the sexy santa assistants were there to take a photo of you in front of the xmas tree or you could just ask them to take a photo with you and pretend that your girlfriend is a sexy santa assistant See where this picture was taken. [?] (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Brace yourselves and your pockets, because the holiday season is here. Walking through crowded malls during the Yule is probably one of the biggest challenges for the holiday shopper. Impulse and tons of holiday spirit greatly influence excessive and unnecessary spending -- leaving you with barely any cash to buy the important stuff. But don't fret! There are plenty of tools and techniques that can help you save money this season, such as mobile applications that compare prices, and find you coupons. Here we will let you in on the 5 best ways to stay well-budgeted in the coming months!
1.) Mobile Apps
Keep your spending monitor handy by installing one on your mobile device. The following are a few good apps that can help you keep an eye on your wallet:
a.)RedLaser Barcode Scanner
Simply scan the barcodes of any products you find interesting and you will get a list of lower prices offered for the same product! It can even find you coupons so you are sure you are getting the best deal possible.
Moving with the holiday rush with nowhere to park? The ParkMe app will help you look for low cost and free parking slots in the area so you can save your money for more important things. This one really comes in handy when you drive into a large city where you aren’t familiar with the available parking. Rather than parking for $30 in a public parking ramp, you might find a nearby lot offering parking for $5.
Keep track of your bills, spending and everything that has to do with your accounts. This app will remind you of how you should budget your cash, without ever falling short.
2.) Use Cash
One of the biggest reasons holiday spending gets out of control is over spending, and it's much easier to overspend when using your debit or credit card. The advantage of using cash is that it gives you physical feedback on how much you spend. You can set up a budget for how much you want to spend for the holidays, and then break it up into "expense" envelopes. Once the envelope is empty, you are done with that expense. By doing this you know exactly how much you have spent, and where it was spent.
3.) Gift Lists & Exchanges
It's about time you filter your year-old wish list. There are some people in it who wouldn't mind not getting anything at all, while there are also some who wouldn't mind getting something less valuable (in terms of price). Oftentimes, people are afraid of what the people they crossed off the list will say, so this may require a lot of detachment and courage from you. If you don’t have the heart to remove people off your gift list, then suggest a gift exchange. Everyone puts their name in a hat, the names are mixed up, and then you all draw a name out. The name you draw is the person you are buying for. This allows people to set an agreed upon limit on what they can afford, and every one still gets a gift to open at holiday dinner.
4.) Shopping Habits
Be patient enough to wait for the better and best deals to come. Do extensive research on prices offered by retailers within your reach, and never settle for a price if you think you can afford to wait just a little bit more for the best bargain. Of course, if you are extremely confident that you could never get that item cheaper, then go for it! It also helps to have a shopping buddy who can help you look for the best deals in town.
5.) Creativity + Resourcefulness
Do what you can with what you have. Leftover ribbons, bags, and non-crumpled wrappers from last year's gifts, unopened gifts (just be sure not to give it to someone from the same network of friends), and other things that may be lying around your home might just be useful for this year's set of gifts. If you save the little gift cards that are tied to the previous year's gifts, you can actually cut out the other folded portion with the writing, and use the blank side.
These are just a few tips and techniques you can use to save during the holidays. Generally, all you need to do is to set a target list of what you need to spend on, and stick to it no matter what. If you have a few of your own money saving tips, why not share them with us?
Emelie Go is a Nurse and a writer who is absolutely in love with everything that has to do with Christmas. She has been saving up for presents ever since she was 6.