Sunday, October 9, 2011

Frugal Forum October 9, 2011

Can you believe that there is only 77 days to the holiday. Last January, when you started paying your credit card bills, you probably thought to yourself, “Next year will be different!” It can be. A little extra effort on the front end will save you money and make next year start off happy and holiday debt-free. I know they call the holiday the season of giving but that doesn’t mean you need give beyond your budget. Americans on the average will spend six months paying off their holiday debt. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep your holidays bright and frugal. The key is planning. Take the time to save yourself from months of holiday payments.

1. Make a budget and stick with it. How much can you afford this month to spend on holiday gifts. Look at your daily budget and be realistic. Maybe now is the time to bring your lunch to work, skip the morning coffee and stop buying new clothes for yourself.

2. Make your list. Decide who you need to buy gifts for this season and how much you are willing to spend on each person. Write this down. Carry your list with you and check off when you have purchased a gift on your list. You would be surprised how many times you purchase two gifts for one person. On your list write down how much you have spent on that person. Recording totals will keep you within your budget.

3. Cut down your list. Look closely at who you are buying gifts for. When saving money is an issue you don’t need to buy for everyone you know. If you have a big family start a new tradition where you pick a name and buy for one person in the group or family instead of everyone.

4. Be creative. Some people would be just as happy with a nice photo or maybe a home-made baked good. Remember, the holidays aren’t about presents, but about being with friends, family and spreading goodwill. Right now get family photos together to make a beautiful photo album this will allow plenty of time for shipping and processing. Check out, and for many holiday shopping deals on personalized photo merchandise. Get a personalized photo mug for just $1 from Ink when you enter the promotional code DOLLAR at checkout. You do have to pay for shipping. Making your own gift baskets full of toothpaste, toothbrushes, body wash, deodorant, shampoo and other personal everyday products would also be appreciated. Use coupons to get the best prices on these products.

5. Get all the discounts you deserve. If you are shopping online always check if there is a promotional code associated with your retailer. At least look for free shipping. National free shipping day is Friday, December 16. Right now there is 473 participating merchants signed up, last year there was over 2,000. My favorite website to get promotional codes is Just type in the merchant you are looking to purchase from and it will show you any promotional codes available.

6. Start now! You will spend twice the amount of money if you do all your shopping at the last minute. If you have learned anything from me you should have a closet full of wrapping paper, holiday ornaments, tape and other holiday essentials that you bought after the season for up to 90 percent off.

Looking ahead to next year:

Hopefully, you start your shopping now to get the best deals but if not let’s start January 1, 2012 by planning an entire year of holiday strategy.

1. When you get your credit card bill, pay it in full right away.

2. Start buying holiday presents right away. Whenever you see a present that “would be nice for so and so” or a great sale with good gift items, take advantage of this opportunity.
3. Start a Christmas fund. All that extra change you have put it in a jar for your holid
ay shopping. You would be surprised what you will end up with at the end of a year.

If you have any gift cards that you will never use sell them and get up to 90% back in cash. Use that money towards your holiday shopping.

Purchase $15 or more in Diet Coke products (any size), Barber chicken, KY Yours & Mine, Rimmel Volume Accelorator Mascara or Michelinas Lean Gourmet All Natural Bowls from Walmart and fill out rebate form to receive a $5 Walmart Card.

Buy one Progresso Rich & Hearty Soup for free with mail-in-rebate

Through October 31, Blockbuster Express is celebrating Matt Damon’s birthday and you can rent any Matt Damon DVD by entering the promotional code DAMON at checkout.

Get a free small drink and curly fries at Arby’s with the purchase of the Ultimate Angus Philly coupon

Get a Free A1 Steak House Recipe Book by calling 1-888-217-8325 and then press 2 – it’s automated.

Whole Foods at Lexington Green off of Nicholasville is having a Wellness Expo on October 15 from 10am to 1pm. There will be goodie bags for the first 100 attendees, wellness seminars, food and wine tasting and lots of prizes.

No comments:

Post a Comment