From making batches of festive cookies to exchanging presents, the holidays are a special time to be with your loved ones. Before the season kicks off, consider these tips from personal finance author Stefanie O’Connell on how to help save a little money on your gift-giving this year.
STEFANIE: Hi everyone, personal finance author Stefanie O’Connell from stefanieoconnell.com here, sharing four ways to help save money on gifts this holiday season.
STEFANIE: According to the National Retail Foundation, the average American spent more than $935 on the holidays in 2016.
STEFANIE: Roughly 63 percent of that, or $589, on gifts alone.
STEFANIE: That high holiday price tag may potentially lead to financial stress, especially when the credit card statements arrive at the start of the new year.
STEFANIE: But, with a little advanced planning, you can help minimize the financial crunch.
STEFANIE: Consider these four tips to help save money on your holiday gifts this season.
STEFANIE: 1. Create an Action Plan
STEFANIE: Sit down and look at the reality of your finances before you start shopping to determine how much you can actually afford to spend on gifts this season.
STEFANIE: Try making a list of the people you’re shopping for and the maximum amount you can afford to spend on each person.
STEFANIE: Be sure the total sum of your gifts falls within your designated budget.
STEFANIE: If it doesn’t, you can either limit the amount you spend on each gift or limit the number of people you buy gifts for.
STEFANIE: It’s best to make these decisions well in advance, when you’re not under the pressure of the last-minute shopping rush.
STEFANIE: 2. Consider a Family Gift or Coordinate a Gift Exchange
STEFANIE: Instead of buying a present for each and every person in your extended family, consider buying one group gift for each family, maybe a board game they can all play together, or a gift card for a family meal at their favorite restaurant.
STEFANIE: You can also suggest a gift exchange where everyone brings one gift to be exchanged.
STEFANIE: 3. Do Your Research First
STEFANIE: Planning ahead for holiday shopping isn’t just about setting a budget, it’s also about knowing where to find the lowest prices.
STEFANIE: Comparison shopping websites like PriceBlink let you compare prices at different retailers and search for coupons automatically.
STEFANIE: The best part is, you might not even have to leave your home to get your holiday shopping done.
STEFANIE: 4. Stack Your Savings
STEEFANIE: Sales, coupons and cash back are not mutually exclusive.
STEFANIE: Look for ways to combine these strategies so that you find multiple opportunities to save on each purchase.
STEFANIE: For example, you might wait until an item goes on sale, then stack a coupon on top of that sale price, then make your purchase with a credit card that earns you cash back to help maximize your savings.
STEFANIE: For more holiday savings strategies and tips to help avoid financial stress all year round visit allstate.com/blog and follow me @stefanieoconnel.