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Yes, the weather may still feel more like summer most days, but the holidays are just around the corner. That means planning now for holiday spending and budgeting. Here are a few ways to make the most of your holiday dollars without breaking the bank.
Before you go online or head for the store, create a holiday spending plan. Be realistic about how much of your money you are willing to spend on gifts. The holiday season is a great time to practice being a conscious consumer!
With many of us working and shopping from home this season, expect to find options online as well as at brick and mortar stores. If you like, you can avoid the crowds and still find great deals. Check sites like Groupon and Rakuten for coupon offers, and follow your favorite merchants on social media or via their merchant newsletters to get early-bird notices of discounts.
Holiday shopping is a good time to put your credit card rewards to work, as well. You can use rewards to purchase gift cards for giving, or for using to buy gift purchases yourself.
When shopping online, always check the merchant’s shipping policies. With an abundance of online shopping options these days, many offer free shipping with no strings attached.
If you opt to buy from one that offers free shipping for a minimum order size, try to pool multiple orders into one to avoid the extra expense. Or, instead choose curbside pickup for online orders.
This year more than ever, waiting until the last minute may cost you. Record shortages are being reported and many delivery companies have reported that they expect shipping delays. Don’t let your purchases be among the millions of gifts that could be at risk of not arriving by Christmas.
Make your gifting unique, and support your local community at the same time by shopping local. Many Americans plan to do just that this season, which is great news for the 29 million small businesses nationwide. Supporting locally-owned, independent small businesses does volumes for your local economy. Think local, buy local, pick up local!
Nothing tops a gift from the heart. Instead of spending cash to purchase gifts, how about using your talents to create your own? Bake a basket of breads or sweets, create some homemade spa gifts, or get crafty.
Not the baking or artsy type? Instead donate to a charity in your friends’ and family members’ names. Organizations like Breakthrough Central Texas, Austin Area Urban League, Back on My Feet, Goodwill Central Texas, and Dress for Success Austin impact thousands of local families so you know your dollars are well spent. Or use charity gift certificates to let your friends and family choose from more than 100 major charities, designating the donation to the charity that they wish.
Want to be a more conscious consumer? Give us a call, or stop by your local financial center anytime to chat with a Personal Financial Representative and learn more.
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