Holiday shopping tips!

The pressure and temptation to spend increases each holiday season. This is especially true if you have a large family. It is very easy to go overboard, but the good news is that it is possible to set and keep to a budget for your Christmas shopping. Here are some tips for doing so:

  1. Set a budget!
  2. Make a list and check it twice. Write a list of the people to whom you wish to give Christmas presents. Don’t feel pressure to give gifts to everyone you know! Suggest drawing names over Thanksgiving, so that each person only needs to buy for one other person. Organizing a gift swap between friends and family members is a great way for everyone to get a gift without you breaking the bank.
  3. Make a plan. Using your list, you can check to see which stores have the gifts you want at the best prices.
  4. Create an envelope for each person on your list. Put the amount of money that you plan to spend on people in their individual envelopes. Then shop with the cash and seal the receipt in each envelope after your purchase is made. Using cash forces you to stay within budget.
  5. Keep strictly to your spending limits for each gift and resist the temptation to buy extra things just because you find a good deal!
  6. Clip coupons from ads. Most stores offer coupons in their ads so take advantage of them if you can. There are also quite a few discount-buying sites that offer half-price deals such as Groupon or LivingSocial.com. More local options include DealChicken.com through the Appleton Post-Crescent and 1/2-Price Perks supported by 91.1 The Avenue.
  7. Don’t forget to ask for gift receipts!

Other ways to save money around the holidays:

  1. Homemade gifts come from the heart! Be creative and make your own gifts. It may take time, but it could be as simple as scrap booking a calendar with family pictures. Or, if you’re a whiz with a needle, knit a scarf or hat for friends and family.
  2. An easy, but great gift for anyone on your list is a Visa® gift card! Gift cards are available to Unison members in any amount between $10 and $500. They are pre-paid cards that work just like a credit card and can be picked up at any of Unison’s locations.
  3. Save money on gift tags by making your own. Make gift tags by using the fronts from old Christmas cards. Make a small hole in the top of the tag, loop a ribbon through and tie it together with a small knot. Now you have a homemade gift tag!
  4. And lastly, if you want to avoid the crowds, online shopping may be your best bet. It’s fast, easy and can help you stick to your budget with no last-minute purchases made at the register.

Do you have other holiday shopping tips that you’ve learned over the years?

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