The holidays are quickly approaching, which can bring delight as well as fear to the minds of many Americans. Many awaken the day after Christmas to a pile full of credit card bills and amazement over how much debt can be acquired over the span of only a month or two. Follow these tips for stress-free Christmas shopping that will be easy on your psyche as well as your budget:
1. Create a shopping budget and stick to it. The holidays are meant to be a time to celebrate, not a time to drive everyone into debt. Create a realistic budget that hopefully revolves around some holiday savings you have put away throughout the year. If you have not saved, don’t worry; this can be a great New Year’s resolution for you.
2. Look online for discounts and promotions for the gifts on your list. Take some time to browse the Internet to look for coupon codes and special online deals. Many toys are available online at a great discount this time of year.
3. Doing comparison shopping can save you hundreds of dollars this season. Do not simply walk into any store and purchase the item on your list without looking at sales ads and comparison shopping. Many run straight to Walmart when they are purchasing toys. While Walmart does have many good deals on items, you can often find a lower price at another store that is having a sale.
4. Purchase all of your items with a credit card. Credit card companies often offer additional warranties on products that you purchase with their card. They also offer addtitional protection against defective merchandise and sometimes offer bonuses, such as cash back and points rewards.
5. Ask each store about their price protection policy. Some stores have them, some don’t. A price protection policy ensures that if the item you purchased goes on sale in the future within a specified period of time, often two weeks to a month, you can obtain a refund of the difference between the new sale price and what you paid for the item.