June 24, 2017 naturallyfrugaldoc 0Comment
How to Christmas shop on a budget

Hey everyone,

It may seem too early to talk about the holidays that are in the months of November and December, but it’s not. We all know each holiday comes once a year during the same time frame, but we still spend as though it is an unexpected event. This post will show you how to set aside money for a debt-free Christmas/Holiday.

  1. Holiday Account
    1. I open a holiday account at my local bank. There are other financial institutions that have holiday accounts, who transfers that money into the primary savings account by the end of October. The holiday account accumulates interest, like a savings account.
    2. The way to know how much to set aside is to  divide how much you need by the amount of months you have left to save.
      1. For example, it is June. So I would divide 240 by 4. Now I have to set aside $60 each month to have $240 by the end of October.
    3. To make it easier, you can schedule the money transfer from your savings or checking account to your holiday account on a monthly, weekly or daily basis.
  2. Swagbucks
    1. I have been using Swagbucks for a few years and boy am I glad. Usually around June of each year, I save the Swagbucks to be redeemed by mid-October for gift cards.
    2. I love to stock up on clothes and other items during Black Friday, so I use gift cards, like JCPenney to buy my stuff.
      1. Black Friday is usually a good time to go holiday shopping (There are some exceptions). Since I buy my stuff and others’ gifts, I like to make sure I have separate funds.
      2. From June- October, accumulate Swagbucks to redeem them for gift cards at the end of October. Designate each gift card for your personal shopping or for Holiday shopping.
      3. This is what I do, so Swagbucks allows me to buy myself some things while saving for holiday gifts.
    3. Another way Swagbucks is useful is, because I can receive cash back for purchasing gift cards like Macy’s.
      1. Swagbucks has a sister site that sells gift cards. When you purchase these gift cards, you get a certain percentage back in Swagbucks. Again, you redeem these Swagbucks for future gift cards. Now you have gift cards, that are equivalent to getting them at a discounted price. You then use these gift cards on your Holiday shopping.
    4. Swagbucks can be a means of staying within budget, by forcing you to have a certain amount of money to spend in store. If you only have a gift card, you cannot spend more than what is on it. This is why it is advised to hold off on redeeming them until late October, that way you have a decent amount on the gift card. By the way, the gift cards are normally printed on a sheet of paper. If you want to redeem a physical VISA gift card, there is a fee.
    5. If you want more info on Swagbucks you can click here
  3. Black Friday and Other Sales
    1. I know some people advise not to indulge in Black Friday sales, but there are some good deals.
    2. Just about every store has the same items on sale each year. Knowing this, look up old Black Friday ads and look for what you want to purchase this year. If there is a current sale outside of Black Friday that has a lower cost of the item, go get it. But if the Black Friday ad has it for a cheaper price, then wait until Black Friday.
    3. Usually on those ads, there are coupons for those Black Friday sales.
      1. The newspaper that comes out on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving has the Black Friday ads in them. Get at least one newspaper and you will have coupons that will further decrease the price. Using the Black Friday Sale + coupons + gift cards from Swagbucks= a debt-free Holiday.
    4. My family made it a tradition to go, so I’m there.

If you are shopping for the Christmas season, please go to different stores the day after. They have big sales on Christmas decorations. Also, when creating the Holiday budget, include the price of food, decorations and a miscellaneous category. This will ensure you are covering the cost of random things.