(NewsUSA) – In addition to sugar cookies and caroling, the
holidays mean shopping. But in the current economy, Americans should take care not to empty their
bank account on stocking-stuffers.
Here are some tips for Americans looking to survive – even enjoy – the
holidays on a budget:
-Avoid impulse buys. Before you start shopping, write down a list of the people to
whom you want to give gifts, starting with close friends and family members. Use the list as you
shop, checking off gifts as you find them. It's better to give than to receive, so keep yourself
off of your shopping list, and don't buy unplanned extras.
-Stick to a budget. Determine how much money you can afford to spend on gifts. Then,
when you are making your list of gift recipients, decide how much money you want to spend on each
person. For example, you might want to spend more on your mother's gift than on something for your
second cousin twice removed. Having a ballpark figure will help you limit your spending.
-Get crafty. Homemade gifts can please as well as store-bought. Even those who knit
with three thumbs can handle framing flattering photographs. No one can refuse a cookie tray, so
consider bringing homemade baked goods into the office or to your book club. You will save money by
satisfying a whole group with one gift.
-Find deals online. Web sites help you avoid the hustle and bustle of holiday malls.
Buying several gifts from one Web site can help you save on shipping costs. Some sites will deliver
gift-wrapped items directly to recipients.
-Use holiday shopping to repair your credit. If you know you're going to spend,
spend smart. In financing small electronic purchases, you can buy a digital camera for your sister
and help improve or create credit. One company, Pay by the Day (www.paybytheday.com), allows users to finance new, brand-name
electronic purchases ranging from Toshiba notebooks to Sony flatscreen televisions for less than $1
a day. The company enrolls customers in an automatic payment system – customers always know how
much they owe and are not penalized for meeting purchases ahead of schedule. Once a customer
completes their payments, they fully own the new electronic.
In regularly making a payment towards a small item, like a digital camera,
customers can both buy a desired gift for a loved one and create the good credit required to
finance bigger purchases later in life.