to get free stuff. For even more savings, buy clearance items with the cash.
  14. Some stores have rewards programs. Use the points to buy gifts and other holiday needs.

Planning and shopping aren’t the only considerations when planning for the next holiday season.

Other useful tips:

  1. Check items off your lists as you get them, so you don’t waste money on repeats.
  2. Set up a big box in a closet to hold all the items you’ll buy over the coming months.
  3. If anything will be staying with you and has a place, put them away as you get them. Christmas decorations go with your existing ones; platters, cookie cutters, etc., would go there as well, unless you have a specific cupboard for them. And the holiday scented soaps, shampoos, body washes, and other items you stocked up on go in the bathroom.
  4. Do your research. Will the item you want be more affordable at a physical store or online? Think about other things you may need if a deal will be best online providing you buy $50.00 worth of stuff. For instance, sales on toys at Walmart.com might be coupled with the new pants you’re going to need for work in order to realize good savings.

Do you have any tips about saving for the next holiday season? Please share!

Shannon

 

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