Instead of doing all your shopping at once and incurring a large debt it is better to start early and space your shopping ventures out. Use cash to pay whenever possible. That way your purchase is paid for. Many people use credit cards to do their holiday shopping and then struggle to pay down their balances. If you buy items with cash you are not accruing the interest charges. Your purchase is simple and complete with no lasting negative financial effects. Of course, having the cash on hand to do so is not always an option.
One way to help alleviate high credit card bills is to take advantage of sales and make cash purchases as often as possible. Many prudent shoppers watch sales papers steadfastly in order to take advantage of sales throughout the year. They then purchase gift items to put away for the coming holiday season. You probably aren’t thinking about Christmas in June but just try to keep gift items in mind when shopping. It doesn’t hurt to keep an eye open.
It’s also helpful to keep a list of those people you’ll be shopping for during the holidays. Know your friends and relatives. It’s not that difficult to have a fairly good idea of what those you are close to need and want. Perhaps you see that coffee makers are on sale. You remember that Aunt Martha had recently mentioned needing a new one. You have a bit of money to spare so you purchase the coffee maker and cross Aunt Martha off your list.
Seasonal sales are also a good time to find holiday gift bargains and so are sales that take place right after Christmas if you don’t mind being a real early bird shopper. If you’re not particularly pleased with roaming through stores behind slow shoppers who refuse to move and let you pass by, try shopping online. Personally, I would rather shop online any day since I’m not really a “store” person. I still can’t quite grasp what my teenage daughter finds so fascinating about the mall.
As for alternative gift ideas you may want to give concert or theater tickets or even a subscription to a favorite magazine. For the person who has everything and is pleased with nothing, consider a gift of food. Everyone has to eat, right? Cookies, cakes and candy are always welcome gifts since they delight the palate and please the hard to please. Pies, brownies, cupcakes, pudding, cinnamon rolls, banana nut bread and poppy seed rolls are also good choices.
Don’t be a last minute shopper and don’t be steeped in debt until next Christmas. Be alert to gift ideas throughout the entire year.
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