The holiday season is filled with tradition. Many families have their own unique customs, and those traditions create lasting memories for adults and children alike.
One such holiday tradition is shopping for gifts for family and friends. Many people enjoy holiday shopping, anxiously anticipating the look on their loved ones' faces when they open their presents. But holiday shopping is even more enjoyable for shoppers who can save a little extra money. The following are a few tips for shoppers who still want to give the perfect gifts but don't want to break the bank.
* Stop paying for shipping. Many people now do their holiday shopping online. Online shopping can be more convenient and give consumers more options. But some shoppers still shy away from online retailers for fear of high shipping costs. However, some retailers offer free shipping to consumers who spend a certain amount of money. In addition, savvy shoppers can scour the Internet for free shipping codes they can use at checkout. Some retailers even offer free shipping during the holiday season (last minute purchases might not be eligible) to entice customers.
* Empty your wallet of gift cards. Gift cards are popular gifts come the holidays, but many gift card recipients fail to use their cards prior to their expiration dates. Many cards expire 12 months after their initial purchase date. If your wallet is filled with gift cards you received last holiday season, use them to buy gifts for friends and family now before they expire.
* Make a list. Santa Claus is renowned for making a list come the holiday season, and holiday shoppers should follow his lead. Prior to your first holiday shopping trip, make a list that includes the names of friends and family to buy for and what you want to buy for each one of them. Doing so decreases the chances you'll forget someone and be forced to drive back to the mall. Reducing the number of shopping trips you have to make will conserve fuel and save you a substantial amount of money and time.
* Pay in cash. If you're not a fan of online shopping, then use only cash when shopping at brick-and-mortar stores. Paying with cash eliminates the risk of overspending with credit cards, which will come back to haunt you in January when the bills are due. Take a predetermined amount of cash with you when shopping, and once that money is gone, then it's time to go home.
* Don't be tempted by retailer credit cards. Retailer credit cards can be very tempting, especially when the cashier offers an immediate 20 percent discount if you sign up for the card at the register. But that discount comes at a steep price down the road. Not only will you be receiving a bill after the holiday season, but that retailer credit card will most definitely feature a high interest rate that can negate the initial discount at the register -- unless you pay off the balance in full.
* Create spending parameters with your immediate family. The economy has yet to fully recover from the downturn that began nearly half a decade ago. As a result, many people still approach the holiday shopping season with a degree of trepidation. Get together with your immediate family and establish spending parameters so no person feels like he or she has to spend too much money on holiday shopping. Agree that no gift should cost more than $25. Everyone will still enjoy the holiday season and one another's company, and they won't be forced to deal with the stress of overspending. GG12B622
CAPTION: Holiday shopping doesn't have to break the bank.